Millions of rands are set to be spent by Metrorail in KwaZulu-Natal as the company prepares to transport sports fans set to visit the province during the 2010 soccer World Cup.

This emerged on Tuesday as the media were taken on an inspection of several stations that have been spruced up.

KZN Metrorail acting business development manager Danny Hattingh said the construction of a railway station at Moses Mabhida Stadium, which would be the company’s flagship, would begin in February and be completed in September 2009.

An amount of R140-million has been budgeted towards building of the new station.

“Getting to major sporting events in Durban should become easier with the building of the railway station near the stadium.

“After the World Cup, the station will serve commuters who are likely to take advantage of the station’s central position,” said Hattingh.

He said R130-million had been allocated for station upgrades.

Thembalihle, Greenwood Park, Briardene, Dalbridge, Congella, Montclair Lindokuhle and Umlazi stations have been given facelifts, which include the improvement of facilities such as toilets, benches and signage.

Refurbishment was also in progress at Berea, Umngeni, Umbilo, Redhill, Malvern and Merebank stations.

“Eighteen refurbished train sets are already in service and we are on target for 27 sets in 2010. The first phase of an integrated communications system costing R25-million will be installed at five stations, including Rossburgh and Duffs Road.

“These include passenger communications equipment and emergency panic buttons,” said Hattingh.

He said local soccer games were being used to test Metrorail’s readiness for 2010.

Police Superintendent Harris Jali said 136 police officers would serve at railway police stations, which would also act as satellite police stations.

“Personnel will be static and roaming. The strategic points would also serve the communities near the railway stations,” he said.

PUBLICATION: (The Mercury) (Page 5)
AUTHOR: Sinegugu Ndlovu
DATED: 26th November 2008