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Gautrain confirms it's planning a massive extension

The Gautrain plans to expand the service with 48 new coaches and more routes.

The Gautrain Management Agency has revealed plans to expand the service by 48 new coaches and adding 200km to its routes. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There's good news for Gauteng commuters as the Gautrain management agency is planning to extend rail routes by 200 kilometres.

The first link may be ready in about six years.

Forty-eight new train coaches are needed to keep up with growing passenger numbers and seven companies have already expressed interest in designing and manufacturing them.

While transport officials have always vowed to extend routes across the province, it was estimated that this could take about 30 years.

The Gautrain has transported more than 50 million passengers, and now there are plans to expand the service with 48 new coaches and more routes.

WATCH: Gautrain's 200km expansion on the cards

Gautrain's Jack van der Merwe says there are a number of challenges, mainly costs, but extending the rail route is on the cards for the near future.

"We are looking at going from the east of Pretoria, from Mamelodi, to the west of Johannesburg, to Soweto and then linking Lanseria and Cosmo, then Randburg into Sandton and then going from the airport down to Boksburg."

One of these links could take about six years to build.

The premier will announce the results of a feasibility study in two months' time and decide whether to give Gautrain the go ahead to extend routes by 200 kilometres.

LISTEN: Gautrain announces new routes, tender for new carriages