Gautrain to open soon
This was three to four months later than the forecast provided by the Gauteng government in July last year, when it said the last stretch of the 80 km route would be in operation by the end of 2011.
The Rosebank-Pretoria link of the R26.4-billion Gautrain project opened August 2. However, Park station remained off limits following the more-than-expected water ingress in the tunnel connecting Rosebank and Park stations. A bus service was instituted to carry Gautrain passengers from Rosebank to Park station.
Van der Merwe said that remedial work to the tunnel involved an iterative grouting process that required the Bombela consortium, which had won the contract to build and operate the Gautrain system, to inject grout into the tunnel floor a number of times.
This was expected to reduce the permeability of the rock mass and, thus, reduce the water which entered the tunnel drains. “It is difficult to calculate how many times you have to return to do this,” noted Van der Merwe. He issued the same warning in July last year.
At that time it was also noted that the tunnel repairs would happen at no cost to the province and, therefore, the tax payer. The absence of an essential part of the Gautrain route has played havoc with passenger trip predictions, with the train passenger trips currently numbering more than 30 000 a day.
The Gauteng government and the GMA, a provincial government agency, had been hopeful of 108 000 trips a day by the end of January.
The original date for the start of operations on Phase 2 of the Gautrain – Pretoria to Park station – was March 2011. The first phase of the rapid-rail link, between the OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton stations, opened ahead of schedule, in 2010.
Photo: Passenger, Gautrain
This Irma Venter article found on Engineering News on 13 Jan