|Tuesday, June 08, 2010|
REVENUE operation has begun on South Africa's Gautrain Rapid Rail Link just three days before the Soccer World Cup kicks off in Johannesburg. The first section of the network to open is the 17km line between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton in Johannesburg, which was officially inaugurated on June 5. The line has four stations with a journey time of 15 minutes between the airport and Sandton.
The remainder of the 80km standard-gauge network will be operational by mid-2011, with the opening of the 63km line from Johannesburg Park to Pretoria and Hatfield. The network is expected to carry around 100,000 passengers per day.
The Rand 25 billion ($US 3.4 billion) public-private partnership project is being delivered by the Bombela consortium, which is led by Bombardier, Bouygues, Murray & Roberts, Strategic Partners Group, and RATP Development. Bombela has 4.5-year concession to build the network and will maintain Gautrain for 15 years.
As well as providing a fast link between central Johannesburg and the city's main airport, Gautrain is intended to relieve chronic congestion on the Ben Schoeman highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The 40km journey between the two cities can currently take up to three hours by road.