Sky the limit for monorail

Posted On Monday, 21 May 2007 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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New train system could be extended to other congested areas of Joburg and beyond

Infrastructure IndustryFourways traffic congestion may become a thing of the past if Gauteng bosses can persuade the builders of Soweto's new monorail to expand the service.

Soweto residents are excited that they will be getting a R12-billion monorail, on which they will be able to charge their cellphones and log on to the Internet while travelling.

Gauteng Development Agency head Keith Khoza says it is in discussions with the Malaysian consortium involved about erecting similar railways around northern Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

Khoza said the consortium, Newcyc Infra-Project Limited, may agree to expand the network if the Soweto line proves profitable.

"We have already discussed with the investor looking at areas in Ekhurhuleni, Tshwane and Fourways because these are huge challenges as there are large concentrations of commuters in those areas," he said.

Any future monorail plans would require consultation.

"We will speak with the communities in those areas to see how this project will benefit them. But I am sure that the investor will give an indication of how that will happen," he said.

By 2009, Joburg is set to join international cities like Sydney, Seattle and Tokyo that have monorail services.

The Soweto-Joburg rail plan took most by surprise at its Wednesday launch. The 44km service is to run from Protea South through Soweto and on to the Bree Street taxi rank in Joburg?s inner city.

The railway will have 39 stations, and stops will be made at popular destinations like Protea, White City, Soweto's shopping malls, the Mandela Museum, FNB Stadium and Gold Reef City.

The service will run in both directions high above ground and will be able to transport 1.5 million commuters daily.

The monorail's cars will run on rubber wheels that will travel along narrow concrete beams supported by 6m- high pillars.

Jeyakumar Varathan, boss of transport consortium Newcyc, said the train system could carry up to 40,000 passengers an hour in the peak direction, with each car able to hold 107 commuters.

The full journey from Soweto to Joburg is expected to take 45 minutes at the off-peak speed of 40km/h. It will travel at 80km/h during peak periods.

Varathan said the monorail system was safe and there had not been an accident on one. Cars were impossible to derail, he claimed.

Other features of the project were "of a high standard" including lifts to trains, cellphone chargers and access to Internet services, Varathan said.

Tickets are expected to cost up to R10 for the full trip and less than that if passengers travel only a short section of the route.

Gauteng MEC for Finance and Economic Affairs Paul Mashatile said the railway would help ease Joburg's transport problems.

"We want to avoid long queues as people are waiting for up to 50 minutes for transport to take them home. But with this system, nobody will have to wait. The monorail is a system that will aid our efforts for a safe, efficient, comfortable and affordable system," he said.

Construction of the monorail will begin in September and promises to create up to 5,000 jobs.

 

Last modified on Saturday, 02 November 2013 13:50

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