Various objectives of the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link initiative have been met since Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa announced the project in February 2000. This rail transport system will be constructed as part of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s commitment to the future of Gauteng by investing in infrastructure projects.
The Gautrain Project, which is one of the largest and probably most exciting transportation projects in South Africa today, and indeed Africa, is making good progress. This project will play an important role in stimulating economic growth and job creation in Gauteng, in relieving traffic congestion, in promoting public transport, tourism and public-private partnerships, and in changing the culture of public transport usage in South Africa.
Similar to many major cities in the world where it is becoming common practice to link cities by rail to international airports, the Gautrain involves a modern state-of-the-art rail connection, linking Johannesburg and Pretoria with the OR Tambo International Airport through Sandton, providing both airport and urban commuter type services. It will consist of 80km of railway lines that may be extended in future and 10 Stations. Excellent bus collector-distributor services at stations and particular attention to safety and security are important elements of the system.
Since 1999, when the need for rapid rail link between Johannesburg and Pretoria and Sandton and the OR Tambo International Airport was confirmed, target after target have been reached to make the Gautrain a reality.
From the PreFeasibility Study, Gauteng Premier Shilowa’s announcement of the project in 2000 right through to the commencement of construction of 28 September 2006 – the Gautrain Project Team has endured and has steam left to meet the other required targets to achieve success with this project!
- The Gautrain PreFeasibility Study was initiated in 1998 and completed in 1999.
- Gauteng Premier Shilowa announces the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project in February 2000.
- In April 2000 a technical Project Team was appointed.
- The Conceptualisation Report for Gautrain was completed and submitted to the Gauteng Cabinet in June 2000.
- A Feasibility Report on the proposed Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project was completed in July 2001.
- Several Local Government Summits were held with City of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Ekurhuleni metropolitan councils.
- Premier Shilowa and two MECs – Jabu Moleketi and Khabisi Mosunkutu – together with Gautrain Project Leader, Jack vd Merwe and Blue IQ CEO at the time, Paddy Maharaj visited Germany, France and the United Kingdom in August to hold discussions with development agencies and possible investors.
- A very successful International Investors Conference was held during September 2001.
- In January 2002 the Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed Gautrain commenced with Public Participation meetings.
- The first PPP Treasury Authorisation on the project feasibility was received as well as permission to issue of the Request for PreQualification (RQF).
- During April 2002 ten RFQ submissions by prospective bidders were received.
- Two prequalified bidders (Bombela and Gauliwe) for the Gautrain were announced in May 2002.
Bombela Consortium consisting inter alia of:
- Rolling stock manufacturer: Bombardier
- Civil construction companies: Bouygues and Murray & Roberts
- Rail operator: RATP International
- BEE Partner: Strategic Partnership Group
Gauliwe Consortium consisting inter alia of:
- Rolling stock manufacturer: CAF
- Civil construction companies: Dragados Group and Grinaker–LTA
- Rail operator: Metro de Madrid
- BEE Partner: Tirisano
- The Request for Proposals (RFP) Phase I documents were issued during June 2002.
- During October 2002 the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report was published for comment.
- The second PPP Authorisation to issue the final RFP Phase 2 documents was received in November 2002.
- The RFP documents were issued to bidders in November 2002.
- In December 2002 comments closed on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report.
- During April 2003, the final EIA Report, inclusive of the Heritage Impact Assessment and Environmental Resource Economics Studies was submitted to the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs (GDACEL).
- The GDACEL issued their Record of Decision (RoD) on the EIA on 29 September 2003. This RoD basically approved, from an environmental perspective, the Gautrain Project and the proposed route based on certain conditions.
- On 26 April 2004, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs (GDACE) released an amended Record of Decision (RoD) on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
- The RoD was amended on the instruction of the Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs following her consideration of appeals submitted in terms of Section 35 of the Environment Conservation Act on the original RoD released on 29 September 2003. The MEC endorsed the authorisation of the project and the recommended route alignment approved by the original RoD.
- BAFO documents received from bidders on 26 January.
- Route Determination Report
On 15 April 2005, the Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works published a notice for the route determination of the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link in the Gauteng Provincial Gazette.
Through this notice, the MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works, Ignatius Jacobs gave notice that he proposes to determine the route for the Gautrain in terms of section 6 of the Gauteng Transport Infrastructure Act, 2001 (Act No. 8 of 2001) subject to written comments from interested and affected parties.
