Rail service between Naledi and Johannesburg resumes operation

Thursday, December 15, 2022

With the recovery of train services on the Naledi to Johannesburg corridor, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has reached yet another critical milestone in its project to rehabilitate the passenger rail network and recover services.

“The completion of the rebuilding and resumption of service on the Naledi line accounts for the 13th corridor recovered this year. This means that not only have we achieved the target of rehabilitating 10 priority corridors in 2022, we have exceeded this target," Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Thursday in Johannesburg.

Addressing the launch of the Naledi line commuter rail service at Park Station, the Minister said before the unprecedented vandalism and destruction of the rail network, PRASA was operating 40 commuter rail corridors in the 2018/2019 period.

“Today, PRASA is operating 16 corridors. In 2015, PRASA was moving over 500 million passengers per annum. This number dropped to a little more than 200 million in 2019/2020, dropping further to 17 million in 2020/2021. The rehabilitation work, which also gives impetus to the modernisation programme, will undoubtedly reclaim the commuter rail market share,” Mbalula said.

The vandalism and destruction of the country’s rail network resulted in a major setback for PRASA’s modernisation programme.

“This means that we have to re-build in excess of one thousand kilometres (1,000km) of rail and signalling equipment and approximately 100 kilometres of track and over 400 stations. The devastation of the floods in KwaZulu-Natal further compounded the problem.

“In May 2022, PRASA rolled out the rebuilding programme in three of the earmarked priority corridors in Gauteng, which were closed to enable speedy rehabilitation. These are Pienaarspoort to Pretoria, Naledi to Johannesburg and Leralla to Elandsfontein.

“The line closures were essential to allow for the major reconstruction work of the traction substations, Overhead Traction Equipment (OHTE) and stations to continue uninterrupted and safely,” the Minister said.

He said the recovery of the Naledi line is a major achievement, considering the role of commuter rail in bridging the gap between dormitory townships and centres of economic activity.

“Commuter rail plays an important role in unwinding apartheid spatial planning that located the majority of our people away from their workplaces. The Naledi to Johannesburg corridor covers a distance of 70km, with 15 stations. We are pleased that the work of recovering overhead electrical wires stands at 95% completion rate at a cost of R 152 398 591.16,” the Minister said.

Substations are at 60% completion at a cost of R 181 976 138.05. A total of 354 local labourers were employed.

Rebuilding rail infrastructure

To date, the following corridors have been recovered in Gauteng:

  • Mabopane to Pretoria resumed services in January 2022.
  • Saulsville to Pretoria resumed services in March 2022.
  • Pienaarspoort to Pretoria resumed services in September 2022.
  • PRASA also recovered the De Wildt to Pretoria line on 24 October 2022.


“Since 2019, the Western Cape Central Line has not been functioning due to extensive vandalism and the Illegal occupation on the railway line and rail reserve. Efforts to rehabilitate and recover the central line got underway in 2021, with the first two phases having been recovered as planned,” the Minister said.

The following corridors have since been recovered in the Western Cape:

  • Cape Town to Simonstown resumed services in March 2022.
  • Cape Town to Retreat via Athlone resumed services in March 2022.
  • On the Central Line, we recovered the Cape Town to Langa via Pinelands and Langa to Bellville via Sarepta, with service resumption in July 2022.
  • Cape Town to Bellville via Goodwood.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Metrorail was running diesel services before the floods in April caused further devastation.

To date, the following corridors have since been recovered:

  • Durban to Tongaat resumed services in November 2022.
  • Durban to Umbongintwini resumed services in August 2022
  • Reunion to Kwamnyandu (Umlazi Corridor) resumed services in October 2022
  • Durban to Cato Ridge resumed services in November 2022.

To date, PRASA has completed 13 corridors in this financial year.

“This milestone is an important and positive step towards our commitment to rebuild the rail infrastructure and restore passenger rail as the backbone of public transport.

“Our focus now shifts towards the rehabilitation of the remaining corridors this financial year. These include Leralla to Johannesburg and Pretoria to Kaalfontein in Gauteng, and Phase 1C of the Central Line, which extends from Langa to Nyanga, in Cape Town, and the electrical infrastructure between Durban to Umlazi and KwaMashu to Durban,” the Minister said.


In preparation for the rollout of the new trains, major work is underway to enhance security at the depots where the trains will be kept.

The fencing of six depots: Braamfontein, Salt River, Paarden Eiland, Durban, Springfield and East London, with high-tech walling is well in progress to ensure the safety and protection of the new trains.

“PRASA is also in the process of walling some of the passenger rail corridors to prevent ease of access to the rail network and to protect the new trains from vandalism. The Central Line and the Mabopane corridors have been prioritised for the walling project, while work on the remaining priority corridors will commence soon,” the Minister said.

He commended the project team for its tireless dedication to the recovery and resumption of services on the Naledi line.

“I must also thank the local communities, community leaders and small businesses who played a major role in supporting the work of PRASA towards the resumption of services on this corridor,” the Minister said. –SAnews.gov.za