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Gauteng Rapid Rail Integrated Network extension project, South Africa – update

Image of the Gautrain trains

Photo by ©Creamer Media

5th April 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Gauteng Rapid Rail Integrated Network (GRRIN) extension project.

Gauteng, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRT), and the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA).

Project Description
The proposed extension of the Gauteng Rapid Rail Network will add 146 km of rail, as well as 19 new stations, to the existing Gautrain system that comprises an 80 km route and ten stations. Of the 19 additional stations, four are located in Tshwane, three in Ekurhuleni, and 12 in Johannesburg.

The implementation of these extensions is planned over 20 years and will be phased as follows:
Phase 1 includes about 32 km of additional rail infrastructure and starts at the proposed location of a new station at Little Falls, located to the east of Hendrik Potgieter road, in Willowbrook.

From the proposed Little Falls station, the route runs in a north easterly direction towards Zandspruit, where the route will pass to the west of Jackal Creek Golf Estate. The route then changes in a south easterly direction towards Cosmo City and a newly proposed Cosmo City station.

From the Cosmo City station, the route will continue in a south easterly direction towards the newly proposed Randburg station, passing through North Riding, Olivedale, Bryanston and Ferndale. The route will continue in a south easterly direction through Randburg, Bordeaux and Hurlingham.

Once it has reached Sandhurst, the route will change direction towards the existing Sandton station where an upgraded station is proposed. From Sandton, the route will run in a north easterly direction through Sandton, Sandown, Marlboro and Alexandra towards the existing Marlboro station, where the existing station will be upgraded to accommodate the new alignment.

Phase 1 was initiated in October 2018 and has followed all due processes in the Gauteng Transport Infrastructure Act (GTIA), including being gazetted in May 2022.

Phase 2: Little Falls to Jabulani in Soweto, through Roodepoort.
Phase 3: Samrand to Tshwane East, through Irene.
Phase 4: Rhodesfield to the East Rand Mall, and Cosmo City to Sunninghill, through Fourways.
Phase 5: East Rand Mall to Boksburg, Cosmo City to Lanseria through Cradle, and Tshwane East to Mamelodi, through Hazeldean.

Potential Job Creation
The proposed extension of the GRRIN has the capacity to create about 211 000 direct jobs over the development of all five phases.

Capital Expenditure
The total capital expenditure required to implement this project will be concluded as the respective phases of implementation attain the relevant Public–Private Partnership (PPP) Treasury Approvals as per the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA),1999.

Planned Start/End Date
The estimated start and end dates for the development of the proposed extensions cannot yet be determined, as they depend on the attainment of the respective Treasury Approvals that entail the following:

Treasury Approval 1 (TAI): Start of the procurement process.                             

Treasury Approval 2A (TAIIA): Issuance of procurement documents to the market to prequalify bidders and, thereafter, the issuance of request for proposals.

Treasury Approval 2B (TAIIB): Negotiations with the preferred bidder and financial closure.

Treasury Approval 3 (TAIII): Signing of the PPP agreement.

Latest Developments
GMA CEO Tshepo Kgobe has reported that much of the initial work for Phase 1 has been completed, with the GMA aiming to be “on the ground” within the next three to five years, but not before undertaking all statutory design and consultation processes with all affected stakeholders.

Work is also under way to enable the determination of the routes from Little Falls towards Roodepoort and Soweto, Cosmo City to Lanseria, as well as Cosmo City to Samrand through Fourways. The process to enable the publishing of the routes for these phases is slated for completion by December.

The demand modelling that has been undertaken by the GMA as part of developing the proposed extensions has demonstrated that the extension from Soweto into Sandton has the highest demand. This line will also function as the starting point for the agency to extend the rapid rail network further into the south as part of the broader Gauteng provincial government’s endeavours to achieve greater coverage of rapid rail in and around the province, and to connect workers to the province’s special economic zones, which lie outside the urban core.

