Recently the Naledi and Johannesburg lines were opened by Prasa.
Excited commuters wasted no time and jumped on the opportunity considering the minimum price they have to pay.
The Naledi to Joburg corridor began as far back as May but in November final touches were put in place for the December launch.
The restored line uses the new blue trains known as ‘Isitimela Sabantu’ –peoples trains’ and will offer a limited service from 4am to 8pm as the signalling system has now been fully repaired.
Prasa’s regional programme manager Victor Stemer was quoted that despite the challenges in getting parts on time, the agency was on course to bring back services to the country’s biggest township in reference to the opening of the Pienaarspoort to Pretoria Central corridor in May.
The Pienaarspoort line cost Prasa about R300m to recover as most of the work was on electrical supply to the trains, which included overhead cables and substations.
Stemer said the biggest challenge for the restoration of corridors had been procurement.
“It has never happened before that we find ourselves at one point having to restore railway infrastructure at this magnitude. Throughout the time what we (Prasa and Transnet) have been doing is buying components for maintenance.
“Our suppliers maintained a certain production rate based on maintenance. Now, all of a sudden we require 20 times what they normally supplied. The market could not cope with the supply, which has now forced us to recover corridor by corridor to allow them time to recover,” Stemer said.
He added that they had ensured that more than 200 people benefited from the work in order to impart skills within communities along the corridor.
Prasa’s spokesperson, Andiswa Makanda said the agency had beefed up security at stations to ensure that there was no more vandalism.
Prasa is also urging communities near the stations “to be vigilant, and report suspicious activities”.
The ticket price is R8 a single trip from Naledi to Joburg.
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Image (Blue motion. The Naledi and Joburg corridor has been restored).