The proposed expansion of the Gautrain rail system has the capacity to create around 211 000 direct jobs, says Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile.
Speaking at the i-Transport and UATP Conference and Exhibition, in Sandton, on Tuesday, he noted that the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) had completed the feasibility study for the expansion of the rail link to more parts of Gauteng, such as Soweto and Mamelodi.
The feasibility study showed that the project could potentially create an estimated R1.6-billion spend on skills, and enterprise and supplier development, noted Mashatile. Local spend on the expansion could reach up to R79-billion, of which 40%, or roughly R31-billion, would be to the benefit of black-owned enterprises, he added.
GMA CEO Jack van der Merwe told Engineering News Online that the GMA had applied for National Treasury approval for the proposed expansion project, as a public-private partnership, in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. National Treasury would judge the feasibility study on values such as affordability and value for money.
He added that the Gauteng government was expected to announce the preferred bidder on the supply of new, additional rolling stock for the Gautrain system by the middle of the year.
The GMA is an agency of the Gauteng government.
The Gauteng government in October shortlisted three bidders to supply twelve new trains of four coaches each to the Gautrain rail link, owing to passenger demand exceeding expectations, particularly during peak hours.
The rail system currently operates 96 coaches, with train configurations of either four or eight coaches, depending on time-of-day demand.
The Gautrain is operated by the Bombela Concession Company.
The three pre-qualified bidders for the new rolling stock project are Bombardier Transportation, CRRC E-Loco Supply and Egoli Rail Consortium.
In addition to the acquisition of more trains, the project includes the development of new depot facilities and the upgrading of the existing Gautrain signalling system.
The Bombardier Transportation bid consists of Bombardier Transportation South Africa as the supplier, with Strategic Partners Group (SPG) and Bombardier Transportation UK - shareholders in the group - to maintain the rolling stock.
Both Bombardier and SPG are shareholders in Bombela, the Gautrain operator.
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of Canadian firm Bombardier. It supplied the current Gautrain Electrostar rolling stock fleet.
Neither of the other two bidders split the rolling stock supply and maintenance portions.
The CRRC E-Loco Supply bid includes CSR Zelc (SA) and the Matsete Basadi group as shareholders.
The two companies have partnered previously to deliver electric locomotives to South African State-owned rail freight group Transnet.
CRRC E-Loco Supply is the South African subsidiary of China’s CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive.
The Egoli Rail Consortium consists of Alstom Southern Africa, EOH Intelligent Infrastructure and Ubumbano OpCo.
The Gibela consortium, which is supplying Metrorail with 600 new commuter trains from a factory under construction on the East Rand, is 61% held by Alstom Southern Africa and 30% by Ubumbano Rail.