25 February, 2003

Train connection between Johannesburg and Pretoria

Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa says the province remains on course to begin the construction of the Gautrain rapid link project in February next year, and complete it within the stipulated time frame. He was addressing members of the provincial legislature at its first sitting on Tuesday, Feb 25. “The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project continues to gather full speed,” he confirmed. Shilowa added that the approval by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel of the financing model for the project made it possible for the project to move to the next stage. He said the environmental impact assessment had been completed and the report had been made public.

The project is an initiative by government and the private sector to reduce the growing traffic on the N1-highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg. It has been subject to criticism from those living along the proposed railway line between the two cities, expressing concern at their imminent relocation, the sale and value of properties and financial assistance towards their relocation.

However, Shilowa said thousands of people took part in the environmental assessment study and many continued to express views on the project. “We receive messages from many people who know what the train will do to improve the efficiency of our public transport system and make life easy for commuters.” The Gautrain will stop at Park Station (Johannesburg), Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro, Midrand, Centurion, Hatfield, Rhodesfield and Johannesburg International Airport. At an estimated cost of R7bn, the train is expected to carry about 60 000 passengers a day travelling at speeds of between 60km/h and 180km/h. It will cost commuters R17 from Johannesburg to Pretoria, R9 from Rosebank to Sandton and R70 for the non-stop express from Sandton to the airport. (PRETORIA NEWS)

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