Slow progress in KZN’s high-speed train plans

2014-12-22 00:00

DESPITE an optimistic vision for the future of rail in KZN, no plans are yet afoot for the long-promised high-speed rail link between Johannesburg and Durban.

The trains are expected to have a running speed as high as 400 km/h with one-and-a-half hour travelling times.

Chief executive officer of Prasa Rail Mosenngwa Mofi said R6 billion was going to be spent on rail improvements over the next few years.

“We are doing everything in our power to increase the numbers of rail users,” he said.

He said they aimed for the high-speed rail to compete with air.

“Travelling via rail would be easier and cheaper. You would not have to get to the train station an hour in advance, which would save time, and stations are closer to city centres,” he said.

The Department of Transport’s deputy director-general for integrated transport planning, Mawethu Vilana, said they need to do studies into the cost and feasibility of more trains.

“There has yet to be cabinet approval on this and we have not yet made developements on the implementation of the high-speed trains,” he said.

Vilana said the estimated costing, which had not been disclosed, seemed to be too expensive currently.

Mofi said they aimed to attracted commuters through extensive clean-ups of the stations.

He said during the late ’80s when other countries were investing in rail, South Africa had been disinvesting, which has deteriorated since.

“We are currently paying the price for this, people are used to using their cars and other modes of public transport where rail should be the most efficient,” Mofi said.

He said if people used more rail, it would benefit the atmosphere.

The biggest problem they faced currently was cable theft, he said.

“This is crippling our service delivery and causes endless delays for commuters who are working class people and school goers.”

Mofi said as recently as 2010, top concerns from commuters were safety, which now does not feature in the top five complaints.


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