Bombardier celebrates the opening of the extended phase 1 operations for the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link in Johannesburg

Posted: 2 August 2011 | | No comments yet

First ever rapid rail system for Africa…

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Bombardier Transportation today celebrated the opening of the extended first phase of the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link in Johannesburg, South Africa. The network now reaches from Rosebank Station in Johannesburg to Hatfeild Station in Tshwane (formerly Pretoria), enabling the commencement of passenger services across the 74 km system. The new self-contained integrated rail system features a fleet of BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR intercity trains and the BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 250 train control technology to provide smooth and safe travel for passengers at speeds of up to 160 km per hour.

The complete 80 km Gautrain route links 10 stations to connect South Africa’s economic centre of Johannesburg to its national capital in Tshwane, and also extends out to the OR Tambo International Airport. The first part of phase one, the 20 km route between OR Tambo International Airport Station and Sandton Station, opened to passengers on June 8, 2010, in time to provide passenger services for the FIFA Soccer World Cup visitors. The remaining 6 km section between Rosebank and Park stations will be opened at a later date.

Jack van der Merwe, CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency, said: “It was, and still is a pleasure doing business with Bombardier. The gift they gave to South Africa is the best looking train in the world. They shared our vision with regards to the rolling stock and made it happen”.

Eran Gartner, President, Systems division at Bombardier Transportation, commented: “As the world’s leading supplier of complete transportation systems, we are very proud of the Gautrain project. This is one of the most visionary projects that we have ever been involved in and it has set a new benchmark for delivering complex transport systems while implementing innovative solutions that benefit local communities.”

“I would like to express my gratitude to the team of 2000 people, including our Bombardier staff and members from our Bombela consortium partners Bouygues, Murray & Roberts and Strategic Partners Group (SPG), who brought this world class railway to fruition,” he added. “We are proud to have significantly enhanced the railway building capacity in South Africa with and for South Africans. We look forward to reassembling our team to tackle Southern Africa’s rail transport modernisation challenges and that the new Gautrain system will inspire further upgrades to South Africa’s passenger rail network.”

Bombardier, as a member of the Bombela Concession Company, was awarded its contract by the Gauteng Provincial Government of South Africa in September 2006. Bombardier’s contract scope was to deliver an integrated rail system including a fleet of 96 ELECTROSTAR vehicles, the majority of which were assembled in South Africa, and the CITYFLO 250 train control system as well as the track work, power supply and distribution systems, communications systems, automatic fare collection, project management, systems engineering and integration, and testing and commissioning.

Bombardier will be involved in maintaining the system during the 15-year operating period. The company is working closely with Strategic Partners Group (SPG), its Black Economic Empowerment partners on this project.

As important as the Gautrain itself, the Social Economic Development (SED) programme required Bombardier to meet various obligations in terms of local employment and procurement for the duration of the contract. Bombardier achieved all of its obligations. The Bombardier project team comprised of around 80% South African employees, with the remaining 20% of international experts participating in intense skills transfer and capacity-building programmes. As an example of how this programme worked, Bombardier ‘s facility in Derby, United Kingdom, designed the ELECTROSTAR fleet of trains, however, 81 of 96 vehicles were supplied as “flat packs” for final assembly in South Africa, with only the first 15 vehicles fully assembled in Bombardier’s Derby manufacturing site.

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