The new Gautrain line
We need new rail technologies to meet the demands of the 21st century. The ability to efficiently move freight and people is vital to a modern, thriving economy. -Transport Minister, Sbu Ndebele
After months of anticipation, The Gautrain took its maiden trip from Pretoria to Johannesburg early this morning – much to the delight of thousands of commuters - including local media and celebrities.
Social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, seemed like the ideal place to spread the good news from 05:30 this morning, and it was all positive. The words ‘world-class’, ‘state-of-the-art’, and ‘super-slick’ were bandied about with abandon while quips about travelling at 160km/per hour without getting a speeding ticket seemed a favourite topic of conversation.
Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele was among the happy throng of commuters and told journalists that the Gautrain marks a new era in public transport. He said: 'We need new rail technologies to meet the demands of the 21st century. The ability to efficiently move freight and people is vital to a modern, thriving economy.’
The Gautrain – a state-of-the-art rapid rail network in Gauteng - will no doubt become the pride and joy of many Gauteng commuters who now have the opportunity to side-step the congested highways between the business hubs of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The rail connection consists of 2 major links – between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton and now, between Pretoria and Johannesburg.
In addition, there are now 7 operational Gautrain stations at Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro, Midrand, Centurion, Hatfield and Rhodesfield (Kempton Park). The final section between Rosebank and Johannesburg Park Station will be opened at a later stage.
Train services will now daily from 05:30 to 20:30 between Johannesburg and Pretoria and will run at 12-minute intervals during peak periods and 20-minute intervals during off-peak hours (during the week). The trains will run at 30-minute intervals on weekends.
For visitors to Gauteng, the Gautrain routes offer a wealth of possibility in terms of visiting the sites and attractions of both Pretoria and Johannesburg. The Gautrain project has taken over a decade to become a reality, but as many happy commuters will tell you, the wait has been worth it.
Full details of the routes, stations and timetables are available on the Gautrain website.