R700 million spent on rehabilitation of vandalised Mabopane train line, says Mbalula

Mabopane-Pretoria line

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Pretoria – Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said government has spent more than R700 million in rehabilitating and upgrading the infrastructure on the Mabopane train corridor in Tshwane, from the R1.4 billion announced last year by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We took a decision in 2019 to close down the line and accelerate the simultaneous rollout of infrastructure upgrades. In recovering the vandalised Mabopane corridor, of the R1.4 billion allocated to the project, over R700 million has been spent to date towards this project,” said Mbalula, who took a train ride as part of the inspection on Wednesday morning.

He explained that R255 million had been spent on substation work, for 14 substations.

“The upgraded substations will now allow for more trains to be added on to the system. Copper content has been reduced to make Prasa assets less attractive to criminals. The newly installed traction transformers are more energy efficient,” said Mbalula.

At least 163 kilometres of overhead traction equipment (OHTE) had been completed at a cost of R383 million, while R38 million had been used on the Mabopane perimeter walling on signal equipment rooms.

“Currently, five stations are operational where repairs were done to bring the stations to basic functionality. A contractor has been appointed to erect high strength concrete walls around 31 critical buildings, at a cost of R50 million. Designs have been completed for the construction of a wall to protect the corridor. As part of the station upgrade programme, minor renovations were effected at five stations for basic functionality and these are currently operational,” he said.

The five stations are Mabopane, Pretoria North, Mountain View, Hercules and the main Pretoria station. Mbalula said contractors had also been appointed to rehabilitate an additional six stations and they will take occupation of the sites this week.

“Of the total cost of R100 million set aside for upgrades of 23 stations, R60 million has already been committed and construction work is due to start before the end of January 2022. Procurement and work on the remainder of the stations will be undertaken and finalised during the course of this calendar year,” he said.

The first batch of the new trains have been operational on the tracks since Monday.

“On the first day the service took off at a good start, although a number of teething problems were experienced. Twenty-six trains were scheduled to operate, but only 21 operated. Five of these were cancelled, with two cancellations in the morning peak, two cancellations off-peak and one cancellation in the afternoon peak,” said Mbalula.

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