PRASA’s investment is part of its overall strategic objective of positioning passenger rail as the backbone for public transport which is able to move large volumes of passengers, “The R373 million investment into the rail doubling project between Eerste Fabrieke and Greenview is but one in a long list of interventions and modernisation measures within passenger rail services. PRASA has invested approximately R1.9 billion for the introduction of new rail signaling with phase one of the project already underway In the Lenz-Midway line in Gauteng South. The new signaling upgrades and the introduction of a new technology will ensure operational efficiency, unlocking capacity and improving reliability. In both Greenview and Midway-Lenz we deal with higher than normal passenger numbers and have prioritised these and other high-volume corridors in line with passenger demand in order to deliver quality passenger rail services” said PRASA Group CEO Lucky Montana.
The Mamelodi – Pretoria CBD corridor is one of the more dense commuter corridors in Gauteng with 91 000 passengers making use of the corridor on a daily basis. Currently, Metrorail (PRASA’s commuter rail operator) only runs a single train in and out of the section between Eerste Fabrieke and Pienaarspoort (via Mamelodi Gardens). This limits Metrorail from planning additional train sets in peak periods to move the current 31 000 daily peak hour commuters on the corridor – which is still not enough to run an efficient service. This peak hour passenger flows on the corridor will increase to 60 000 commuters in future according to PRASA’s demand projections.
“With the finalisation of the rail doubling project and the introduction of bi-directional signaling, our rail operator will be able to almost double the number of daily trains on the corridor, necessitating increasing the combined capacity of these three key stations from handling approximately 39 000 people per day to 58 000 people per day in future“ said Montana.
Approximately 4.5 km of track doubling is currently underway between Eerste Fabrieke and Greenview with additional works which include:
Upgrading the Mamelodi Gardens Station to a concourse station including two island platforms instead of one as well as the extension of the platform by 50 meters;
A new station with two island platforms and four platform faces is being constructed in Greenview.
At Pienaarsport Station, the procurement of contractor for station building including platforms is underway.
The civil works of the contract for the rail doubling commenced on the 26th of July 2010 with an estimated end date of 30 November 2011. The current phase of the project has created a total of 268 jobs of which 181 jobs have been reserved for unskilled, semi-skilled and local community employees/sub-contractors. The next phases of the project will create a further 130 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs created by the project to 398. Once the new and expanded stations become operational, permanent jobs will also be created for station personnel to man, operate and maintain the stations.
The houses that were identified as originally built too close to the rail reserve were reallocated. The owners were approached with offers to purchase and were allowed to negotiate the terms of the purchase. The owners were given a preference to choose the houses and preferred locations with PRASA overseeing the relocation process. PRASA will assist with the registration of the new houses and where applicable, attorneys, conveyances will be handled by PRASA.
“We want to ensure that the upgrading of the stations does not interfere with the stability of the communities located close to our rail tracks but to treat them with the upmost dignity and respect during their relocation” added Montana.
Commenting on PRASA’s objective in undertaking the project at the Mamelodi Greenview rail corridor, Montana said “Our aim as PRASA is to improve the running time in corridor from a 30 minute waiting period to five (5) - to seven (7) minutes - effectively moving approximately 60 000 people to their areas of employment on time. However most importantly, it is to build and improve public transportation, in particular rail. This is the most effective and economically viable mode of public transport and the only mode of transport capable of transporting 2.4 million people per day”, said Mr. Montana.
Also in South Africa today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Johannesburg.
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