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The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has awarded the Bombardier Africa Alliance consortium a ZAR1.1bn ($122m) contract to carry out re-signalling of KwaZulu-Natal commuter lines in Durban.

Bombardier has a share of ZAR318m ($34m) in the contract and will be responsible for delivering signalling technology and overall project management.

Other members of the Bombardier-led consortium include ERB Technologies, Basil Read, Bakara Engineering, R&H Railway Consultants, SIMS and Tractionel.

Under the deal, Bombardier’s Interflo 200 rail control solution will be installed at 42 stations and on 120km of double-track, along with its EBI Lock 950 computer-based interlocking and EBI Screen 900 local central traffic control (CTC) systems.

The project will also see the replacement of all line-side equipment, as well as the installation of fibre-optic cabling and voice radio communications equipment.

Civil works include modifications to existing platform, track and overhead equipment, as well as the construction of new footbridges.

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By GlobalData

The re-signalling project is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and is expected to allow the railway network to carry around 700,000 passengers per day, with minimum headways reduced to 2.5 minutes.

Prasa general manager of signalling and telecommunications Sorin Baltac said the resignalling project in the KwaZulu-Natal region and the deployment of control systems at stations and the Rosborough Central Traffic Control Centre will increase the reliability of the signalling system and the fluidity of traffic.

"Bombardier has a share of ZAR318m ($34m) in the contract and will be responsible for delivering signalling technology and overall project management."

"The new signalling and telecommunication system will ensure the safety level, the frequency of the trains, and the traffic coordination required in a world-class rail commuter environment," Baltac said.

"The completion of this project will provide commuters from the Durban area a more reliable, safer and quicker journey," added Baltac.

The re-signalling project is part of Prasa’s aim to make its operations safer and more predictable ahead of the introduction of new rolling stock.

In December 2012, Prasa selected an Alstom-led consortium as the preferred bidder to supply 3,600 new passenger coaches worth ZAR51bn ($5.9bn) under the first phase of a ZAR123bn ($13.2bn) 20-year fleet renewal programme.

Alstom partnered with South African electrical engineering firm Actom to form the Gibela Rail Transportation consortium.

As part of the programme, the consortium will be required to build the electric multiple units (EMUs) over ten years, between 2015 and 2025, and maintain them up to 2033 along with spares supply.

Image: The installation of Bombardier’s Interflo 200 rail control system on Durban’s KwaZulu-Natal commuter lines will be completed in 2017.