The transport department will commission an independent study into the cost and feasibility of high-speed trains between major cities, the Business Day reported on Thursday.
Integrated transport planning deputy director-general Mawethu Vilana said on Wednesday a tender for the study would be issued this year, the newspaper reported.
The trains run at speeds as high as 400km/h.
High-speed rail needed a wider gauge than the one used throughout South Africa, with Gautrain the country’s only standard-gauge railway.
Vilana said the future of rail was high-speed, with government’s focus in the intermediate future being the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) using trains travelling at between 140 and 160km/h on the narrow-gauge infrastructure.
In discussions on high-speed rail, the Durban to Johannesburg route featured strongly, said Vilana.
Cape Town to Johannesburg was also being mooted, though intermediate stops would be needed.
There was also demand from Polokwane to Gauteng.