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HomeNewsLong-distance trains are back in South Africa – What a trip costs between Joburg and Cape Town

Long-distance trains are back in South Africa – What a trip costs between Joburg and Cape Town

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has announced the resumption of long-distance train services between Joburg and Cape Town/Durban after a two-year hiatus.

Prasa relaunched these long-haul corridors as a more affordable and exciting alternative for families and groups that usually travel via bus and taxi. They follow the resumption of the Joburg to Musina and Joburg to Queenstown lines in 2022.

Those interested in making use of one of the trains will have to pay at least R170 for an economy and R360 for a tourist ticket from Joburg to Durban.

From the City of Gold all the way down to Cape Town, an economy coach costs R430, said Prasa spokesperson Andiswa Makanda on 702.

The trains will run once per week during the December and January festive season when travelling between these locations spikes, and they have dining and entertainment coaches to keep passengers busy during long days on the rail.

The frequency of trips will increase as the once-dilapidated coaches start returning from the “general overhaul program” and are put back to work, said Makanda.

Operational challenges

The suspension of train services in 2020 and 2021 was due to Prasa facing several operational challenges stemming from dilapidated infrastructure and crime.

Many of the stations and rail lines were vandalised or stolen during the Covid-19 pandemic which led to Prasa having to ferry passengers by bus from one stop to the next, completely defeating its purpose.

It also sat with broken and outdated coaches that could no longer operate safely, said Makanda.

However, Prasa has since joined hands with state-owned Transnet to restore its lines and network infrastructure to meet Railway Safety Regulator standards, as well as sent its coaches in for repairs in an effort to enable passenger trains to move unabated and on a regular basis through the country once more.

The agency now also employs 286 “Peace Officers” who have the power to arrest and are trained in criminal and general law, in addition to Protection Officers who provide armed response, platform marshalling, and CCTV monitoring amongst other tasks.

“We are confident that even with the Durban [and] Cape Town services we won’t have any problems and it will move seamlessly,” said Makanda.


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