File: Untu members went on strike towards the end of July over wages. Gautrain has reportedly offered only a limited service since then.
JOHANNESBURG – The Gautrain could soon travel to Soweto, Mamelodi and the west of Johannesburg.
These are some of the places identified as part of the expansion of its network.
The Gautrain Management Agency is planning to extend the rail route by 150km.
The feasibility study into the possible extension of the Gauteng's network's been completed.
In the next few years, the Gautrain could pull into 19 additional stations.
The agency recently completed an integrated master plan for the province that looked at the affordability, value for money and risk transfer of expanding the rail network.
A forensic audit has found that R27bn was spent on the current Gautrain network, and that R47bn has been recovered in the past five years.
Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van de Merwe said: "If you do infrastructure planning you have to do long-time planning. You have to have 10-, 20-, 30-year plans. This is our planning, it is for central government to make the call if the funds should be allocated to the Gautrain."
If the feasibility study is approved by National Treasury, construction on the new lines could start in five years' time.
Forty-eight new train coaches are needed to keep up with growing passenger demand, and seven companies have already expressed interest in designing and manufacturing them.
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi said: "We have now assessed those bids that we’ve received. We’ll be able to make an announcement very shortly on the qualifying bids. We’ll assess the preferred bids and make an announcement. We are looking at the possibility of new rolling stock coming online within the next 18-24 months. Also the practical work around the full expansion of the train system."
It could take up to 30 years for the project to be completed.
More than 50-million passengers have used the Gautrain since it started operating.