This week Tuesday (9th April) President Cyril Ramaphosa will unveil new trains at the Cape Town Station and observe the testing of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa’s) new vehicles before the fleet’s complete rollout.
According to IOL News, he will also be briefed on the Prasa’s efforts to improve commuter services and stimulate economic activity through its 20 year modernisation programme.
“The programme aims to revitalise the rail industry through the local manufacture of parts, maintenance, the establishment of training facilities, the achievement of 65 percent local content and training and skills development for Prasa employees and young people interested in the rail industry,” said the Presidency’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko.
The publication added that during the President’s Cape Town Station visit, the would view two new trains that had been manufactured locally and would be deployed on an upgraded infrastructure, as part of Prasa Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme. This would see the manufacturing of more than 7 000 new trains over a period of 20 years, or close to 30 a month.
“The government’s commitment to provide safe and sufficient passenger rail services that will benefit commuters and the economy is reflected in its investment of more that R170 billion to ensure that passenger rail services offer modern, safe and reliable trains for commuters. Faster trains that will increase the capacity of the network, improved overall safety of trains and reduced energy costs and improved, predictable and reliable services to passengers,” added Diko.
The United National Transports Union’s spokesperson, Sonja Carstens expressed that the news was exciting, but doubted that the trains would be deployed as they were currently operating in Pretoria as pilot projects.