South Africa’s first high speed modern railway line will open three days before the World Cup, taking football fans from the O.R. Tambo International Airport to Sandton, Johannesburg’s new commercial hub.
Atkins provided detailed designs for 15km of underground tunnels, three underground stations, seven emergency shafts, designs for the permanent way and alignment for the entire route and a developing a revolutionary cooling system.
A low carbon ventilation system is being used to reduce the need for air conditioning in public spaces within the underground stations, reducing carbon emissions by 69%. Using ventilation fans, cool night time air is drawn through the tunnels and stations before being discharged through the station entrances and ventilation shafts at ground level.
Atkins re-designed Sandton Station from one large underground box to two smaller caverns which halved the amount of rock excavated and reduced the building programme by eight months.
Atkins has been involved with the project since 2005 working with the client, Bombela Civils joint venture, to complete this first phase. The second phase, opening in early 2011, provides an 80km rapid rail link between Pretoria and Johannesburg.
“This project showcases Atkins’ ability to successfully provide a full multidisciplinary service under a tight schedule,” said Atkins’ project director Steve Tasker.
Gautrain is the largest underground railway project currently underway in the southern hemisphere.