The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has made great strides in refurbishing rail infrastructure, with 31 out of 40 lines now in service. On Friday, 19 April 2024, the Minister of Transport, Hon. Sindisiwe  Chikunga visited the Nancefield train station to celebrate the reopening of the Nancefield to Johannesburg railway line. The Minister was  accompanied by the PRASA Board of Control and Management, including the group CEO, Mr. Hishaam Emeran.

As part of the celebration, the Minister took a train ride and interacted with the commuters from Nancefield, all the way to Park station in Johannesburg. She also toured Park Station and addressed the media regarding train services and the restoration of railway lines.

The event was part of commemorating 30 years of democracy, showcasing the progress achieved since 1994. In celebrating our nation’s three decades of democracy, the government is actively working to improve passenger rail services to be reliable, safe, modern, and affordable. As indicated by Hon. Chikunga, PRASA has already restored 31 out of 40 rail lines nationally and refurbished over 263 out of 463 vandalized stations. In Gauteng alone, PRASA has recovered 6 more lines targeted for restoration by 2023/24 financial year.

During her speech, the Minister happily shared that over 70 million passenger trips have been taken since the return of passenger rail services in the 2020/2021 financial year, a significant increase from the 7.4 million trips taken in the previous year. This ten-fold growth is something to be proud of. Additionally, the Minister mentioned that the Nancefield line alone is now providing over 1,000 passenger trips per day since its recovery.

The reopening of the Nancefield to Johannesburg railway line has brought about a significant impact on commuter rail services, allowing residents from areas such as Klipspruit, Mlamlakunzi, Sebokeng, and Orange Farm to conveniently travel to industrial parks in Braamfontein, Germiston, and other destinations by train.

The progress made in passenger rail has significantly influenced the social and economic welfare of the communities. By offering cost-effective and reliable transportation choices, we have supported disadvantaged populations, enhanced access to opportunities, and promoted greater social and economic integration.

In her conclusion, Hon. Chikunga emphasized that while we have made progress in improving our passenger rail system and public transport over the past 30 years of democracy, there is still more work to be done. She reaffirmed the government’s commitment to improving the quality, accessibility, and sustainability of public transportation to ensure that no South African is left behind.