CONSTRUCTION UPDATE – JUNE AND JULY

Posted on Aug 26, 2011 in Construction Update – 2011, Featured

A) CONSTRUCTION COMPLETION AND THE START OF PHASE 2 OPERATIONS

On 02 August 2011 the second phase of the Gautrain System – the route linking Rosebank Station in Johannesburg to Hatfield Station in Tshwane – was opened for commercial service. This follows the initial launch of Gautrain services on 08 June 2010, just three days ahead of the Soccer World Cup. The first phase operations, which comprised the airport train service between Sandton Station and OR Tambo International Airport and a commuter service between Sandton and Rhodesfield with an intermediate stop at Marlboro Station, have run very successfully and have proved extremely popular with the public. During the first 13 months of operations, ridership has accumulated to approximately 3 million passenger-trips. This eagerly awaited second phase extension to the Gautrain network now links the metropolitan areas of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni and provides commuters with a safe, quick and efficient alternative to other modes of transport, at competitive price levels. The train service is complemented by Gautrain’s fleet of 125 feeder and distribution buses servicing each station, apart from ORTIA. The final leg of the route between Rosebank Station and Park Station in the Johannesburg CBD will be opened at a later stage, once certain additional engineering works have been completed within this section of tunnel. In the interim, a Gautrain bus service will be introduced for the convenience of commuters wishing to travel between Rosebank and the CBD.

A tremendous amount has been achieved since the previous issue of “Construction Update” that recorded progress to the end of May 2011, at which stage the construction works and testing and commissioning (T&C) activities were already substantially complete and Trial Running by the Operator was in full swing. Remaining construction works – predominantly comprising finishing touches to the stations, finalization of external works, landscaping and completion of road reinstatements – were attended to and all outstanding T&C activities were successfully completed, documented and signed off.

Trial Running between Rosebank and Pretoria Stations, which had commenced on 08 March 2011 and which was extended along the final links to Park Station and Hatfield Station during May 2011, was successfully completed. Trial Running, which was carried out under the control of the Operator, followed the T&C process during which all systems and sub-systems were commissioned and tested to demonstrate that they met required performance standards. It comprised numerous drills and exercises, familiarisation of staff with operating conditions and – during the latter stages – running of the full system to the service timetable. Trial Running was successfully completed on 27 June 2011, whereafter the Operator submitted its application to the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) for a Safety Certificate, which is one of the pre-requisites necessary to permit commercial operations to commence. The RSR Safety Permit for the full System was issued on 11 July 2011.

A further pre-requisite ahead of the opening of this phase was for Arup, the Independent Certifier for the Project, to undertake a rigorous evaluation to verify that all of the contractual and technical requirements had been complied with and to certify its confirmation accordingly. By the end of July this extensive exercise had been completed and on Monday 01 August 2011 the Independent Certifier certified that the applicable requirements had been met and confirmed the Operating Commencement Date for the Rosebank to Hatfield service as 02 August 2011.

Operations commenced at 05h30 on Tuesday 02 August 2011.

As regular readers will be aware, “Construction Update” has reported upon construction progress on a monthly basis since Gautrain construction commenced on 28 September 2006. As all construction activities apart from the additional engineering works to be carried out in the tunnel section between Park Station and Shaft E2 have now been completed, this is the final issue of this publication.

A brief wrap-up of final activities that have taken place at those areas of the Project that have been focussed upon during recent months is provided below.

1. Underground Section

THE TUNNEL SECTION

All works within the tunnel between Sandton Station and Rosebank Station, including testing and commissioning, were completed by early March 2011. Trial Running through this section of the tunnel commenced on 08 March 2011 and was successfully completed by the end of June 2011. Train services between Sandton and Rosebank commenced on 02 August 2011.

Rosebank Station platforms

Sandton Station platform

The tunnel between Rosebank Station and Park Station comprises an approximately 3 km long section that was constructed by means of a tunnel boring machine, with the remaining approximately 2.5 km constructed utilizing drill and blast methods. The TBM section – which extends from immediately south of Rosebank to Shaft E2 located near “The Wilds” in Houghton – is designed as a fully lined, watertight tunnel.

The section of tunnel between Shaft E2 and Park Station is designed as a drained tunnel, which makes provision for a limited amount of water to enter the tunnel, which is then extracted through the tunnel drainage system. It is within this latter section of drained tunnel – predominantly towards its southern end – that the additional engineering works referred to earlier will be carried out in certain areas, in order to reduce the quantity of ground water finding its way into the drainage system to within the specified limits.

