The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) is in negotiations with several UK companies to acquire additional train cabs or “rolling stock” to expand its Gautrain service.
The agency aims to acquire between 18 and 35 coaches for the Gautrain, which it will use to meet demand during peak travel times on popular routes.
GMA Communication and Marketing Senior Executive Manager Barbara Jensen-Vorster told MyBroadband that the second-hand rolling stock acquired would help alleviate overcrowded trains during popular travel times.
“The new rolling stock will be used to improve the Gautrain service by increasing the number of current train sets that there will be during peak-times,” Jensen-Vorster said.
“Currently there are not enough trains during peak times to carry the passengers who travel in the peak periods between (06:00 – 09:00 and 15:00 to 18:00) and this prevents us from increasing ridership in these peaks.”
Treasury approval required for expansion
This new rolling stock may also be useful once the GMA is able to implement its proposed expansions to the Gautrain rail system.
Jensen-Vorster said that the GMA requires approval from National Treasury before breaking ground on its new routes and stations, and it is currently waiting for this outcome.
“The status remains that the feasibility study for the extensions has been submitted to National Treasury in 2017 for Treasury Approval 1 (“TA1”) for Phase 1 of the proposed network implementation scenarios,” Jensen-Vorster said.
“The estimated date of breaking ground cannot yet be determined as it is dependent on the attainment of TA1 that will enable the commencement of the procurement process which in itself entails other treasury approvals.”
“However, the GMA has also initiated a preliminary route alignment study to determine the route for Phases 1 and 2 of the proposed network,” she said.
She added that this study is being undertaken as per the prescripts of the Gauteng Transport Infrastructure Act and will result in the MEC of Transport being able to gazette the route alignments formally for these phases.
Acquisition of rolling stock is just the beginning in terms of the GMA’s expansion plans for its rail system, however, having previously released a detailed plan for the addition of new routes.
The GMA first announced that it would be looking at expanding the Gautrain footprint in 2017, outlining a five-phase plan to implement new stations and routes across the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“This allows long-term planning, but as stated in the response above, at this stage we have only applied to National Treasury for approval for Phase 1,” Jensen-Vorster noted.
“This Phase runs from Marlboro to Sandton to Randburg to Cosmo to Little Falls.”
This would result in the addition of three new stations at the final three locations mentioned above.
Once the GMA has obtained approval and broken ground on these new stations, it then seeks to further expand the rail system to eventually provide a number of new stations along existing and new routes.
In addition to its expansion plans, the Gautrain has also been experimenting with new payment methods to make purchasing a ticket easier.
Bombela recently announced it would be adding support for contactless card payments at all Gautrain stations, allowing customers to tap their bank card instead of their Gautrain Gold Card to access the platform.
“We are currently preparing to launch the service to all Gautrain passengers and will be sure to inform you of the details pertaining to the official launch,” the company said in an email to users participating in the contactless pilot programme.
Planned Gautrain expansions are detailed in the table and image below, with the aforementioned Phase 1 being the addition of the Randburg, Cosmo, and Little Falls stations on the East-West line.
|Gautrain Expansion Plans – New Stations|
|North-South||Irene, Tshwane East|
|East-West||East Rand Mall, Modderfontein, Randburg, Cosmo, Little Falls, Roodepoort, Jabulani, Fourways, Sunninghill|
|Airport||Modderfontein, Randburg, Cosmo|
|Phase 5||Lanseria, Boksburg, Olievenhoutsbosch, Hazeldean, Mamelodi, Boksburg|
|Metrorail Integration||Rhodesfield, Irene, Prtoria, Hatfiled, Roodeport, Park, Jabulani, Boksburg|