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Wednesday / 17 April 2024
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The Gautrain is being tripled in size

Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) CEO, William Dachs, this week announced that the agency is in the “advanced stages” of finalising a massive expansion project for the Gautrain which will see an additional 150km of track added to the existing 80km, bringing the railway up to a total of 230km – just 10km short of three times its original size.

Last year, the agency completed a route proclamation that included areas such as Cosmo City, Little Falls, and Randburg, labeled as a “critical stage in the process of securing and obtaining land rights,” said Dachs.

“Work is underway conducting Phase 2 of the proclamation routes towards Roodepoort and Soweto,” he added.

The expansion is aimed at covering underserviced areas including townships, and the new concession will also “look into the ticket price model to accommodate low-income groups and areas as Gautrain expands its services across the province,” said the provincial government’s Dr Thulani Mdadane.

The upgrade is expected to kick off in 2026 when the Gauteng Provincial Government is set to assume ownership of the express commuter rail system after the current concession expires.

Since inception, the Gautrain has created 10,000 direct and over 61,000 indirect job opportunities for South Africans and contributes over R61 billion to the country’s GDP, said Mdadane.

Gautrain a critical part of the Gauteng-Limpopo railway

The Gautrain expansion project will play an integral role in the new 240km high-speed rail link planned between Johannesburg, Gauteng, and Polokwane, Limpopo.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi recently announced that the Gauteng and Limpopo governments appointed a task team to perform feasibility studies into such a high-speed train between the provinces, and the team will present the first concept of the project to the national government this month.

The railway will allow the financial hub of South Africa to link to one of the country’s largest rural provinces in an effort to support growth in both locations.

“Creating a new rail opportunity to Limpopo is a vote of confidence about the future. This future must incorporate Gauteng, and Gauteng must play a strategic role [in it],” said Lesufi.

Following approval from Cabinet, the provincial authorities will initiate further studies that will provide an indication of what the railway will cost, with government aiming to secure a public-private partnership for funding.

Due to the immense scale of the project, it will need approval from national treasury and must therefore go out on tender, but there are also two private institutions who have already shown a willingness to flip the bill, including “a China-based financial institution and a local institution,” said the premier, which will “make things easier” in terms of getting treasury to sign off.

Depending on compliance and approval processes, anywhere between four and six years “will be the ideal period to conclude the task,” said Lesufi.

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