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Friday, 29 June 2012

Gau train.

Yesterday I took a trip on the high speed Gau train, from Hatfield in Pretoria to Rosebank in Johannesburg.

Click to enlarge.

Train arriving in Hatfield station. There are "drivers" on the trains, but the whole system is fully automated so they are there just for psychological effect. Top speed of the train is 160km an hour, (99mph).

Interior of the train, security guards constantly patrol up and down the train, mainly to prevent littering.

Train on the opposite platform and more security guards looking tough. 

The Voortrekker Monument on Monument hill just outside of Pretoria, built between 1938 and 1947, to commemorate the Great Trek 1836 - 1838. Voorterekkers were the Afrikaans pioneers who left the Cape Colony to escape what they considered British oppression.

Rosebank station our destination, this station is underground. For about 30km the line runs underground as it was cheaper to tunnel than to expropriate property to build the line above ground. 

One of the things that struck me was the almost clinical cleanliness of the trains and the stations. In Africa dirt is the norm and public places like railway stations are always full of litter and worse. 

One of the stations along the way. Since 2010 the system has carried 5,8 million passengers. 

Below is a link that gives a detailed description and history of the building of the line.


Joyful said...
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Joyful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyful said...

Such beautiful and clean trains. I'm unaware of anything like that in Canada that goes between major cities. I looked up the distance between Pretoria and Jo'burg and I see it is 53 miles. We do have light rapid transit trains on different tracks, that are vastly different ages. The newest one out to the airport from the city is probably the nicest one and looks a bit like the one you were on. Some of the other trains on different routes are starting to show their age.

Sorry about the comment deletions. I was having trouble formulating my thoughts. Time to call it a night!

Jo said...

Wow Phil, didn't it remind you of the Underground in London? Grant didn't' want to use it and eventually had to, and enjoyed it very much. I am SO pleased that they've kept it clean. We've heard so many negative things about Gau Train and you've put those to rest for us! Have a lovely weekend and bring back MANY photos! Love Jo

Gorges Smythe said...

It's disgusting; in our country, they tear tracks up - not lay new ones!