South African joint venture (JV) Gibela has obtained a provisional acceptance certificate from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) for its first X’Trapolis Mega train.
The JV consists of Alstom (61%), Urumbano (30%) and New Africa Rail (9%).
Prasa will now commence a test service as required by the South African Rail Safety Regulator.
Gibela CEO Marc Granger says: “This is a major milestone for Gibela and our customer; the moment we have been preparing for since signing the contract in 2014.
“The train is the first of 600 to be delivered by Gibela to Prasa over the next ten years and represents years of work by designers, engineers, and project and logistics specialists, among others.”
The first phase of Prasa’s trial run is being undertaken with no passengers on board, and the train will run between Pienaarspoort Station, Mamelodi, and Rissik Street Station, Hatfield.
Running from 18 January to 28 February next year, the second phase of the trial will give passengers an opportunity to travel on the new train between Koedoespoort Station and Rissik Street Station.
In 2014, Gibela secured a contract from Prasa to manufacture and replace South Africa's outdated trains, in addition to delivering 600 passenger trains into the rail network.
The project also involves the construction of a manufacturing facility at Dunnottar, Ekurhuleni, 50km east of Johannesburg in South Africa, where 580 trains will be produced.
The facility is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
A total of 20 trains will initially be produced at Alstom’s Lapa plant in Brazil, 14 of which have so far been delivered.
Gibela hopes that a panel consisting of 200 local suppliers will manufacture equipment and components for the 580 locally produced trains from 2018 onwards.
Image: Gibela’s manufacturing facility in South Africa will produce 580 trains. Photo: courtesy of Gibela Rail Transport Consortium.