French transport group Alstom has concluded a contract worth €4bn with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to supply 600 X’Ttrapolis Mega commuter trains, which will be operated on the 1.067m gauge in the country.

The contract was originally signed by both companies on 14 October 2013.

The scope of the contract also includes construction of a 600,000m² manufacturing facility in Dunnottar, which will house an engineering centre and training facility.

South African rail company Gibela will provide technical support and spare parts for the train sets, over the next 18 years.

Gibela is a joint venture that is being led by Alstom.

"The project is expected to create more than 1,500 direct jobs."

Of the 600 train sets, the first 20 will be developed at Alstom’s Lapa plant in Brazil and the remaining 580 trains will be produced at the proposed Dunnottar facility.

Alstom’s French sites including Ornans, Tarbes, Le Creusot, Reichshoffen, Villeurbanne and Saint-Ouen, as well as the sites in Sesto in Italy and Charleroi in Belgium will also be involved in the project.

The project is expected to create more than 1,500 direct jobs in the local factory and 33,000 indirect jobs during the decade, by achieving a local content level of more than 65%.

Alstom will also train 19,000 people during the project.

Metrorail, Autopax, Shosholoza Meyl and Intersite have been consolidated into PRASA, following the signing of the Legal Succession Act into law.

Image: Alstom’s X’Ttrapolis Mega commuter train. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.