High-speed rail: feasibility study

2010-09-02 00:00

THE national Transport Department will conduct feasibility studies for proposed high-speed rail projects, starting with the Durban-Johannesburg project next month.

This is the first step in a move to determine whether there is sufficient market demand for a high-speed rail option between the two cities.

So said Transport Department director-general George Mahlalela, who was speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg yesterday on South Africa’s rail investment programme.

The “concept framework” for the Durban-Johannesburg speed rail is expected to be completed by March 2011, the end of the current financial year.

The government has identified two other proposed high-speed rail links, namely Johannesburg-Cape Town and Johannesburg-Musina.

“As of October 2010, a team will start with the dual process of concept development and testing the market for a period of six months. We are hoping that at the end of this process, we will be able to determine whether there is enough appetite for this project in the market. The initial scoping suggests that it is possible for this project to be commercially driven based on a public-private partnership model,” Mahlalela said.

KZN features prominently among the challenges relating to long-distance transit systems.

These include the need to support tourism services between economic hubs such as Johannesburg and Durban, as well as the need to support the emergence of “mega-city” dynamics, such as Durban-Pietermaritzburg.

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