Passengers wait for a train at the Rosebank Gautrain station. There are plans to procure new train sets and expand the service significantly. Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
There has been a delay in the procurement of new trains for the Gautrain as all three of the pre-qualifying bids failed.

Due to the fact that passenger figures on the Gautrain have already reached levels predicted for next year, operator Bombela put out a R3.2billion tender in 2016 for an additional 12 sets - 48 new coaches - and a new depot to house the new trains.

Currently there are 24 sets (96 coaches) running.

Gautrain Management Agency spokesperson Barbara Jensen said Bombela, acting in terms of the concession agreement with the Gauteng provincial government, started the procurement process for the additional trains and for the expansion of the Midrand depot.

Three bidders were pre-qualified: Bombardier Transport, CRRC E-Loco (Supply) and the Egoli Rail Consortium.

The procurement followed all regulatory processes and concluded with the submission of final proposals in October last year. The evaluation by teams of legal, technical, financial and economic development experts was completed last month.

“The outcome, however, was that no compliant bid was received and no preferred bidder will be appointed,” Jensen said.

The Bombela Concession Company and Gautrain Management Agency would examine alternative options for delivering the additional capacity for the Gautrain.

Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi confirmed last year that a feasibility study into the Gautrain expansion had been completed and submitted to the National Treasury.

He added that the expansion was not close to approval because the Treasury had asked them for a financial remodelling of the project.

The department, he said at the time, was in constant communication with the National Treasury and the national Department of Transport, and “hopefully, when we are done with this piece of work, we will be able to have a more meaningful discussion with Treasury at least to get the first leg of the approval, which was very critical”.

Vadi said that since the start of operations, the Gautrain had shown strong and consistent passenger growth.

“This has resulted in passenger overcrowding during peak periods, necessitating additional train sets,” he explained.

The first leg of the expansion would run from Sandton to Honeydew through Randburg, with another six extensions to be constructed over the next 25 years from Mamelodi to Naledi. The second leg would run from Honeydew through Cosmo City, Fourways and Blue Hills to Samrand.

The Gautrain currently covers 80km and will be extended to 150km within 20 years.