First Gautrain rail cars arrive in SA

5 December 2008

The first two of the Gautrain’s 96 Electrostar rail cars have arrived in South Africa, to be transported to the train depot in Midrand, Johannesburg.

The cars are being manufactured in Derby in England, and transported by ship to Durban, then loaded on to large trailers and transported by road to Gauteng province. Each car measures 21 metres in length and weighs 46 tons.

Fifteen of the rail cars, including all 10 airport rail cars, with luggage space and wider seats, are being manufactured and completed in Derby.

“Following a specialised construction and assembly process at the Bombardier Transportation manufacturing facility in Derby, United Kingdom, Gautrain’s first 15 Bombardier Electrostar rail cars are finally completing the long journey home,” a statement from the Gautrain office says.

Their journey from the Derby workshop involves being transported by road to Immingham harbour on the east coast of England, then by sea to Antwerp, and from there by sea to Durban.

Second shipment

The first shipment of two completed rail cars arrived in Durban on 1 December. The next shipment containing a further two completed rail cars is expected to arrive in Durban on 8 December. The road trip will take four days to reach Midrand, taking back roads where possible.

“In Midrand, each rail car will undergo extensive quality and safety testing, including 3 000 kilometres of test running in the standard four-car train set configuration on the Gautrain test track.”

The other 81 rail cars, designed for commuter services, are being flat packed into crates for assembly and completion by Union Carriage and Wagon partnership in Nigel on the East Rand.

“Motorists are advised to be on the look out for the abnormal load and exercise caution and patience at all times.”


In late October the tunnel between Sandton and Marlboro merged, a major milestone. The tunnel towards Park Station has now reached Parktown, after making its way under Oxford Road in Killarney.

The Gautrain will travel at speeds of 160 kilometres an hour between Johannesburg, Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport, with the route between the airport and Sandton to be ready in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Source: City of Johannesburg