Rail project remains controversial

Posted On Friday, 03 May 2002 10:01 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Shilowa says study is not about the link's existence, but its impact

Mbhazima ShilowaShilowa says study is not about the link's existence, but its impact

BIG international players have thrown their weight behind Gauteng's rapid rail link, but objections from home owners remains an issue that needs to be resolved.

There have been a number of objections from home owners along the proposed route, with some saying the project will affect property values, while others complain of the potential noise and pollution of the train.

Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa announced yesterday that two consortiums Bombela and Gauliwe would compete for the tender to design, finance, build and operate the rail link.

They are led by Bombardier and Alstom, two companies at the forefront of creating transport infrastructure internationally.

Both consortiums secured the services of a number of banks and funding organisations, empowerment companies, consulting engineers and other advisers.

Shilowa warned that the environmental impact study that was being undertaken was not about whether or not the project would succeed, but how to minimise any impact on the environment on the chosen route. The study was due to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

The winning bidder will have to build 80km of new rail track between Johannesburg, Pretoria and Johannesburg International Airport, and up to eight new railway stations. Significant portions of the line will be underground.

The line will be operated by the winning consortium for about 25 years, after which ownership will revert to the state. Travelling at speeds of 160km/h or higher, it will take about 35 minutes to traverse the 57km between Pretoria and Johannesburg, at an estimated cost of R20, and 15 minutes between Sandton and Johannesburg International Airport.

The Gauteng transport department says the link will mainly be aimed at commercially active people who need to travel between Johannesburg, Pretoria and the airport.

It said motorists would be the primary focus because of their large numbers and the importance of achieving a move away from private transport to relieve the increasing congestion on roads, such as the Ben Schoeman freeway.

It said the link would contribute to the creation of a more efficient, reliable and safe public transport system.

The Gauliwe consortium is led by Alstom, a global specialist in energy and transport infrastructure. Alstom serves the transport market through its activities in rail and marine.

The company is listed on the Paris, London and New York stock exchanges. Alstom has annual sales in excess of à 22bn and employs 120000 people in more than 70 countries.

The consortium also includes Dragados Concesiones, a division of Spanish Dragados Group, which employs 51000 people.

Dragados Group is ranked first in the world in transport infrastructure concessions, an activity that it develops in all the stages from contracting to financial arrangements, and managing the concessions.

The consortium also has the backing of Siemens one of the major international suppliers of the rail industry and SNCFI a subsidiary of French national railway company SNCF which spearheads the group's campaign for winning contracts abroad and forging strategic international alliances.

Grinaker-LTA, which has experience in the creation of infrastructures for the developing world, is also part of the Gauliwe consortium.

The Bombela consortium is equally impressive. It has three big international players namely Canadian-based rollingstock manufacturer Bombardier Transportation, French contractor Bouygues Travoux Publics and RATP International, which runs France's metro and commuter railways.

All three are considered to be significant global players.

Only last month, Bombardier Transportation received a C1,5bn order from the UKbased Govia to manufacture 460 Electrostar electric cars to be used in the south of England.

RATP International is an experienced operator of urban rail services, ferrying millions of people around cities and towns in France every day. Its metro system carried almost 1,2-billion people last year on 3500 trains, while the regional network saw more than 400-million people using the service last year.

Bouygues will no doubt have teamed up with its local subsidiary Basil Read. The holding company, Bouygues Group, bought into Basil Read in 1993, with the local company having recently completed construction of the N4 toll road linking Johannesburg with Maputo.

Concor Holdings and Murray & Roberts are also among the larger construction and civil engineering groups in SA.


Last modified on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 20:35

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