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The end is in sight for the Gautrain; the finishing touches are being completed and testing and commissioning is being undertaken on the line.
AS deadline day for the Gautrain looms ever closer, work carries on relentlessly to ensure everything is as it should be. Expected to be up and running by July, the finishing touches are now being implemented from Park Station to Pretoria.

 

The parkade at Park Station is nearing completionThe parkade at Park Station is nearing completionWork now comprises mainly testing and commissioning, and trial running. Testing and commissioning involves assessing all systems to guarantee that they all meet the necessary performance standards. Trial running takes place after the systems are found to be working properly.
 

“Under the control of the operator, trial running between Rosebank and Pretoria stations commenced on 8 March and is ongoing,” said Gautrain spokesperson, Barbara Jensen, in an update. “Trial running along the final links to Park Station and Hatfield will follow and is planned to commence in the next few weeks.”

It entails carrying out various drills and exercises, as well as familiarising staff with operating conditions and running the full system to the timetable.

Park Station
At Park Station, testing and commissioning works are almost complete. Finishing touches are being put on the parkade and ventilation shaft. “All structural and building works for the station and parkade are complete, including the cut and cover tunnel linking the station to the tunnel portal, where backfilling is well advanced,” Jensen said.

Backfilling involves refilling an excavated hole with material which was dug out of it.

 

Putiing final touches to the tunnelPutting final touches to the tunnelMotorists are also benefitting from the progress of construction as roads all over the city are being reopened. “The reinstatement of Wolmarans and Smit streets is complete and both of these roads are open to traffic.”
 

Eloff and Joubert streets are yet to be opened to traffic, but will be once external works on the station are further progressed.

Trial running activities began at Rosebank Station in March. “Remaining internal works include completion of de-snagging and completion of the two additional station entrances that are located on the western side of Oxford Road,” she said.

De-snagging refers to checking that any defects which have been identified are resolved.

Between the depot and Midrand Station, all work is complete, including railway installations and testing and commissioning work. “Trial running along this section of the route commenced on 8 March and is ongoing.”

Trains run regularly between the Midrand and Centurion and Pretoria stations as part of the procedure.

Centurion Station
The Centurion Station is fast approaching completion. All three of the viaducts have been completed, and finishing touches are all that are required for the internal and external works.

Between Centurion and Pretoria, construction is carrying on at a cracking pace. “Remaining works include completion of drainage channels and maintenance roads, trimming of embankments, topsoiling and landscaping.”

 

The Gautrain during a test runThe Gautrain during a test runThe satellite bus depot in Pretoria is also almost finished; it is the base from which the fleet of feeder and distribution buses to serve the three Tshwane stations will operate. It is to be handed over to the Bombela Bus Operator in the next few weeks, whereafter trial running of the buses will take place.
 

Hatfield Station still requires de-snagging, as well as the finalisation of mechanical and electrical testing and commissioning work.

Road works in the city are also reaching the end of the line. “Construction of the new Grosvenor Street bridge is complete and works on the bridge approach roads and surrounding municipal road upgrades are in their final stages. This bridge, however, will only be opened to public traffic when station operations commence,” she said.

Gautrain
Construction on the Gautrain started in 2006, and was arranged to be completed in two phases. The first phase was planned to take 45 months but was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, on 8 June 2010.

It is made up of the airport and commuter links. The airport link joins Sandton with OR Tambo International Airport, and the commuter facility connects the Sandton station with Rhodesfield, with a stop at the Marlboro base.

The second phase, which is due to be complete in July, includes the remainder of the rail network and stations linking Sandton to Park Station and the route from Midrand to Hatfield.

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