At less than 20km, it has a long way to go to realise Cecil Rhodes’s dream of a Cape-to-Cairo railway, but at least it’s a start.
The R24bn (£2.15bn) Gautrain was launched in South Africa on Wednesday, just in time to carry World Cup football fans and to usher in a new dawn in the chequered history of African railways.
The Gautrain is the first high-speed urban train on the continent, capable of 100mph and hailed as an antidote to Johannesburg’s notorious traffic jams.
The first route links OR Tambo international airport to Sandton, the commercial hub of Johannesburg.
Like Britain’s Heathrow Express, it takes about 15 minutes and is far quicker than travelling by road, but it compares favourably in price at just R100 (£8.94).
The train had a sleek silver and gold exterior.