Gautrain in hunt for R4bn to bulk up train numbers

JOHANNESBURG — In May this year, I had the opportunity of interviewing Gautrain CEO Jack van der Merwe. In that interview, he spoke of ambitious to extend the network by an extra 150km. Also in the pipeline, Gautrain has planned to increase its number of trains to deal with surging passenger demand. And they’re now on the hunt for capital to do just that. Hopefully, the next development will be approval for the Gautrain’s rail network expansion… – Gareth van Zyl

By Loni Prinsloo and Antony Sguazzin

(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s high-speed rail network is seeking 4 billion rand ($290 million) to increase its number of trains by 50 percent ahead of a potential expansion to other parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa Ltd. is leading the fundraising, a spokeswoman said in an emailed response to questions on Wednesday. Canada’s Bombardier Inc., CRRC Corp. of China and local firm Egoli Rail are among the bidders to supply the trains, she said. The government-owned Gautrain is also planning to build a second depot.

Gautrain Sandton Station, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gautrain Sandton Station, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo Credit: South African Tourism

The purchases will come ahead of a wider expansion that could see the Gautrain add a further 150 kilometers (93 miles) of track to its 80-kilometer network. The service, which was built ahead of the 2010 soccer world cup in South Africa, currently runs from Pretoria to central Johannesburg and would extend as far as Soweto in the southwest under the proposals, which the National Treasury is considering.

The Gautrain currently has 96 coaches and is run by the Bombela Concession Company, which won a maintenance and operation contract in 2006. It’s shareholders include Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd., a Johannesburg-listed engineering and construction company.