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Gautrain, Gauteng

Gautrain is an 80-kilometre mass rapid transit railway system in Gauteng Province, South Africa, which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport. It is hoped that this railway will relieve the traffic congestion in the Johannesburg–Pretoria traffic corridor and offer commuters a viable alternative to road transport. The Gauteng Provincial Government formed a partnership with local and international experts in business to build a modern transport network, the biggest Public-Private Partnership in Africa.

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The rail connection comprises of two links, namely a link between Tshwane (Pretoria) and Johannesburg and a link between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton. Apart from the three anchor stations on these two links, seven other stations are linked by approximately 80 kilometres of rail along the proposed route.

Three anchor stations are located at :

  • Johannesburg International Airport
  • Tshwane and
  • Johannesburg
Seven anchor stations are located at:
  • Rosebank
  • Sandton
  • Marlboro
  • Midrand
  • Centurion
  • Hatfield and
  • Rhodesfield (Kempton Park)

The Gautrain network is connected to other forms of public transport like taxis, buses and the Metrorail public train system. Commuters can also use Gautrain buses to destinations within a 15 kilometre radius. Travelling at up to 160 kilometres per hour, Gautrain will take 42 minutes to travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria. From Sandton to the OR Tambo International Airport takes 15 minutes, and provision has been made for air passengers to remotely check in at Sandton Station in future.

Fares on the Johannesburg/Pretoria route will be between R19.00 and R49.00, depending on distance. Fares on the Gautrain Bus Link is R6.00 (R20.00 if the train is not used within one hour of the bus journey).

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History of the Gautrain
The Gautrain project was announced in 2000, before South Africa won the rights to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2006 the Gauteng province signed a 20-year PPP contract with the Bombela Concession Co consortium, which includes Murray & Roberts, empowerment organisation Strategic Partners Group, Bombardier, Bouygues and various minority shareholders.

Initial works for the Gautrain commenced in May 2006 and construction commenced after the signing of the Concession Agreement between the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Bombela Concession Company on 28 September 2006. The project was constructed simultaneously in two phases. The first phase involved the section between OR Tambo International Airport, Sandton and Midrand, the second the remainder. The construction of the first phase was scheduled to take 45 months, the second is for 54 months, with completion in 2010 and 2011.

The agreement provides for a R150 million incentive for the Gautrain to open in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, Gautrain was not built for the World Cup – it was conceived prior to that. However, in November 2009, the Bombela Concessionaire proposed a new, less expensive plan for the route between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton to be in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

By the end of May 2008, nearly a third of tunnelling was completed, and excavation of the tunnels was completed on 11 September 2009. A mixed-face Earth Pressure Balance Shield Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) was designed and built in Germany by Herrenknecht specifically to cope with complex underground conditions and was the first such machine in South Africa. The TBM, named Imbokodo (meaning "rock"), installs pre-cast concrete tunnel lining segments behind it as it moves forward. It leaves behind a watertight and smooth lining to the 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) diameter tunnel.

The first public passenger trip was made on 3 February 2009 by 150 people on a 3 km (2 mi) test track at the depot. The first part of the system, between Sandton and OR Tambo Airport, opened to the public on 8 June 2010, in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The route from Rosebank to Pretoria and Hatfield commenced operations on 2 August 2011, while the remaining section from Rosebank south to Johannesburg Park Station will open later.



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