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Old April 21st, 2011, 05:30 PM   #1
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SOUTH AFRICA | High Speed Rail


on March 15, 2011
in South Africa

Bantu Holomisa from the United Democratic Movement (UDM) was reported recently saying:

”Recent statements by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Sbu Ndebele, about his department’s plan to spend billions of Rand on luxurious speed trains and related projects for rail routes linking Johannesburg to Cape Town, Johannesburg to Durban and Johannesburg to Messina, leaves the UDM perturbed by the government’s lack of prioritisation. We are particularly troubled by the reports that, as usual, there are certain politically connected companies and individuals who stand to benefit from these projects….”

The minister responded: “As the Department of Transport, our mandate is to provide, safe, efficient, reliable and affordable public transport.

We wish to categorically state that, except for the Gautrain, to date not a cent has been spent on the roll-out of any high-speed rail project in South Africa. We have stated this on several occasions, including a recent press statement on 22 February 2011, where it is clearly mentioned that Cabinet is yet to approve a comprehensive rail upgrade programme for the country. Cabinet approval will then kick-start a process including a feasibility study on the viability of high-speed rail.

”As far back as 2005, through the National Transport Master Plan 2005-2050 (Natmap), the Department of Transport outlined several critical transport projects, including high-speed rail for Johannesburg to Durban, Johannesburg to Musina, and the Moloto Corridor between Tshwane and the former KwaNdebele 
in Mpumalanga.

”The Department of Transport intends to call for expressions of interest on high-speed rail in July 2011. In June 2011, we will also be hosting an 
investors’ conference to consolidate the interest in our transport infrastructure projects, including high-speed rail. All expressions of interest will be subject to an inclusive and transparent process. Taking 
this into consideration, there is no way that anyone could know, before we have even called for expressions of interest, that they will win the right 
to construct any rail project.

“As the first country in Africa likely to have such a project, we owe it to the people of this country and the continent that our proposed green field 
long-distance high-speed rail sets high procurement, transparency, technical and safety standards for the rest of Africa. We call on all to give the process an opportunity to guarantee its integrity and to safeguard the interests of government and the people of South Africa for whom these projects are intended.”

[ As pointed out before, the minister’s assurances would have more credibility if the facts supplied to him were correct. South Africa is not going to be the first country in Africa to have a high-speed railway, as Morocco is well advanced in building such a line. Gautrain’s 160km/h does not qualify as high-speed and in any event Morocco has had trains running that fast for some time. – editor


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Old April 22nd, 2011, 03:36 PM   #2
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SOUTH AFRICA | High Speed Rail

Thread on High Speed Rail projects in South Africa. All discussion on the Gautrain has been moved to SOUTH AFRICA | Railways thread.
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Old April 22nd, 2011, 08:30 PM   #3
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South Africa forum : National Transport Master Plan (Natmap) 2010-2050



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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:18 AM   #4
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High-speed rail prelim study completed, SA secures Japan commitment

21st January 2013
The development of a high-speed rail link between Johannesburg and Durban could potentially remove between 1.9-million tons and 3.6-million tons a year of freight volumes off South Africa’s roads, a prefeasibility study (PFS) has found.

Speaking at the second South Africa–Japan Railway conference, in Midrand, on Monday, Japan International Consultants for Transportation technology headquarters senior manager Yoshimasa Sakon said that, by 2050, the current Johannesburg–Durban rail system would carry freight volumes of 600 000 t/y.

However, with the development of a R160-billion high-speed rail route, based on Japan’s Shinkansen rail, the volume could reach between 2.5-million and 4.2-million tons a year.

The study, which was undertaken from August 2011 to February 2012, compared three routes from Johannesburg to Durban, including a railway running parallel to the current system, navigating through Newcastle.

The high-speed rail development could reduce travelling time for passengers to three hours, travelling at 300 km/h, from morning to late evening, while freight transport time could be reduced to five hours, at 160 km/h during the night.

Sakon also pointed out that a passenger high-speed rail system – with a 600- to 900-person capacity on an 8- to 12-car configuration – between the two cities could potentially carry 15 000 to 17 000 travellers a day by 2025, and between 33 000 and 38 000 a day by 2050.

This was compared with the current forecast of 600 000 train travellers, 2.2-million vehicles and 3.9-million air travellers expected to travel between Johannesburg and Durban each year by 2050.

Further, the PFS revealed that the project had the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to between 900 000 t/y and 1.8-million tons a year and nitrogen oxide emissions by between 3 000 t/y and 7 000 t/y by 2050.

The Tambo Springs inland port was revealed as the most cost-effective and environment-friendly location for a Johannesburg-based freight station, while Germiston station proved the most viable passenger station ahead of Johannesburg station and Marlboro station, said Sakon.

The study found that, should the proposed project advance, it would result in economic development, social upliftment, job creation, a reduction in road accidents and less stress on the country’s already strained roads.

The link was expected to partially open in 2020 with an initial Phase 1, 100 km “airport” access link between King Shaka International Airport and Pietermaritzburg. Phase 2 would see the development completing the 500 km link between Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg.

Sakon noted that a number of approvals were still required to move the project forward, including the Department of Transport’s (DoT's) authorisation to embark on a feasibility study.

DoT deputy director-general Dr Lanfranc Situma said the department was currently examining the study and would present it to Cabinet once it had determined the benefits the project could hold for South Africa.

The release of the PFS comes as a South African delegation to Japan last week secured commitment from the Asian country to invest in South Africa’s rail industry, while ensuring sufficient skills transfer.

Portfolio Committee on Transport chairperson Nozabelo Bhengu said on Monday that Japan’s advanced rail technology and expertise and South Africa’s ambitious modernisation programme provided an opportunity for the countries to collaborate and cooperate on development of South Africa’s outdated railway system.

However, she noted that South Africa would not buy or develop the required technology without assurance that it would help tackle the country’s social challenges, enable skills transfer, boost investment and ensure economic development, job creation and local beneficiation.

Bhengu said Japan’s Ministers “understood” South Africa’s requirements and agreed that, should Japan invest, it would work towards ensuring South Africa reaps sustainable benefits, particularly in terms of skills transfer.

The delegation, led by Bhengu and comprising chairpersons from the portfolio committees on Public Enterprises and Economic Development, on Sunday completed a week-long tour of Japan’s railway systems, while meeting with government and private rail companies to analyse the link between transport and economic benefits.


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