The GMA also intends to improve ancillary parts of the system, including the introduction of smaller feeder buses, which are intended to bolster its collaboration with the minibus taxi industry. This collaboration has resulted in a partnership through which the latter operates the Gautrain’s Midibus feeder and distribution system.

The agency is also aiming to implement precinct security plans, which would entail additional security, through either the current concessionaire or collaboration with other government departments as part of addressing any general lack of safety in the vicinity of Gautrain stations.

New Concessionaire
The GMA signed the concession agreement with the current operator, the Bombela Consortium, in 2006. Bombela comprises the BCC, which designed, partly financed, and built the final design of the Gautrain system, and the Bombela Operating Company, which was contracted by the BCC to maintain and operate the service.

The Gautrain’s current concession agreement ends in March 2026, following a 19.5-year term.

Kgobe says the process to develop a new contract after 2026 started in 2022, with the appointment of a transaction adviser to assist the GMA with the prerequisite National Treasury approval processes. Last year, the GMA secured approval from the Gauteng executive council to begin the procurement of a new operator through the issuing of the advertisement for a request for proposals for the Gautrain system after 2026, for a 15-year term.

One of the changes includes moving from a construction-led partner to an operator-led one, as the system has already been built. The new contract aims to improve on aspects that did not work in the previous one, and to build on those that did; it has now gone out to market for feedback, with Kgobe describing the process as a “collaborative effort”.

Responses are expected by August 2024, and the GMA will consolidate the various issues raised by the market while trying to incorporate global best practice in the procurement process moving forward.

Most importantly, the operator will be tasked with operating and managing the current Gautrain system so that it continues to provide a safe and efficient public transport service.

Further, the GMA is looking for an operator to invest in the system through innovation and additional technologies to enhance security, customer experience and the system as a whole.

One envisioned technological innovation is the creation of an application (app) that offers a ‘digital mall’, with commuters using the app to book Gautrain tickets, in addition to accessing hotels and car rentals, as well as retail pickup and drop-off services, Kgobe adds. Work has started on this, but it will be functional only in 2026, when the new operator is in place.

The new operator will also be responsible for continuing the property development process. The GMA is establishing its own property development company that will partner with the private sector to allow for development at specific stations, starting with the Centurion station.

An example of such a development is under way, with the GMA – in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport – having installed new “smart” driver’s licence testing centres at the GMA offices, as well as the Gautrain Midrand and Centurion stations.

The agency is also aiming to establish retail services at stations to enable commuters to buy beverages and snacks, but eating on the train will remain prohibited.

Another considerable change in the new contract will be for the GMA to assume the revenue risk. This means that fares will be collected and managed by the operator, but transferred daily to the GMA.

Kgobe has also outlined an important criterion for the new operator as being its ability to further develop the GMA’s green energy strategy for the entire system, through which the agency endeavours to take many stations off-grid using renewable-energy sources that include harnessing solar photovoltaic energy at most of its parking lots.

He also outlines an important criterion for the new operator as its being able to develop a green energy strategy for the entire system, with the agency endeavouring to take many stations off-grid using renewable-energy sources.

It is also pursuing the replacement of covers with solar panels at most of its parking lots, with some of the power from this to be used to help generate green hydrogen energy for long-term use.

Some of the power generated will be used to help generate green hydrogen energy for long-term use.

The GMA is also exploring the potential to adapt its lighting system to be more energy efficient, in addition to having a longer-term passive building strategy by pursuing areas that are self-ventilated to reduce air- conditioning and heating.

“We are seeking somebody who can look at the system with fresh eyes,” Kgobe says, adding that socioeconomic development will play a key role in the appointment of a new operator, with consideration to be given to those who will offer the most commitments over the duration of the contract.

Key Contracts and Suppliers
The announcements regarding key contracts and suppliers that are required for the development and implementation of the proposed extensions project will be made as the project attains key procurement milestones.

Contact Details for Project
GMA, tel +2711 086 3500 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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