Plans for the addition of the Gautrain Modderfontein station on the line between Sandton and the OR Tambo International Airport are progressing.

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Dr Ismail Vadi announced at a press briefing during May that “negotiations with Heartland are at an advanced stage.” From the outset of the Gautrain project, provision was made to include a station in Modderfontein; platforms have already been built to accommodate this. Heartland, which manages AECI’s property portfolio, will continue discussions with the relevant provincial departments, the Gautrain Management Agency and the Bombela Concession Company to progress plans for the station.

Herman Joubert of Tech IQ Consulting Engineers has been involved with the Gautrain project since its inception. He explains that there is a long history of co-operation between the Gautrain project and Heartland and that, when the initial planning was being done, it was decided that the train route between Marlboro and Rhodesfield stations would pass through its current location in Modderfontein rather than through other possible locations. This decision was made on the basis that a station in Modderfontein would serve the area well in light of future development plans that include a strong mixed use node with the station at its core. The existing route was carefully planned in consultation with all parties to ensure that land development could take place in the most appropriate manner.

From an operational point of view, it was agreed at the outset that this station would be constructed once it became justified in terms of passenger demand. Platforms were constructed during the initial Gautrain line installation so as to avoid disruptions to the operation of the Gautrain during construction of the future Modderfontein station.

A substantial amount of planning for implementation still has to be done in terms of ensuring that the correct legal and contractual requirements are in place and that all operational requirements are fully accommodated from a technical point of view. An ideal time frame at present would be to have the station operational in approximately three years’ time, which means construction would need to commence within the next 18 months. However, this will depend on the timing and outcome of the preliminary consultation and negotiation processes.