As has been emphasised in recent media statements, although these limits currently exceed the contract specification in some areas, the entire system, including the tunnel section between Rosebank and Park Stations, is completely safe. Trains have been running to Park Station since April this year as part of the T&C and Trial Running processes, and this fact is further evidenced by the Rail Safety Regulator having issued the Operating Permit for the full System on 11 July 2011. Although safety had not been compromised, the Gauteng Province and Bombela made a joint decision to address this issue prior to the start of operations to enable the required works to be completed in the shortest possible time

These engineering works will involve the drilling of small diameter holes through the tunnel floor and the injection low viscosity grout into the surrounding rock. This will reduce the permeability of the rock mass and thus reduce the volume of water entering the tunnel drains. Planning and preparation for this exercise is well advanced and works will start in early September 2011. With the grouting operation being an iterative process, it is difficult to predict how long it will take to achieve the desired results, but it is currently anticipated that these works will be completed towards the end of this year.

EMERGENCY ACCESS SHAFTS

The underground works also included the construction of seven emergency access shafts located at intervals along the single-track rail tunnel between Park Station and Sandton Station. These shafts provide emergency services personnel access to the tunnels below. At the bottom of certain of these shafts there are safe havens where passengers can gather in case of an emergency. Those members of the public who participated in the tunnel evacuation exercises carried out earlier this year will be familiar with these safe havens, having spent part of a Saturday morning enjoying a cold drink and a snack within one of these, located some 60 meters below the suburb of Dunkeld.

Works at all seven of these emergency access shafts are complete and all shafts are fully operational.

PARK STATION

All works at Park Station are complete. The Operator’s Trial Running activities relevant to this station were completed during June 2011 and the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Johannesburg on 29 June 2011. Whilst this station is, therefore, ready for the start of operations, these will only commence once the additional engineering work to be carried out within the tunnel between Rosebank and Park Station is complete and this final section of the route is opened for commercial service.

The Johannesburg Park Station entrance

Access stairway to the Johannesburg Park Station entrance

ROSEBANK STATION

All works at Rosebank Station are complete. The Operator’s Trial Running activities relevant to this station were completed during June 2011, the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Johannesburg on 29 June 2011 and the Independent Certifier’s certification that all contractual and technical requirements had been met, followed thereafter. The station was opened to the public for the pre-sale of tickets and to enable prospective passengers to familiarize with the facilities on 29 July 2011. Rosebank Station commenced commercial operations with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link on 02 August 2011.

Gautrain arrival at Rosebank Station

Installed ticket vending machines at Rosebank Station concourse

SANDTON STATION

Whilst Sandton Station has been operational since the opening of the first phase of the Gautrain System on 08 June 2010, the platforms serving the North – South route were brought into use on 02 August 2011, with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link.

MARLBORO STATION

Whilst Marlboro Station has been operational since the opening of the first phase of the Gautrain System on 08 June 2010, the platforms serving the route to the north were brought into use on 02 August 2011, with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link.

A popular change to the operations at Marlboro Station has been the introduction of the Marboro to ORTIA service on 01 June 2011, which enables airport passengers to board and alight at Marlboro, as well as at Sandton.

2. Northern Section (Depot to Hatfield Station)

THE ALIGNMENT, INCLUDING ALL BRIDGES, STRUCTURES AND VIADUCTS

Construction along this section of the alignment was completed on a progressive basis from the Depot northwards and was substantially complete up to Pretoria by December 2010 and to Hatfield by mid-April this year. The first Gautrain Electrostars arrived at Pretoria Station on 13 January 2011 and at Hatfield Station on 14 April 2011 respectively.

Following completion of T&C activities, Trial Running commenced and this was successfully completed by 27 June 2011. Commercial operations along this section of the route commenced on 02 August 2011, with the opening of the link between the Rosebank and Hatfield Stations.

MIDRAND STATION

All works at Midrand Station are complete. The Operator’s Trial Running activities relevant to this station were completed during June 2011, the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Johannesburg on 28 June 2011 and the Independent Certifier’s certification that all contractual and technical requirements had been met, followed thereafter. The station was opened to the public for the pre-sale of tickets and to enable prospective passengers to familiarize with the facilities on 29 July 2011. Midrand Station commenced commercial operations with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link on 02 August 2011.

