Gautrain concessionaire Bombela has issued two tenders related to the procurement of between five and seven pre-owned trains from the UK, for use on the Gautrain system.
The first offers are expected to arrive at the end of February, says Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) CEO William Dachs.
The GMA manages the Gautrain system on behalf of its owner, the Gauteng provincial government.
The first tender involves the procurement of the trains, while the other is focused on the local refurbishment of the trains once they have arrived.
Dachs notes that the GMA and Bombela have been forced to look to the UK for second-hand trains, as it has proved uneconomical to produce the low volume of rolling stock required locally.
A procurement process for the local production of new trains for the Gautrain ended in 2019, with compliant bids received.
“We are looking for the most cost-efficient trains that can be deployed quickly to solve the congestion problem we are experiencing during peak periods on the Gautrain,” says Dachs.
“UK operators currently have a number of trains available as they are in the process of refleeting.”
The specifications of the Gautrain is also largely similar to those found on UK rail systems.
Also, the local refurbishment process is expected to be of higher value than the cost of procuring the trains and this will create opportunities for local businesses, adds Dachs.
Despite a stalling economy, the Gautrain is still experiencing congestion, he confirms.
“A full train will not encourage people to leave their cars behind for the Gautrain.
“We also believe the economy will pick up, and with the long lead times for projects such as these we need to be ahead of the curve.”
Dachs believes the acquisition of the new rolling stock will be sufficient to deal with passenger numbers through the end of the current concession in 2026, plus two years.
The GMA hopes to have the new trains operational by 2022 or 2023.
EDITED BY: CREAMER MEDIA REPORTER