Thelo DB and partners provide transaction advisor support to South Africa
DB Engineering & Consulting, represented by its South Africa-based joint venture, Thelo DB, will conduct a feasibility study and procurement for the concession to operate, maintain, improve and expand the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link System in South Africa.
Gautrain is a state-of-the-art rapid rail network in the province of Gauteng, South Africa. The rail connection comprises two links: a link between Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, which includes the city of Pretoria, and Johannesburg, and a link between OR Tambo International Airport and the Sandton area of Johannesburg. In addition to the three terminal stations of these two links, seven other stations are linked by approximately 80 km (approximately 50 miles) of rail along the route.
The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) currently oversees the implementation of, and compliance with, the Gautrain Concession Agreement (CA) together with the Bombela Concession Company (BCC). The current CA, which covers the development, operation, and maintenance of the system, is set to expire in March 2026 after a concession period of 19 years. The GMA and the Province of Gauteng would like the Gautrain to continue as a sustainable rapid rail service that is affordable and offers value to its customers.
The GMA issued a request for proposal (RFP) in 2021 to conduct a feasibility study and procurement for the public-private partnership (PPP) concession to operate, maintain, improve and expand the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link System after March 2026. DB Engineering & Consulting, represented by its South Africa-based joint venture, Thelo DB, submitted a formal proposal in partnership with the specialist advisory firm Pegasys Consulting. The transaction advisor (TA) contract was awarded in 2021.
The project will be delivered in two phases: phase 1 for a feasibility study and phase 2 for procurement for the project.
The feasibility study will evaluate vehicles to identify which ones best meet the GMA’s current needs (operation and maintenance beyond March 2026). It will also determine the best way to connect passengers, revenue, and service excellence while taking measures to increase infrastructure and rolling stock capacity. The aim is to reduce the Rapid Rail Link’s dependency on the patronage guarantee from the Provincial Government to ensure its sustainability even after March 2026. The TA will also prepare bid documents and assist with the procurement of a new concessionaire, including assisting the GMA with the handover process from the current concessionaire to the new concessionaire. In addition, it will advise the GMA on measures to improve the typical terms of the existing concession agreement to the benefit of the GMA and Gauteng Provincial Government.
With a maximum speed of 160 km per hour (nearly 100 miles per hour), the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link System is a significant achievement for railway development and mega-transportation programs of this nature on the African continent. Thelo DB is looking forward to working with the GMA and the other stakeholders on this initiative.
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