Thanks to accelerated work by contractor Bombardier, the 12.5-mile Phase One line of South Africa’s new Gautrain rail system will open for revenue service Tuesday, in time to help handle crowds pouring into Johannesburg for the beginning this week of the FIFA Soccer World Cup games, the first ever held on the African continent.
At a pre-opening official launch ceremony in Johannesburg Saturday, VIP guests traveled on a Bombardier Electrostar train between Marlboro Station and OR Tambo International Airport Station.
The opening of Phase One will have a fleet of five Electrostar trains ready to provide passenger services between the airport and the hotels, shopping, and commercial hub of Sandton, including the intermediate stations at Marlboro and Rhodesfield.
Upon completion of Phase Two, the Gautrain project will be a self-contained system with 50 miles of dual track and 10 stations, connecting South Africa’s economic center of Johannesburg to Pretoria, the nation’s capital, and to OR Tambo International Airport.
Bombardier, a member of the Bombela Concession Co., was awarded a contract by the Gauteng Provincial Government of South Africa in September 2006 to deliver an integrated rail system, including a fleet of 96 vehicles. Bombardier Transportation’s facility in Derby, U. K., supplied 81 of the 96 vehicles as “flat packs” for final assembly in South Africa, with only the first 15 vehicles fully assembled in Derby.
Bombardier is also supplying its CITYFLO 250 train contro ltechnology as well as the track work, power supply and distribution systems, communications systems, automatic fare collection, project management, systems engineering and integration, and testing and commissioning. Bombardier will be involved in maintaining the system during the 15-year operating period following construction.