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NEWS Last modified on September 23, 2015

Rail station at Johannesburg's airport to be expanded

The expansion of the train station at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport is a step closer to reality following the appointment of Turner & Townsend to manage the project. 

The platforms at the Gautrain Station are to to be lengthened to accommodate four-carriage trains – doubling the current passenger capacity.

The year-long project, expected to be completed by mid-2016, is part of a medium-to-long-term strategy to attract more passengers to use the Gautrain system – an integrated rapid rail network linking the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria with the airport.

The project will include extending the station's existing roof canopy using pre-cast concerete slabs to add an extra 55 metres of platform.

In addition, the concrete parapet wall will be extended and two fire escape towers constructed.

One of South Africa’s biggest tower cranes, which can lift a maximum load of 32 tonnes, is being used for the construction.

The Bombela Concession Company, which is ultimately responsible for all major works on the Gautrain project, appointed Turner & Townsend, which has extensive worldwide experience in rail and other major transport programmes.

Noluthando Molao, associate director of Turner & Townsend, says: “One of the key challenges of the project is that the trains must be fully operational at all times to ensure there is no disruption to the Gautrain service.

“Coupled with this, the construction is being carried out at approximately 18 metres above ground level, with one of the airport’s access roads directly beneath the construction site.

“Noise and dust will be minimised with most of the work being completed off site while construction will only be undertaken during specific times as agreed.

“Not surprisingly, the contractor tender process had a technical requirement for a grading of nine, which is the highest level according to the Construction Industry Development Board.”

Turner & Townsend's work in the aviation sector includes playing key consultancy roles at Heathrow, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi airports.

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