The National Rail Policy White Paper was officially made public this week, outlining the government’s plans to fix South Africa’s broken train network. One of the proposals, however, entertains the idea of bringing the Gautrain system to other parts of the country.
The ‘Regional Rapid Transit’ system weights up the practicalities of introducing high-speed rail networks, which dash from city-to-city. The policy wants to build a rail system that can run fast services, on routes that stretch for ‘a few hundred kilometres’.
Government advisors believe that the success of the Gautrain rollout can be replicated outside of the Gauteng province. In total, SEVEN regions have been punted for a high-speed rail network – three of which would rely on the existing infrastructure:
According to the White Paper, it is now imperative that ‘large cities and urban conurbation’ are connected by regional rapid transit hubs. The goal is to increase the options available to commuters, while slashing long and laborious journey times.
“The regional rapid transit rail sub-mode covers longer routes at higher speed in or near large city-regions or conurbations: Gautrain is the country’s first example. It enables people to enter conurbations from outlying areas as urbanisation expands.”
“Passenger train service speed should increase commensurately, with journey distance to maintain acceptably short journey times – so these journeys may even extend to a few hundred kilometers, outside of the Gautrain network.”
National Rail Policy Document
FULL SPEECH: National Rail Policy White Paper.
The Policy seeks to address the challenges faced by & position the rail sector as the backbone of South Africa’s national land transport. pic.twitter.com/5JbenUUgnU
— FIKILE MBALULA | MR FIX (@MbalulaFikile) May 9, 2022