Gautrain Rapid Rail Link Investors Conference

Posted on Sep 4, 2001 in Media Releases

The Gautrain Rapid Rail Investors Conference is currently being held at the Sandton Convention Centre. This project forms part of Blue IQ, the R1,7-billion initiative by the Gauteng Provincial Government to invest in infrastructure development in 10 mega-projects in the areas of technology, transport, tourism, and high value-added manufacturing.

This project is a mega transport project, in line with Government’s transport policies but with the primary objective of promoting economic development in the province. It is a new approach that moves more to rail transport, both with regard to passengers and freight.In his opening address at the Gautrain Investors Conference, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said, “The Gautrain project is unique in the sense that it is in the first instance, a development project, aimed at the creation of infrastructure, the stimulation of economic growth and the creation of employment opportunities.

It should further be viewed in the light of the key strategic priorities of the Gauteng Provincial Government. In the Gautrain Project we address all three of these strategic priorities. These priorities are:

  • Accelerated economic growth, development and infrastructure delivery, with emphasis on employment creation;
  • Quality service delivery; and
  • Good governance.”

The Gautrain project involves a modern state-of-the-art rail connection, linking Johannesburg, Pretoria and the Johannesburg International Airport (JIA). It will consist of approximately 80km of railway lines that may be extended in future. Apart from the three anchor stations at Johannesburg, Pretoria and JIA, there will initially be seven other stations.

GAUTRAIN PROJECT CONCEPT
Distinctive modern trains will offer levels of service and comfort never seen before on public transport in South Africa. These trains will cover the link between Johannesburg and Pretoria in less than 35 minutes and at speeds of 160km/h or higher. Trains will operate approximately 18 hours a day, with reliability, punctuality and predictability being key features of the service. The minimum frequency between Johannesburg and Pretoria will initially be six trains per hour per direction and more trains will be operated as the number of passengers using the system increases.

Trains will run at least every 15 minutes between Sandton and JIA.Besides a general transport service, a dedicated service for local and international air passengers will be operated between JIA and Sandton, with decentralised checking-in facilities available at Sandton Station. Purpose designed trains, suited to the specific needs of air passengers and offering an excellent travel environment will be used for the dedicated airport service. The journey between JIA and Sandton will take less than 15 minutes. The airport connection and service will bring Gauteng in line with many major cities in the world where it is becoming common practice to link cities by rail to international airports.

ROUTES AND STATIONS
Various route alternatives were investigated before a preferred route was selected. The design of the route alignment is based on modern railway practice and conforms to high-speed passenger rail designs worldwide. This will ensure that rapid rail train sets can be operated safely and comfortably on this alignment.North – South

  • The first link of the Gautrain will start at a station in Johannesburg, which will be situated within the existing Park Station precinct, to integrate with the existing rail services and other public transport services.
  • The rail alignment will then go north for 6 km, mainly in tunnel, to a station in Rosebank.
  • From Rosebank the line will proceed underground for another 5 km to a station within the Sandton business district.
  • After passing Sandton, the line will come out onto the surface, cross the M1 freeway towards Marlboro Station, approximately 4 km from Sandton.
  • After Marlboro, the rail line will go further north, pass over the N3 freeway, run along the western bank of the Jukskei River for 13 km until it reaches the station in Midrand.
  • The next stop is at a station in the Centurion central business district, to the north of the Centurion Lake. In the 18 km for the section from Midrand to Centurion the rail line will mainly be on the surface or in a “slight cut” (approximately 1m deep) to reduce noise in environmentally sensitive areas. To smoothe out the gradients some sections will be elevated on bridges.
  • Pretoria Station is the next major stop, about 11 kms away from Centurion. This section will also partly be on the surface and partly elevated on bridges. The station will be adjacent to the existing Pretoria Station, which will again link the Gautrain with the existing rail services, the Blue Train and other tourist services.
  • The line will then run east for 6 km from Pretoria Station, mainly within the existing rail reserve, to a station in Hatfield, from where it will also be linked to the Pretoria Ring Rail system.

West – East

  • The second link will start at the Sandton Station, go via Marlboro, turn east and continue for 15 km to a station at Rhodesfield in Kempton Park.
  • The dedicated link from Sandton to the Johannesburg International Airport will leave Rhodesfield, pass underneath the R24 freeway system and go to a station situated underneath the airport terminal buildings to give direct access to the airport.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
Rail transport in general is more environmentally friendly than most other means of transport modes and especially private cars. However, the Gautrain will have an environmental impact and this was assessed as part of an Environmental Feasibility Analysis that found no flaws that would make it impossible to implement the project due to environmental problems. In terms of the existing environmental legislation it is necessary to do a Scoping Study and a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to fully assess the impact of the Gautrain.
Premier Shilowa announced that an independent consultancy, Bohlweki Environmental Pty Ltd, has been appointed to do the EIA. The EIA process will include a comprehensive community participation and consultation process, and details will soon be made public on how this process will proceed.

PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
This Gautrain project will be developed as a Public Private Partnership in which the Provincial Government will not only be involved in the project on a strategic level, but will also be co-responsible for funding. It will be a Build-Operate-Transfer type project whereby the successful tenderer, after a pre-qualification process, will be responsible for providing the infrastructure as well as for the operation of the system. International liaison over the past year indicated substantial interest in the project.

WAY FORWARD
Premier Shilowa announced that a tender process will follow the feasibility study and the technical investigations and development of specifications. The tender process allows for two phases, namely:

  • A pre-qualification phase that may include a short listing process, and
  • A request for proposal phase.

Negotiation will take place with the successful bidder before financial closure. Construction is planned to start in the second half of 2003 and commissioning will take place in 2006.Concluding his keynote address at the Investors Conference Premier Shilowa noted, “The Gauteng Provincial Government is convinced of the benefits of this project. These benefits are not only due to the improved transportation system that we will implement as part of our multi-model public transport system in Gauteng, but will more importantly assist us in achieving the long-term economic development goals of the province.”

Issued on behalf of:
Gautrain Rapid Rail Link

For more information contact:
Jack vd Merwe
Gautrain Project Leader
E-mail: media@gautrain.co.za

Barbara Jensen
eQuinox Communications

Carol Bradbury
Simeka TWS Communications
082 805-4575

MEDIA RELEASE – 04 September 2001

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