Gautrain management agency CEO Jack van der Merwe says the project team is considering the possibility of building additional stations near the South African Mint, in Centurion/Midrand; on Mears ground, near the proposed Gautrain main-tenance yard, in Midrand; and on AECI land, in Modderfontein.
“These are possible and logical future stations. We could also, one day, look at extending the railway eastwards of Pretoria.”
This would enable the residents of the affluent Pretoria East suburbs to also gain access to the Gautrain.
The 80-km rapid-rail link will see high-speed trains travel between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport. Plan-ning is for the first trains to run on a portion of the route by 2010.
Current stations include Hatfield, Pretoria, Centurion, Midrand, Marlboro, Sandton, Rosebank, Park station (in Johannesburg), Rhodesfield and OR Tambo Inter-national Airport.
Of the possible three new stations, the one most certain to break ground could be on AECI land, on the link between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton. This is due to a land dispute.
The rapid-rail link is to cross 14 km of land which belongs to chemicals giant AECI, but which has been declared in excess to its industrial needs.
While not against the project, the company did object to the fact that the railway line would dissect the land, which has been earmarked for development by its property arm.
However, an agreement, signed in December last year, will now see the province build 11 bridges across the railway line, thereby ensuring integration of what could have been two completely separate land parcels once the project was completed.
In return, AECI will not be compensated for the land on which the Gautrain railway line will be built.
“We are using, as a quid pro quo, the money we would have paid for expropriation of the land to construct these bridges,” says Van der Merwe.
AECI spokesperson Fulvia Putero explains that the company and the Gauteng province have also agreed that a station at Modderfontein will be desirable, “when justified in terms of passenger volumes and economic considerations at some time in the future”.