Tag Archive | green paper on rail transport

Green Paper on rail transport published

sent to clients 12 October…..

National rail policy mapped out…..

metrorailA Green Paper on South Africa’s National Rail Policy has been published for comment naming the country’s challenges in rail transportation, recommending policy direction and containing broad proposals for the way forward to develop the current rail network.

Gazetted recently, the Green Paper represents work commenced in 2010 and says the document “Seeks to revitalise the local railway industry by means of strategic policy interventions”.   Not only is freight rail included in the proposals but long-distance rail passenger and localised commuter services.

Road dominates at a cost

Minister Peters said in a media statement at the time that railways in South Africa had operated for almost more than a century without a proper overarching policy framework to guide development.   “The railway line and its railway stations have played a pivotal role in the day-to-day lives of communities, especially those in the rural areas, but as far as freight is concerned, 89% of freight is still transported by road and the future of commuter rail conducted on an ad hoc basis”.

roadsThe emphasis of road transport is costing the country millions of rands annually in road maintenance, money that could have been well spent on developing freight rail, she said.

The process

Cabinet last month approved the release of the Green Paper for public consultation. When all is finished, a final White Paper on National Rail Policy will be released to guide and direct development of infrastructure and develop more modern commuter systems. A National Rail Act will be the final result of the White Paper.

These interventions, according to Minister Peters, will reposition both passenger and freight rail for inherent competitiveness by “exploiting rail’s genetic technologies to increase axle load, speed, and train length.“

Lining things up

railway lineWider-gauge technologies are on the cards.   The government has said it is converting 20 000km of track to standard gauge from the narrower Cape gauge. This would bring the network in line with an African Union resolution on the subject and at the same time would boost capacity of goods carried, with longer trains and a reduction in transportation costs.

With both passenger and freight rail falling within its scope, part of the envisaged national transport policy includes involvement by the department of transport (DOT) in the local government sphere to create capabilities to move more passengers by rail with infrastructure, more rail line and technical assistance.

Creating local commuter rail

Secondly, once the localised capacity is in place, DOT says it will be able to appropriate subsidies for urban commuter rail, the management of the mini-systems then being devolved to municipalities themselves.

The Green Paper talks of investment and funding, private sector participation, inter-connection with the sub-Continent, skills planning, investment strategies and the start of a regulatory system.     Part of the master plan at operations level would include a branch line strategy with the private sector involved to improve connection between cities with towns and industrial areas.

Other articles in this category or as background

Transnet improves on road to rail switch – ParlyReportSA

South Africa remains without rail plan – ParlyReportSA

Minister comments on taxi and rail plans – ParlyReportSA

PRASA gets its rail commuter plan started – ParlyReport

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Rail is department’s main focus in year ahead

George Mahlalela, director general, department of transport (DOT), told the portfolio committee on transport recently during the department’s strategic plan for 2012/13 that plans included a Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) upgrade to expand what was described as “the seven priority commuter rail corridors.”

He said DOT would be establishing a Rail Economic Regulator in terms of a draft Rail Act now being drawn up once the stakeholders in South Africa’s new rail structures could be more clearly established.

A Green Paper formulating the future of rail transport was shortly to be made public.

This would involve the subject of where public participation could be injected into the new structures, Mahlalela said.    PRASA had recently announced a multi-million rand re-capitalisation programme to invest in new coach rolling stock, he noted.

On road transport, the DG noted that the finalised Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) would be “rolled out” and much in the way of traffic legislation would be made subject to review.

He acknowledged that much attention was needed on road maintenance generally throughout South Africa and attempts were being made to catch-up on the back-log.  He said “Ironing out the difficulties from the combining of road maintenance where disaster relief was directed” had been a problem.

On air freight services a new civil aviation strategy was be drawn up with amendments to legislation planned and a Green Paper on maritime transport was to appear by May 2012.

There were also plans to finalise the National Land Transport Amendment Act in 2012. He promised also that the Ports Act of 2005 would be looked at very shortly.

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