13 Firms Bid for Feasibility Study – on Proposed Commuter Train

Thirteen companies – mainly consulting engineering firms – have submitted bids to the national tender board to conduct the feasibility study on the proposed commuter train.

The study will look at the feasibility of new railway infrastructure for commuter rail services.

The firms were free to tender for any of the five tenders issued by the Ministry of Works and Transport, namely a feasibility study for railway infrastructure between Windhoek Central to Katutura and other Windhoek suburbs Windhoek-Okahandja Windhoek-Rehoboth Windhoek-Hosea Kutako International Airport and the rail rehabilitation and rolling stock need analysis.

Among the bidders are: Ubuntu Botho Investments, Praktika Afrika cc Perfect Plumbing and Renovations Price Waterhouse Coopers Seelinbinder Consulting Engineers cc Arte Project Engineers, Element Consulting Engineers Windhoek Consulting Engineers Lithon Project Consultants, Tulipamwe Consulting Engineers Black Diamond Investments Nobis Investments as well as Buumlrmeister and Partners.

The companies were made public on Tuesday during the tender opening process.

Only Arte Project Engineers, Perfect Plumbing and Renovations and Buumlrmeister and Partners opted not to bid to conduct the rail rehabilitation and rolling stock need analysis feasibility study.

The tender board is expected meet and award the five tenders next month.

The successful bidders will be required to determine the economic and financial viability of the project, environmental impact and preliminary engineering designs. They will also be expected to determine whether the existing railway infrastructure will accommodate high-speed trains travelling up to 120 kmh or whether there will be a need for new railway infrastructure for the proposed commuter trains.

The City of Windhoek’s Transport Master Plan and previous deliberations surrounding this project also need to be reviewed as part of the feasibility study.

It is furthermore expected from the consultant to do a research on the current passenger market, passenger movement and means of transportation between Windhoek and these respective destinations.

An environmental, social and economic impact assessment should be undertaken for the feasibility.

Government is pondering the introduction of a commuter train in and around Windhoek to ease congestion on the city roads, especially during peak hours, as well as to provide cheap transport services in the form of a commuter train to those living in the city and those commuting to their work places from Okahandja and Rehoboth.

“The increase in the population of the city has led to the increase in the number of vehicles on the streets resulting in severe traffic congestion on most streets leading into and out of town during peak hours.

The ministry wishes to alleviate or eliminate this problem by providing an alternative safe and efficient transport mode,” reads the terms of reference for the study.

The cost of the feasibility study is unknown at this time however, the ministry has indicated this will be determined according the tariff of consulting fees as prescribed by the Engineering Professional Act.

The consultant will be expected to review the City of Windhoek Transport Master Plans and previous discussions and suggestions regarding the commuter railway line and the proposed route for the commuter train service.

“The consultant will also investigate the possibility of a dual railway line on the whole, or some, sections as well as estimate the cost of constructing a new railway line between Windhoek central and all surrounding suburbs,” it was stated.

During the feasibility study, the ministry will also expect the consultant to find appropriate locations for stations and halts on the identified route as well as identify the best interchange locations for trains, buses and taxis.

According to the document: “The consultant shall also carry out research on the current travelling markets and passenger movement between Windhoek Central and surrounding suburbs.”

At this point, the ministry says it envisage the commuter train service to be provided by TransNamib coaches and locomotives, hence the consultant should recommend on the suitability of available locomotives and coaches that can be used on the route and aise on modern and extra locomotives or coaches required.

Other aspects which the consultants will be expected to attend to include financing, governance, ownership, operations and policy.

With the cost of taxis constantly increasing, most non-vehicle owners in the city have resorted to using the bus services offered by the City of Windhoek, which is slightly cheaper than the more conventional taxi services on offer, if introduced, the commuter train will be expected to provide cheap and safe mode of transport.

Source : New Era