First Gautrain passenger trip to Park Station

By Drum Digital
07 June 2012

The Gautrain made its first passenger run to the new Park Station in the Johannesburg CBD on Thursday.

Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi and chief executive of the Gautrain Management Agency Jack van der Merwe braved the cold to catch the 7am train from the Rosebank Station.

The train took only three minutes and 20 seconds to reach the new station in Wolmarans Street.

Van der Merwe said certification for passenger travel on the new line was received on Wednesday night and it had been decided to run trains to it as soon as possible.

"It just made commercial sense to open it as soon as possible," he said.

He said the opening of the new passenger line was the culmination of 15 years of work.

The line to Park Station was initially meant to open last year but was delayed by water seeping into the tunnel.

"The geology is very mixed in Joburg, (although) there is some water coming in the walls it is very safe to operate," Van der Merwe said.

Vadi said that the line was safe for travel, but "the provincial government would like as little water as possible" in the tunnel.

A dispute resolution on the matter would be held in September, he said.

Van der Merwe said there was "no short term crisis" but in the long term a solution could be needed.

Vadi said he was "absolutely delighted" with the extension of the Gautrain service.

He said the other stations had stimulated economic development.

"In Rosebank new hotels have been built, there has been massive development around the station," he said.

Vadi said the Park Station was close to a Rea Vaya terminal and the existing Metrorail station, forming an integrated city transport hub.

Bombela chairman Andre Laas said he was surprised at the number of passengers using the Gautrain to the new station on its first day.

"Its amazing how quickly news spreads," he said.

Laas said that by Friday he expected a full complement of passengers to the Park Station

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