The Plans For A Speed-Train Project For Durban Has The Support Of The Provincial Government As Discussions Confirmed Plans Of A Track Between King Shaka International Airport And Durban!
Talks between the China Railway International Group and the provincial government yesterday included discussions about the long-awaited high-speed train between Durban and Joburg. Construction on the speed-train between King Shaka International Airport and Durban is expected to begin by 2017.
In 2010, when the plan to build the rail route between the two cities was listed as one of 18 national strategic infrastructure projects by President Zuma, the project was expected to cost within the region of R530 billion and would half the average six-hour journey between Joburg and Durban to just three hours, travelling at 350km/h.
After “lengthy and comprehensive” discussions and co-operation between the the company and the provincial government officials say the memorandum of understanding will be signed off this month.
Desmond Golding, head of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and Environmental Affairs, handed over the memorandum to the China Railway International Railway Group at the Dube Tradeport on Tuesday.The rail group was taking the memorandum to China for perusal by its lawyers and the final agreement is expected to be signed off by the province’s leadership within two weeks.
“The monorail is our top priority. This project is entirely dependent on the provincial government. The high-speed train between Durban and Johannesburg is a national project which involves Transnet, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, the Free State, the Gauteng provincial government and, of course, KZN,” said Golding.
Funding Models For The Projects
Desmond went on to say, “We are looking at a mixed bag of funding sources which will include both the private and public sector.” As the project was first discussed in 2010, the feasibility studies have changed considerably. He said, new feasibility studies into land acquisition, environmental impact studies and other such costs will need to be evaluated on both projects. Golding was unable comment on any projected costs.
The railway between the airport and Durban will serve as the pilot for the major construction that will need to take place for the railway from Durban to Joburg. Gan Baixian, the board chairman of China Railway International Group, said, “We have a working team who are realistic now. We will work through the steps carefully with the provincial government.”
He also said that the company have had a team that worked on details of a proposed speed-train for years but as the project experienced “some setbacks” it has not proceeded.
The company’s previous work in China had resulted in over 10 000 direct jobs in construction.
*information sourced from www.iol.co.za