South Africa to invest $17bn to upgrade rail infrastructure

6 November 2011 (Last Updated November 6th, 2011 18:30)

The South African Government has unveiled a plan to allocate R137bn ($17bn) to the Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA) to modernise rail infrastructure in the country.

The South African Government has unveiled a plan to allocate R137bn ($17bn) to the Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA) to modernise rail infrastructure in the country..

The fund will be used to buy new rolling stock, build new rail tracks, introduce modern rail technology and revive South Africa's rail engineering industry.

The country has increased its rolling stock investment from R97bn ($12.06bn) to R123.5bn ($15.3bn) to buy 7,224 new coaches over 20 years.

About R13.5bn ($1.67bn) will be invested in the installation of new signalling systems, as well as the contruction of new depots, modern stations and integrated ticketing systems between 2012 and 2015.

The country will invest R3bn ($373m) in new depots in Cape Town and Gauteng, and R1bn ($124m) in the set-up of a rail depot in Durban.

The initial portion of the investment will be announced in the February 2012 budget and will form part of the government's New Growth Path and Industrial Policy Action Plan for reforming the manufacturing sector.

The first new trains will run on the Kapteinsklip and Khayelitsha routes and will be lighter and more energy-efficient with traction throughout all coaches.

High-speed trains have been planned for intercity journeys.

The bill is expected to be approved in 2012 and contract negotiations are targeted for January 2013, while the first test train is planned for delivery in 2015.

PRASA chief executive Lucky Montana stated that all funding for the projects would be public.