South African new trains, to be used from 2015 onwards, will have Wi-fi, air conditioning, CCTV, route map, advertisement screens and facilities of access for people with disabilities, among others, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) revealed recently, announcing that the new trains will be manufactured by Gibela Rail Transportation.
Gibela Rail Transportation, a consortium led by French company Alstom, was selected after a rigorous and thorough evaluation process involving PRASA executive managers and transaction advisors from reputable firms throughout the world, the agency’s CEO Lucky Montana said.
Each Metro train and Metro Express train will have a 1215 and 1025 passenger-capacity (6-car), respectively, Montana said, describing the new trains as ‘modern’ ‘and ‘faster’.
While the agency is busy falling in love the prospective trains, the signalling system – a major cause of most accidents – is also being reshaped, with a total value of R17 billion (about 8 million USD) set aside for the national re-signalling programme, which is part of the agency’s modernisation and recapitalisation process.
The re-signalling project is one of the key programmes aligned with the acquisition of new rolling stock for the commuter system in South Africa, Montana stressed.
This is to ensure that trains can be operated on regular intervals with increased frequencies of up to three to five minutes in peak hours, he said, acknowledging that the current outdated and obsolete signalling system was having a major impact on service quality in the Metrorail system.
“The re-signalling programme is mainly aimed to increase operational safety of the system and lay the foundation for full automatisation of the signalling system in future, which will include Automatic Train Protection and semi-automatic train operations,” he explained.
The contract to modernise the signaling system in the Province of Gauteng has been awarded to Siemens and is worth a whopping R2.762 billion (about 345.2 million USD) over the next seven years.