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South Africa to fast track high speed line

South Africa’s Gautrain high speed rail line between Johannesberg and Pretoria could be fasttracked for the 2010 football World Cup, according to Bombela, the company building the project.

“Bombela’s client, the Gauteng Provincial Government, has expressed the desire that Phase 1 of the project be available for use during the World Cup,” said Bombela chief executive Ian Thoms.

“There is no contractual requirement to complete any part of the Gautrain project for the 2010 Soccer World Cup,” he said.

“Gauteng Provincial Government has indicated that it will decide on the feasibility of doing so around the middle of 2009.”

Ian Thoms, Bombela chief executive

The World Cup will begin on 11 June 2010, with the first section of Gautrain due to open more than two weeks later on 27 June, in time only for the knock-out stage of the final 16 teams.

Thoms said: “Gauteng Provincial Government has indicated that it will decide on the feasibility of doing so around the middle of 2009.”

Gautrain is intended to stimulate economic growth in Gauteng and Johnannesberg. The 77km of track will run across 10.5km of viaducts as well as through 15km of tunnel, in some very remote areas.

The full Gautrain high speed railway service is due to open by 27 March 2011.

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