Gautrain arrival at Midrand Station

CENTURION STATION

All works at Centurion Station are complete. The Operator’s Trial Running activities relevant to this station were completed during June 2011, the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Tshwane on 24 June 2011 and the Independent Certifier’s certification that all contractual and technical requirements had been met, followed thereafter. The station was opened to the public for the pre-sale of tickets and to enable prospective passengers to familiarize with the facilities on 29 July 2011. Centurion Station commenced commercial operations with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link on 02 August 2011.

Gautrain bus outside Ceturion Station

PRETORIA STATION

All works at Pretoria Station are complete. The Operator’s Trial Running activities relevant to this station were completed during June 2011, the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Tshwane on 24 June 2011 and the Independent Certifier’s certification that all contractual and technical requirements had been met, followed thereafter. The station was opened to the public for the pre-sale of tickets and to enable prospective passengers to familiarize with the facilities on 29 July 2011. Pretoria Station commenced commercial operations with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link on 02 August 2011.

Gautrain arrival at Pretoria Station platforms

Pretoria Station platforms

PRETORIA SATELLITE BUS DEPOT

This facility is located to the north of the CBD, in the vicinity of the Pretoria Zoo. It is the base from where the fleet of Gautrain feeder and distribution buses that serve the three stations in the Tshwane area operate. Maintenance work and major servicing of the buses, however, takes place at the main Gautrain Bus Depot, which is located adjacent to the Train Depot and Operations Control Centre in Midrand.

All works at the Pretoria Satellite Bus Depot are complete. Trial Running of the Gautrain feeder and distribution buses along the Tshwane routes was completed during June 2011, the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Tshwane on 29 June 2011 and the Independent Certifier’s certification that all contractual and technical requirements had been met, followed thereafter. Operating out of this facility, the feeder and distribution bus service for the Tshwane area commenced commercial operations with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link on 02 August 2011.

HATFIELD STATION

All works at Hatfield Station are complete. The Operator’s Trial Running activities relevant to this station were completed during June 2011, the necessary Occupation Certificate was issued by the City of Tshwane on 24 June 2011 and the Independent Certifier’s certification that all contractual and technical requirements had been met, followed thereafter. The station was opened to the public for the pre-sale of tickets and to enable prospective passengers to familiarize with the facilities on 29 July 2011. Hatfield Station commenced commercial operations with the opening of the Rosebank to Hatfield link on 02 August 2011.

Gautrain arrival at Hatfield Station platforms

Hatfield Station platforms

B) CONCLUSION

With this being the final issue of “Construction Update”, the editorial team takes the opportunity to thank our readers, the media and the Gauteng community in general for your patience, understanding and interest during the construction phase of the Gautrain Project, which has spanned almost 5 years since the first sod was turned at the end of September 2006.

Designing and constructing the Gautrain infrastructure, which traverses some of South Africa’s most highly developed commercial and residential infrastructure and busiest road networks, presented some particular challenges. With an initial perception in some quarters that that large parts of our metropolitan areas were at risk of being transformed into a massive construction site for a considerable period of time, one of Gautrain’s major objectives was to achieve effective interaction with – and buy-in from – all affected communities, the public, relevant authorities and affected third parties. As such, we have endeavoured to follow a regular, open and transparent communications strategy, without which this objective would not have had a chance of being realized.

We hope that you have found our monthly progress updates interesting and informative – your support has been greatly appreciated. We wish you many enjoyable kilometres of Gautrain commuting!

C) OVERALL PROGRESS SUMMARY

Construction started at the end of September 2006. Gautrain was initially envisaged to be completed in two phases, but a third phase was subsequently introduced

  1. The first phase was initially planned to be of a 45 months contractual duration, but was completed three weeks ahead of this, on 08 June 2010. It included the network between the OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton and includes the stations at OR Tambo, Rhodesfield, Marlboro and Sandton, together with the Train Depot, Bus Depot and Operations Control Centre located near Allandale Road in Midrand.
  2. The second phase was completed on 02 August 2011 2011. It included the remainder of the rail network and all stations linking Sandton to Rosebank Station in Johannesburg and the route from Midrand to Hatfield, together with the Satellite Bus Depot in Pretoria.
  3. The third and final phase, being the link between Rosebank Station and Park Station in the Johannesburg CBD, will follow within the coming months.

Toll-free call centre: 0800-GAUTRAIN (0800-42887246). The call centre is operational weekdays between 7am and 7pm with an answering system after-hours. Communities are reminded that regular Community Liaison Forums continue to be held in affected areas.

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