Gautrain Rapid Rail Link

  • Arup is certifying South Africa’s first rapid-rail link.
  • Currently the largest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • A critical part of preparations for the 2010 World Cup.

The Gautrain is the first high speed rail system in Africa. The rapid rail network comprises two links connecting Pretoria and Johannesburg to the OR Tambo International Airport. Arup has played a significant role over the last five years to make this rail system happen.

The state of the art rail link is a result of the biggest public-private partnership (PPP) in Africa. The Gauteng Province collaborated with local and international experts to devise a public transport solution that would address the limited transport infrastructure between the two major cities and the airport servicing these cities.

It was predicted that the link will reduce the traffic on the congested Johannesburg – Pretoria N1 highway by about 20%.

Arup’s first involvement on the Gautrain project came in 2004 from the late Michael Lewis (who co-founded the Johannesburg Arup practice), who initiated the highly successful option of putting the Gautrain underground to save destroying a large portion of Innisfree Park, the largest ‘green lung’ in Sandton.

In September 2006, Arup in South Africa was awarded the Independent Certifier (IC) role for the project.

Role of the Independent Certifier

The IC’s role ensures that there is transparency and fairness in the certification process for all payments for the design, construction and commissioning of the Gautrain.

Arup’s other responsibilities include: high-level monitoring of all construction and manufacturing of the rail components, sampling reviews of all designs, certifying the operating commencement dates for phases one and two, and issuing certificates of final completion for each phase.

Arup’s contribution

The IC issued the Operating Commencement Date Certificate for phase one of the Gautrain System on 8th June 2010, in time for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

The majority of the second phase was completed on 1st August 2011. It included the remainder of the rail network and all stations linking Rosebank Station in Johannesburg and Hatfield in Pretoria.

The entire system should be available and ready for certification in early 2012.

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Design Yearbook 2011 cover
  • A Gautrain Electrostar vehicle, with dusk sky behind. Credit Bombardier.Open gallery

    Arup's study for Gautrain considered sustainable routes and use of a tunnel to ensure the greenbelt areas were not disturbed.