This marked the official start of the Gauteng Transport Infrastructure Act process that includes:
- Route determination
- Preliminary design
- Proclamation and expropriation
- Since September 2003 to June 2005, the Gautrain Project Evaluation Committee were in the process of evaluating bid documents that were received from the two short listed consortia, Gauliwe and Bombela. The Proposal Evaluation Process included a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) phase.
- The preferred bidder, the Bombela Consortium, was announced on July 02, 2005 by Premier Shilowa.
- On February 15, 2006 it was announced that R7,1 billion is set aside as a national contribution to the Gautrain project. This budget allocation was revealed during Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel’s 2006 Budget Speech – again emphasising the national significance of the project.
- Also on February 15, 2006 an Early Works Contract pertaining to the relocation of the utilities had been signed between the Gauteng Provincial Government and Bombela International Consortium. This allows for important preliminary work on the relocation of utility services to commence.
- On 09 March 2006, the preliminary design for Gautrain along all sections of the route that have not been subject to variant alignments proposed by the preferred bidder has been agreed to by MEC Jacobs, the MEC for Public Transport, Roads and Works in Gauteng.
- On 18 August, 2006 the Draft Final Environmental Management Plan for Gautrain was conditionally approved by GDACE. This draft final design and construction environmental management plan stipulates environmental management, inter alia, of the Gautrain construction on the entire alignment excluding the Centurion, Salvokop and Pretoria stations to Hatfield Station variant route alignment.
- 28 September:
- Premier shilowa announced that negotiations with Bombela had been finalised and that the Concession Agreement had been signed. The preferred bidder since 2 July 2005 is thus now the Concessionaire for the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link.
- Official commencement of construction
- New gautrain brand is launched
- On December 15 GDACE gave environmental authorisation (RoDs) on Gautrain’s northern variant route alignments as proposed by the Concessionaire Bombela. These variant alignments are Centurion area, Salvokop area and the area between Pretoria Station and Hatfield.
Financial Close was reached on 25 January – negotiations with lenders to fund its R3.1 billion commitment to the Gautrain project were finalised with Bombela. Since Gautrain’s commercial close in September 2006, this milestone ends four months of further negotiations between Bombela and Rand Merchant Bank and Standard Bank of South Africa Limited – ensuring these financial institutions’ commitment to the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Project.
The Gautrain Project had a plethora of successful achievements during the 2010 calendar year. The following are arguably some of the most significant achievements of the year, which saw the operations commence on 8 June 2010, well in time for the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Gautrain experienced unexpectedly high passenger demand during the first months of operations. People were prepared to stand for more than an hour in a queue just to get a ticket. By 16 September 2010, we already had our One Millionth Passenger, and indications are that the Airport Service is particularly popular for tourists as well as business people.
The list below is a chronological list of some of the 2010 highlights:
- Trackwork installation and Overhead Catenary wires for Phase 1 were installed for Phase 1 during January 2010. Phase 1 refers to the line between Sandton and the Airport.
- The main Bus depot was completed by February 2010
- All the Electrical and Mechanical installation work for Phase 1 operations, with the exception of some Automatic Fare Collection equipment, was completed during March 2010
- The Operator commenced with its Trial Running for Phase 1 approximately two months before Operation during April 2010
- Train Operations commenced for both the Airport Service and the East-West General Passenger Service in time for the FIFA Soccer World Cup on 8 June 2010
- The civil construction works for Viaduct 5, which is more than 5km long through Centurion, were completed during July 2010
- The Civil Contractor handed over all alignment sections from Midrand up to Pretoria Station to the E&M Contractor during September 2010
- The trackwork was installed from Midrand through to Pretoria Station by October 2010
- All Rolling Stock for the System (That is 24 Train Units or 96 Rail Cars) was delivered by the end of November 2010.
- Midrand Station construction was also completed by November 2010
- Most of the physical civil construction and installation work on the Gautrain was completed before the end of 2010.
- The Power Supply and Distribution energisation of the line up to Centurion was completed by December 2010.
- Similarly the electrification of the line between Sandton and Rosebank was completed by the end of December 2010.
- Sandton Station construction was basically completed by the end of 2010.