Musina-Jhb train service back on track

Friday, February 23, 2018

After a five-year absence, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has reintroduced Main Line Passenger Services between Johannesburg and Musina, effective from Wednesday, 28 February.

The service was withdrawn in 2014 due to the rationalisation of train services. However, its return is due to popular demand from commuters. And what’s there not to love about a train ride? There is something special and soothing about long train journeys. The soft, rhythmic motion of the train, pacing steadily through the heart of scenic South Africa, makes the trip a true journey.

Rhudzani Maphaga (46), a small clothing business owner who frequently travels between Makhado and Johannesburg, told SAnews at the Johannesburg Park station on Friday that the introduction of the train is long overdue.

“You can never go wrong with a train. It is comfortable and amazingly cheap, especially for people like me who travel with big luggage. 

“This is going to save me money compared to using a bus… where I had to pay almost double for the luggage. Although the train takes longer, I will definitely be using it going forward.”

The journey from Johannesburg to Polokwane takes eight hours and to Musina, 10 hours.

However, the train caters and has a dining hall that provides meals and refreshments at an affordable price for the long journeys. The passengers can also look forward to showers and is Wi-Fi enabled.

All this can be experienced from as little as R100 for economy (sitter) class and R160 for tourist sleeper class.

The train stops at intermediate stations such as Germiston, Pretoria, Hammanskraal, Bela Bela, Mokgophong, Mokopane, Polokwane, Soekmekaar, Makhado and finally Musina.

Speaking at the introduction of the train service at Johannesburg Park Station, Acting PRASA Group CEO, Cromet Molepo, said they evaluated the request thoroughly and reached a decision to reinstate the service.

“This comes in light of supporting the PRASA corporate plan in transporting our customers at an affordable cost.”

Molepo said apart from passengers travelling between Gauteng and Limpopo, this train will be attractive to thousands of cross-border traders crossing the border at Musina coming from or going to Zimbabwe.

“This will increase inter-region travel and people-to-people contact, and inevitably contribute to inter-regional and inter-city tourism growth at a fraction of the price,” said Molepo, who called on the people to take good care of the trains and not vandalise them.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said the service will stimulate regional integration.

“This is the start of the reintroduction of all Main Line Passenger Services that were no longer active due to mainly financial [reasons]. We have taken a decision that we need to reopen Main Line Passenger Services because most of our passengers spend a lot of time and money on transport.”

The Minister urged other stakeholders like the bus and taxi industries not to see the re-introduction as a threat but as a means of integrating a public transport system, whose different modes complement one another.

The train’s schedule will be as follows:

  • 28/02/2018 / Wednesdays Johannesburg / 17:15 Polokwane / 01:15 (Thursdays)
  • 01/03/2018 / Thursdays Polokwane / 22:35 Johannesburg / 05:44 (Fridays)
  • 02/03/2018 / Fridays Johannesburg / 17:15 Musina / 08:45 (Saturdays)
  • 04/03/2018 / Sundays Musina / 15:25 Johannesburg / 05:44 (Mondays)
     

Customers can book their accommodation by phoning 011 773 6566 / 012 315 2090 / 015 299 6205 or visit their nearest station. - SAnews.gov.za

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