Plans for new high-speed train in South Africa at ‘very early stages’

Limpopo roads and community safety MEC, Namane Masemola, says he wants to introduce a high-speed train between Musina and Johannesburg.

Speaking to The Citizen, Masemola said that meetings between the department of transport, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and Transnet had been planned, with the intention to chart the way forward and arrive at a starting date for the project.

“By the end of this financial year there will be great progress because both the province and country and, indeed, the international community, is waiting for the project to be off the ground,” he said.

However, speaking to BusinessTech, the MEC’s spokesperson Joel Seabi said that plans for a new high-speed train were currently in the very early stages, and that no formal discussions had taken place.

“The new train forms part of the MEC and the Premier’s ‘political ambitions’, and at this stage there are no hard and fast plans.

“The plans were inspired by the president’s state of the nation address three weeks ago, and the possible introduction of a bullet train connecting cities,” he said.

Dreams of a smart city

In his June state of the nation address, Ramaphosa outlined his vision for a new state-of-the-art South African smart city.

“I dream of a South Africa where the first entirely new city built in the democratic era rises, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories,” the president said.

“This is a dream we can all share and participate in building. We have not built a new city in 25 years of democracy.”

The smart city, the president said, would be connected to other hubs by a bullet train.

“We should imagine a country where bullet trains pass through Johannesburg as they travel from here to Musina, and they stop in Buffalo City on their way from Ethekwini back here.”

Read: Ramaphosa dreams of skyscrapers and bullet trains – here’s what happened to the last R84 billion smart city

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Plans for new high-speed train in South Africa at ‘very early stages’