Gautrain expansion on the cards

Plans to add between 18 and 35 coaches to the train network within the next 18 months – CEO.
Capacity constraints on the high-speed train network are set to be eased. Picture: Supplied

The Gautrain Management Agency is planning to spend up to R2 billion to acquire second hand additional rolling stock from the United Kingdom to deal with the capacity constraints on the high-speed train network.

Jack van der Merwe, chief executive of the Gautrain Management Agency, says a team has just returned from the UK where they identified three rolling stock companies they are now negotiating with.

Speaking at the Southern African Transport Conference this week, Van der Merwe said the agency is looking at bringing in between 18 and 35 coaches for the Gautrain. They will most probably arrive in South Africa within the next 18 months.

Read: Commuting your way to happiness

Van der Merwe says loan funding for the acquisition of rolling stock has been obtained from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and that the project will cost a maximum of R2 billion.

“You will be quite surprised to see what rolling stock we are going to run on the system. You all know it and have driven in it. I’m not going to spoil the surprise.

“We are going to run the new additional rolling stock from the airport on the east-west line and then all the existing trains will run on the north-south line.”

Gautrain 2

Van der Merwe also provided an update of Gautrain 2, the next phase of the project.

He says the planned network for Gautrain 2 is from Mamelodi in the east of Pretoria to Jabulani in the west of Soweto, from Lanseria to Little Falls and Cosmo into Randburg and Marlboro, and from OR Tambo International Airport to Boksburg.

It will add 150km of railway line and another 19 stations to the network, with the first phase planned to be from Lanseria to Little Falls into Randburg and Marlboro.

He says Gautrain 2 is a strategic infrastructure project in the National Development Plan.

“If the president and cabinet give money to the NDP and start funding it, I expect us to start construction four years from now.”

Read: Government to pay up R1.2bn in Gautrain settlement

Van der Merwe says the public-private partnership (PPP) feasibility for Gautrain 2 has been finalised and the agency has applied to National Treasury for authorisation for the project.

Private sector

He says Gautrain 1 has private sector debt of about 12%, with the balance comprising provincial borrowings and provincial budget allocations via national government. 

The agency wants to increase private sector funding to 33% with Gautrain 2, which, if built, will create 210 000 jobs.

He says revenue generated by Gautrain 1 in the past three years covered between 90% and 105% of the system’s operating costs.

The need for Gautrain 2 was prompted by the estimated growth in Gauteng’s population, which  is expected to increase 48% to 19.1 million people by 2037 (from 12.9 million in 2014).

He says the agency is predicting that the low income group in Gauteng will reduce to 43% in 2037 from 52% in 2014, with the high and medium income groups accounting for about 57% of the total population in the province in 2037.

Changing travel demands

“This will create a different demand for travel. The first thing people want to do when they become financially independent is that they want to buy a car.

“The only thing that gives me hope is that millennials do not want to buy a car but want to sit on public transport and play with their cellphones.”

Van der Merwe says the number of workers in the province is estimated to increase by 44% to 9.2 million 2037 (from 6.3 million in 2014), which would mean 18 million home-to-work and work-to-home trips daily.

The current car population would grow significantly from 3.9 million in 2014 to 6.6 million in 2037, with ownership of cars increasing from 300 per 1 000 people to 450 per 1 000.

Van der Merwe says that in 2000, 51% of people in Gauteng used public transport and 49% private transport, but in the past 10 years the use of private transport has gone up to 56%.

“This is very worrying and a trend we have to stop and turnaround. In Tokyo, almost 90% of all trips made are with public transport,” he said.

The weighted average speed on Gauteng highways would decrease to 10km an hour because of congestion.

“You can work out that if you live in Pretoria or Johannesburg, which are 50km apart, that it will take you five hours. What is interesting is that in London at the turn of the century when they used horse-drawn carriages, the average speed was 15km an hour.”



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All well and good but What about first spending R2billion on security and upgrading commuter trains for the workers first? This will rid us of the expense of road congestion, taxi violence and inner city housing crisis, especially in 5he Cape!
Fine to be accommodating the tourist trade and business commuters, but not at the expense of normal people just trying to get to their jobs.
Just a thought from a concerned tax payer…

Why would the GMA of the GAUTENG government buy you trains FIRST? Or at all?

Gautrain 2 is utter madness. The original scheme cost six times its original budget and is now being subsidised to the tune of 33% of the Gautrans budget per annum. It is the most colossal white elephant in the history of democratic South Africa. And now we are to make the same mistake twice?

Government should be funding mass public transport (low speed rail, buses) not the legacy-building fantasies of Jack vd Merwe.

Good comment. Such are the vanity projects of SA. Costing the taxpayer and ratepayer but only benefiting a few.

Gautrain is fantastic and the only public transport that actually works here. Im glad to see more stations.

You really didn’t read the article did you?

Gautrain is a beaut! They must expand it, who cares if its subsidised? Are busses and other slow metro trains not subsidised? Thats what we pay taxes for….

A line to the West Rand over the ring road will change Jozi traffic for the better and we all benefit… they must start building today…

I personally can’t wait for the additional stations. Randburg soon please. I use the train daily along with thousands upon thousands of other Gautengers and it is hugely beneficial to us for many reasons. If you want to see for yourself visit a station on any weekday morning or afternoon.

Yes we must get the books to balance well but lets not undermine the benefit of getting it correct. If we get this right we can see it spread across the country.

The Gautrain will become the standard train transport system in Gauteng. Other rail infrastructure has deteriorated to the point of near collapse. So, it’s a good idea to gradually expand the Gautrain. I might be little naive but the Gautrain appears to be less susceptible corruption and bribery. Rather spend money here than on Prasa or Transnet where money just disappears into the pockets of comrades.

Private + Public partnership working here.

Plans to extend Gautrain is positive news.

However, most construction companies SA had, does not exist anymore. Are there local construction companies left over that has the capacity for such project?

China has vast excess civil construction capacity. Why not let China pay for development (they become the owner) & then we can pay for tickets in Yuan?

….it will appear like a sellout, but at least construction cost would be within budget & completed on time using foreign workers(?) The latter who are welcome to remain here in SA once project is completed. Africa will become Chinese soil….Gautrain expansion will be a good start.

So, Mr Mboweni. How much has the taxpayer, yours truly included, actually contributed to the cost of running our grandiose scheme, Gautrain? It’s common knowledge that Treasury in some form or other subsidises each commuter on each trip? No? So where is this principle of “User Pays” you appear to support. I trust that it will be made clear to who ever is concerned, that Gautrain Two will not get a cent from taxpayers. Alternatively a discussion with Fikile & David on how to spread subsidies on a more balanced basis might be in order.

All that said and done, it’s still cheaper for me and most people to have a car and use a car instead of Gautrain and Uber and the likes.

A look at the great cities of the world would probably show most have excellent public transport and within those, rail dominates.

BUT, do we really need very fast trains? The engineering and costs (and risks) are probably ten times comparing a 60km/h to a 150 km/h system. CPT should look at an overhead slow train that can straddle existing motorways. Traffic is a nightmare in the Cape.

‘very fast trains’ ‘150 km/h’ lol. no.


properly Fast trains are intercity and compete with airlines.

If you live near Cape Town airport, do the math on a 20km commute at 60 vs 500 km/h in context of a 120 minute commute at present. Besides, doing 500km/h between stations would require an over-investment in gravity suits and barf bags!

I just question why Gautrain needs 150km/h at all. A leisurely 60 average would beat the hell out of buses, taxis, cars. In CPT an average cyclist beats a car from rondebosch to waterfront in the busy times… these people drive like Knysna People With Hats

End of comments.





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