Pienaarspoort – After 50 years of travelling in old trains, the community of Mamelodi will be among the first recipients to receive the first batch of new state-of-the-art trains from Brazil.
This was announced by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters during a Commuter Imbizo Programme held at Pienaarspoort Sport Ground, in Mamelodi East, on Sunday.
“Currently the trains are being tested in preparation for deployment on 1 October 2016. The new trains will ensure safe environment of our passengers with features such as cameras, aircons and heaters, closed gangways, windows that cannot open and electronic doors that are closed before train departure,” the Minister told local commuters.
The new trains will reduce the travel times to 26 minutes from Mamelodi to Pretoria as compared to a current 47 minutes travel time.
The Imbizo Programme follows the Minister’s visit to the Pienaarspoort Train Station two weeks ago, where she engaged with rail commuters on their day-to-day experience on Metro Rail.
During the visit, the Minister also assessed and monitored the conditions of the services rendered to the commuters, and agreed with the commuters that she will return to the area to discuss the Station Modernisation Programme and Fleet Renewal Programme in Tshwane rail corridor.
As part of its Modernisation Programme, PRASA has closed the line between Pretoria Station and Walker Station from 30 April 2016 till 15 September 2016.
This is to install new track slabs, to upgrade track formation of the rail lines, install a proper drainage system and to refurbish the overhead electricity lines and mast foundations.
The value of the contract is approximately R121 million. An additional ten more stations between Pretoria and Pienaarspoort will also be upgraded.
The Minister said that government is investing R51 billion in the New Rolling Stock Programme – and the renewal of rail infrastructure and stations is their main priority.
“We are making notable progress with the implementation of the Pienaasrspoort to Pretoria rail project. We started this particularly project with R345 million investment in order to promote rail infrastructure investment along the Pretoria-Pienaarspoort Corridor because it is a corridor, which carries a relatively high number of passengers of around 58 000 per weekday,” said Minister Peters.
Part of the work embarked on includes the construction of a new Green view station and doubling of the line between Greenview and Eerstefabrieke, as well as improvement of signalling system.
“Construction of the project is in progress. The doubling of lines with 4.5km including signalling work has already been completed back in 2014 and is operational. The construction of the station is already 95% complete.
“We are also upgrading both Mamelodi and Pienaarspoort stations existing station facilities such as the parking areas and pedestrian drop-off facilities. We are also lengthening the existing platform structure and the replacement of existing sub-standard pedestrian/bridges,” the Minister highlighted some of the progress.
Acting Group CEO of PRASA, Collins Letsoalo, said that the upgrading of the new train station at Pienaarspoort will include crossing level, pedestrian foot bridge, cross over bridge and fencing to prevent the number of incidents, where people get hit by trains and cable theft.
Lack of security at the station and late arrivals of trains were among the main concerns raised by the community during Imbizo.
Larry Tsokela said that the arrival of new trains will help the workers and learners to arrive at work and school on time.
“The trains are always late and there are no busses sent here to take us to work. We hope that with the new station and new trains, we will finally get services we deserved as commuters,” said Tsokela.