Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, officially Launch of the Leralla-Germiston line


29 August 2023


Today, marks another milestone in PRASA’s rebuilding programme as we officially launch the Leralla to Germiston line on the Eastern Corridor of Gauteng, in the Ekurhuleni Metro.  This service, which first ran commercially on the 6th of July, now carries 10 000 people daily.  At the moment, the train stops at six stations.  These are Leralla, Limindlela, Tembisa, Kempton Park, Rhodesfield and Germiston stations.


The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is making significant progress in rebuilding the passenger rail infrastructure and refurbishing vandalised stations. Today, PRASA has recovered 18 corridors, with 7 corridors now operational in Gauteng with the new Electrical Motor Units, Istimela Sabantu.


PRASA’s rebuilding programme not only focuses on rebuilding the passenger rail infrastructure, but also modernizing the rail service with the rollout of the new trains, known as Isitimela Sabantu, manufactured right here in this Municipality at the Gibela Manufacturing Plant, located in Springs.


An amount of R2,1 billion has been spent in recovering the rail infrastructure in Gauteng to date. In bringing back this particular service to the people of Ekurhuleni, PRASA has invested just under R600 million, in rebuilding and rehabilitating the 6 stations the train stops at, the overhead electrical cables that power the trains and the substations that feed power to the network.


The breakdown is as follows: R28 million rand was invested in refurbishing the stations; R292 million spent on the Overhead cables, and R276 million spent on the substations. R44 million was spent to rehabilitate and restore the Elandsfontein substation we are gathered at this morning. 

Work is in progress to extend the service from Germiston all the way to Johannesburg Park Station, with a total budget of R130 million allocated to this project.


The following stations are due for major refurbishments under PRASA’s National Station Improvement Programme: 

  • Tembisa - R10.7 million
  • Kempton Park - R9.5 million
  • Isando - R18.9 million


We are pleased to announce that trial runs are currently underway between Centurion and Kaalfontein.  This is an important line that will link Pretoria to Johannesburg. This essential network will ensure that we fully recover the corridor that connects Pretoria and Johannesburg, and ensure that people are able to once again utilise this service.


Our interventions to restore urban passenger rail services aim to ensure that the return of passenger rail to the city is sustainable. The plans are part of our wider strategy to improve passenger rail services across South Africa and make rail a safe, reliable, and affordable mode of transport.


Through PRASA’s Capital projects, we will ensure that PRASA continues to invest in local communities and boost local economies by creating job opportunities. We are pleased to announce that 191 jobs were created in this project, with 15 young women under the age of 35 employed, 3 women with disabilities and 21 women over the age of 35. 4 SMMEs from local communities benefited from this project. 


It is also prudent that the informal economy benefits from our railway stations and the access they provide to people. The Germiston station is one of our biggest intermodal facilities in Gauteng, with taxis and buses feeding into the station, thus supporting a vibrant informal economy where informal traders can ply their trade and sell their wares to passengers and people from surrounding areas. The micro-economic activities at the Germiston station clearly demonstrate the role of intermodal facilities in providing transport solutions, convenience, accessibility, and economic opportunities.


The increase of patronage numbers is vital to the sustainable livelihoods of informal traders and commuters at large who rely on this affordable mode of transport.  Plans are in place to regain patronage numbers, including the rebuilding of critical stations for commuters to access the trains. PRASA’s national resignaling programme will ensure that the organization increases the frequency of trains while ensuring the safe passage of our new modern trains and safety for our passengers.


We are also pleased to announce that since the implementation of PRASA’s integrated security plan, we have seen a reduction of security related incidences in the PRASA environment by 75%.


Recently, PRASA’s Protection Officers were declared Peace Officers under the Criminal Procedures Act, giving them more law enforcement powers, similar to the police, including powers to arrest. We would like to congratulate all the 286 PRASA Peace Officers who are now trained in Criminal Law and Law in General, amongst many other modules.


Additionally to the Peace Officer Status, PRASA’s Protection Officers are multiskilled in Armed Response, platform marshalling, CCTV monitoring, and many more. Their deployment areas include on board the trains, staging yards, rail infrastructure, supported by the SAPS Railway Police and Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department. 


We can proudly say that on this line, PRASA Protection Officers have a combination of in-house and external security, since the commencement of the rebuilding project. As a result, the service has not suffered any crime incidents against the rail assets.

In reducing crimes of theft and vandalism of essential infrastructure, PRASA has also reduced the use of copper cables at substations such as the Elandsfontein substation and installed anti-vandal clips on the tracks to make it difficult for criminals to strip tracks.


This financial year, we have prioritised16 corridors for recovery and 7 of these are in Gauteng.  These corridors are:

    • Leralla to Johannesburg
    • Pretoria to Kaalfontein
    • Hercules to Koedoespoort
    • Germiston to Kwesine
    • Germiston to Johannesburg
    • New Canada to Residentia
    • Johannesburg to Randfontein

The recovery of these corridors will ensure that more people have access to an alternative mode of transport that is cheap and efficient.


The number of covered corridors and those earmarked for recovery tell a story of our solid commitment in returning passenger rail to its rightful place as the backbone of public transport and the economy.


The latest Stats SA Land Transport Survey released on 21 August 2023, reveals that the demand for passenger rail services, albeit from a low base, increased by 215% year-on-year. PRASA has seen a gradual increase of passenger trips and passenger numbers since the recovery of the passenger rail network. The survey and the number of people coming back to use the trains demonstrate the critical role that passenger rail plays in moving people and the potential for rail to become the backbone of the country’s public transport system.  This report also shows that the need to recover the rest of corridors has never been more urgent.


We believe that we can build on these achievements and rebuild passenger confidence as we recover more corridors.


We are confident that we are well on track to achieve the target of recovering 16 corridors and deploy the new trains in more communities by the end of this financial year.


Committed to delivering high quality passenger service on sustainable bases


+27 12 748 7000