The Gautrain is a 80 kilometre rapid transit system which is under construction in Gauteng Province in South Africa. The system which will link Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport in the province. The Gautrain is expected to cut the amount of cars on the N1 Ben Schoeman highway (between Johannesburg and Pretoria) by 20%. 100,000 daily passenger trips are expected on the Gautrain network when the project is completed. As the first ever rapid rail system for Africa and one of the biggest infrastructure projects in South Africa, the Gautrain will become a symbol of pride, prosperity and progress for Gauteng province, South Africa and the African continent.
Key Features of the Gautrain will be:
- Ten stations on an 80 kilometre route, between 5 and 8 kilometres apart.
- 24 separate four-car train sets which allow a more than adequate stand-by margin.
- The 2 forward rail cars on the airport service will comprise special airport cars with fewer but wider and more luxurious seats and special areas for baggage storage near the doors.
- To increase capacity after the initial period an increasing number of train sets will be operated as 8-car train sets, comprising two 4-car units coupled together.
- A maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour.
- Only 15 minutes between OR Tambo International Airport Station and Sandton Station.
- Only 42 minutes between Johannesburg Park Station and Hatfield in Tshwane
- Trains will run every 12 minutes during peak periods during the first 3 years, thereafter at 10 minute intervals during these peak periods.
- Quick 30 to 45 second stops at stations.
- Tight security on trains and stations through access control, electronic surveillance (over 650 CCTV cameras) and visible policing.
- Bus feeder and distributor services for passengers up to ten kilometres from stations. The bus and train schedules will be synchronised.
- Passengers can transfer easily between Gautrain and other forms of transport, such as the new Bus Rapid Transport services, planes, taxis, Metrorail trains and cars.
- Park-and-ride facilities with more than 10 000 parking bays at stations
- A smart card electronic ticketing system needing only one ticket for the train, bus and parking
In the Gautrain network, the Johannesburg Park Station, Rosebank and Sandton stations will be underground, the OR Tambo International, Centurion and Rhodesfield stations will be elevated and the Hatfield, Pretoria, Midrand and Marlboro stations will be at grade.
Construction on the Gautrain project started in September 2006. The project is being constructed simultaneously in 2 phases. The 1st phase involves the section between OR Tambo International Airport, Sandton and Midrand and the 2nd phase involves the section from Midrand to Centurion and Pretoria.
Recently the section between the OR Tambo International Airport and the Sandton Station was completed. This section of the Gautrain will start operating on the 8th of June 2010 (3 days before the 2010 FIFA World Cup starts). The Sandton, Marlboro, Rhodesfield and OR Tambo International Airport station will start operations. Buses to and from all these stations excluding the OR Tambo International station will also run. There will be 2 separate services between Sandton and the Airport. One will be a direct link between Sandton and the Airport, the other will be a normal commuter service where passengers can get on or off at Sandton, Marlboro or Rhodesfield stations. Airport fares will be more expensive than the commuter service.
This video was posted on the popular video-sharing website YouTube a while back:
For more information check out the Gautrain official website.