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first_img4 June 2010For most Johannesburg residents, a trip from Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport in a cool 10 minutes would probably be difficult to imagine. Not once you’ve travelled on the Gautrain.A few privileged passengers got a whiff of what is expected when South Africa’s new rapid rail link starts operating on Monday, 8 June. They got to take a practice run on Wednesday and, for those who timed the trip, it beat their expectations, coming in five minutes earlier than the 15 minutes the trip was billed to take.Passengers boarded the train at the Marlboro station to the north of Alexandra then departed for Sandton station, where the testing started.The train silently moved forward, no surge or jolt, reaching a speed of 160km/h with ease. People on the road below the elevated track stopped to take pictures with their mobile phones. People inside the coach looked around in wonder.Safe, secure travelInside, the coach looks startling in blue and gold – the tall-backed seating is a rich royal blue, with a blue and gold spotted carpet, with two stripes running up, and the gold Gautrain logo emblazoned on it.Hundreds of CCTV security cameras on the train and at the stations ensure the safety of commuters is not taken lightly. There will also be a 24-hour security presence at all the stations, train and parking areas.Stations have wheelchair access, toilets, lifts, fare gates, ticket offices and ticket vending machines.Along the way, the train stopped at Marlboro and Rhondesfield before reaching its destination.Ready for World CupThe Gautrain is set to carry its first passengers from OR Tambo International Airport to the Sandton Station – situated 15 storeys underground – on Monday, three days before the World Cup kick-off.Barbara Jensen, spokeswoman for the Gauteng province on the Gautrain, said four stations – OR Tambo, Rhodesfield in Kempton Park, Marlboro and Sandton – would be fully operational by Saturday, when the inauguration takes place.Although Sandton will be fully operational, construction will still be in progress for the next few months on the second phase, from Sandton to Park station in central Johannesburg.The fare will range from R16, but trips from the airport to Sandton are expected to be about R100 to R120, one way. From Sandton there will be feeder buses to stadiums and other locations.The line between Pretoria and Johannesburg is expected to open in 2011.SAinfo reporter and BuaNewsWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img

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