Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has received the first of 600 X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains ordered from Alstom at the Wolmerton depot in Johannesburg.

Having arrived from Alstom’s manufacturing site at Lapa in Brazil, the train will undergo dynamic testing for speeds up to 132kmph to focus on traction and braking performances up to crush load.

Other tests will address gauge checking, journey time and functional performances such as multiple unit operation, signalling, monitoring system, which enables remote monitoring of the train’s performance.

Prasa ordered 600 trains from Alstom’s joint venture Gibela in October 2013. The €4bn contract also includes setting up of a local manufacturing plant in Dunnottar (Ekurhuleni municipality) to produce 580 of the trains locally.

The first 20 trains will be manufactured at the Brazilian site of Alstom.

South Africa is replacing its ageing rolling stock in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban under a modernisation programme launched in 2010.

"The arrival of this first train in the country marks the beginning of a great adventure."

Alstom for Middle East and Africa senior vice-president Gian-Luca Erbacci said: "Alstom, through Gibela, is thrilled to participate in one of the biggest transport projects in South Africa.

"The arrival of this first train in the country marks the beginning of a great adventure.

"We are pleased to accompany Prasa in the railway development of South Africa and offer mobility solutions that will offer people from suburbs of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, and Pretoria a drastically improved passenger experience."

The second train is scheduled to be delivered in 2016, while all the 600 are expected to be completed by 2025.

X’Trapolis Mega is a new train from Alstom’s X’Trapolis suburban range, and is composed of six cars. It can accommodate up to 1,200 passengers.

Image: The first X’Trapolis Mega train arrived at Prasa’s Wolmerton depot in South Africa from Lapa facility in Brazil. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.