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PRASA New Rolling Stock Acquisition Programme, South Africa – update

Image of Gibela train

8th July 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
PRASA New Rolling Stock Acquisition Programme.

South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

Project Description
PRASA and Gibela signed the Manufacture and Supply Agreement and Technical Support and Spares Supply Agreement (which governs the maintenance of the new trains) in October 2013 as part of its New Rolling Stock Acquisition Programme. The Gibela consortium is led by Alstom Southern Africa, with the participation of local companies Ubumbano Rail and New Africa Rail.

The programme involves the acquisition of 7 224 new rail vehicles and will be rolled out in two ten-year phases.

The first ten years will involve the supply of 600 new trains comprising 3 600 coaches, with the remainder to be manufactured over another ten years.

The first 20 trains will be manufactured in Brazil, with the remainder to be manufactured in South Africa, where Gibela is building a 600 000 m2 plant in Dunnottar, 50 km from Johannesburg. The plant includes a 4 000 m2 training centre which, at peak production, will produce about 62 trains a year. 

Each train will comprise six cars capable of transporting more than 1 300 passengers. The trains will travel at speeds of up to 120 km/h and could be upgraded to travel 160 km/h.

PRASA modernisation programme
In support of the acquisition programme, PRASA has embarked on a major modernisation programme aimed at updating all rail infrastructure, in line with the new trains. 

The modernisation includes the design and construction of the Wolmerton and Braamfontein depots, in Gauteng, and three other depots in the rest of the country; station modernisation; a rolling stock refurbishment programme; and perway, bridges, infrastructure and signalling upgrades.

Potential Job Creation
The project will create 65 000 direct and indirect jobs.

The project has, to date, provided 200 bursaries in fields varying from engineering to accounting, as well as 65 learnerships in disciplines such as fitting and welding. The project also houses 270 apprentices.

Capital Expenditure
PRASA plans to invest R172-billion from 2013/14 to 2023. The manufacturing contracts are valued at R123.5-billion. The medium-term expenditure framework for the depot modernisation is estimated at R3.1-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
The programme will be undertaken over 20 years.

Latest Developments
Gibela unveiled the one-hundredth X’trapolis Mega commuter train it is building for PRASA on July 4.

Gibela, whose shareholders are Alstom, Ubumbano Rail and New Rail Africa, signed a R53-billion contract in 2013 to supply PRASA with 600 six-car trains for its Metrorail service. The trains are manufactured at Gibela’s Dunnotar facility, in Nigel, Ekurhuleni.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and,Consultants
Gibela, led by Alstom Southern Africa, with the participation of local companies Ubumbano Rail and New Africa Rail (600 X’Ttrapolis Mega trains). The local suppliers to Gibela include Siyahamba Engineering (cabin doors and interiors, including partition walls); Booyco Engineering (saloon heaters, driver footrests); ILVA  General Engineering (air tank reservoirs); KAMA Industries (horns); Profibre (passenger seats and longitudinal benches); KARE Industrial (battery boxes); First National Battery (batteries); Denel (baseboard ducts); Global Composite (luggage racks, equipped ceiling, cab and saloon air ducts); Delberg Engineering & Quality Systems (handbars and backrests); Radél (passenger and cab lighting, door-light and voltage indicators); Gibb (insulation); Crest Information Systems (door external fairing, extract air duct in cubicles); Laser Junction (brackets, cab foot steps); Laser Junction/General Profiling Matla Steel (coupler push backs); Laser Junction/SPE (tool boxes); Jandinox (equipment support); Buzas (obstacle deflectors); Columbus Stainless/Macsteel (stainless steel); ArcelorMittal South Africa/Macsteel (carbon steel); LED Lighting SA (external front/cab lighting); Aberdare Cables (cables and wires) and Forminox (piping).

Contact Details for Project Information
PRASA, tel +27 12 748 7000 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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