Wheels start rolling on Jhb-Dbn high-speed train project

2010-09-27 12:41

The process of testing the market for a high-speed rail link between Durban and Johannesburg would start next month, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele announced today.

“By next month, we will commence with the dual process of concept development and testing the market for a period of six months,” Ndebele said at the launch of Transport Month at Bridge City in Durban.

The construction of a multibillion-rand high-speed rail link between Durban and Johannesburg would cut transport times dramatically.

The department has also identified Johannesburg to Cape Town and Johannesburg to Musina high-speed rail projects.

Ndebele said his department believed that the concept development and testing of the market would not take more than six months.

He said the project was crucial because the Durban-Gauteng corridor was the busiest in the southern hemisphere, both in value and tonnage.

“It forms South Africa’s freight transportation network. It is also vital in facilitating economic growth for the country, region and the African continent.”

Ndebele was speaking during the official opening of a R350 million underground rail station that would serve 40 000 commuters a day. The station was under the recently opened R750 million Bridge City shopping centre.

Most of South Africa’s commuter rail systems had reached the end of their life span, Ndebele said.

He said South Africa had invested R40 billion in passenger rail infrastructure and services. This included the R25 billion spent on the Gautrain project, South Africa’s first high-speed train.

Ndebele said the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, which operated the Metrorail commuter service, had identified the need for recapitalisation of its rolling stock fleet over the next 18 years at an estimated cost of R95 billion.

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