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Friday Nov 23, 2012

Cape Town to get new rail shortcut

Blue Downs will be the focus of a major rail transport upgrade, which will affect about 50 000 commuters.

This would be a new rail link between the Nolungile station in Khayelitsha and Kuils River station. Brett Herron, the city's mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater, said it was expected this would transport about 50 000 commuters.

"This is in response to commuters urgent demands and would benefit about 50 000 commuters who are currently travelling in an undignified and inconvenient way," said Herron in a mayoral committee meeting this week.

It's one of the key areas in the city's priority areas and is also in the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's Strategic Rail Framework.

The other key railway lines will be Atlantis and Visantekraal.

One of the driving factors for the improvements include future land use plans.

Herron said this would be especially important for the expected future growth there.

For instance, there are big developments planned for the areas along the N7.

In Visantekraal, there are several land use proposals, which means the demand for trains will soon be higher.

Last month the city launched Transport for Cape Town. And this transport authority is now set to request that Prasa look at those three lines as its most pressing priorities.

A report from Transport for Cape Town discusses the passenger patterns for different parts of Cape Town.

During the morning peak, there are 34 000 trips between the Metro South East and parts of the Cape Flats towards the Bellville area. There are also high volumes of people travelling to the Epping Industria.

In most of these trips, people are using public transport to travel to work.

The report found that many people travelled by train towards the city centre and then transferred to the train line moving towards Bellville.

"The rail capacity from the Metro South East is heavily over-subscribed and result in the extremely unsafe practice of people travelling between coaches just to be able to access their places of work."

It states that the new Blue Downs link would have a "substantial impact "on the public transport service to "an estimated 50 000 commuters".

A new line would also cut down on travelling time and see more people using trains, said the report.

"The additional capacity provided will allow people who are now not prepared to board trains to reach opportunities as well."

The proposed design for Blue Downs is a two track 11.5km line between the Nolungile and Kuils River stations.

Cape Argus

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