The Star Early Edition
Prasa programme to test its new trains to get on track
THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED test by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) of the new state-of-the-art train is creating a buzz as it is scheduled to kick off before the end of this month.
Prasa welcomed Test Train Number 1 (T1), in December last year for tests as it is aimed at replacing the old Metrorail fleet over the next 20 years at Prasa’s Wolmerton Depot in Pretoria.
It will be the first train built out of a planned 600 trains (3 600 vehicles) which will be configured as six cars per train set to transport 1 346 passengers each. As part of the implementation programme, the first 20 train sets will be built in Brazil. The remainder will be built at a new facility to be established in South Africa, forming part of a manufacturing hub in Ekurhuleni in line with the government’s industrialisation plan.
The delivery of T1 comes after Prasa and Gibela reached a financial agreement. This is part of Prasa’s broad modernisation programme.
In the 2013/14 financial year, Prasa started with the execution of its R172 billion investment in the acquisition of modern state-of-the-art pas- senger trains and the support infrastructure over a period of 10 years. This investment will replace the current Metrorail rolling stock and meet future rail demands.
Prasa board chairman Dr Popo Molefe said: “We are in the process of building modern rolling stock that will form the backbone of a world class metro service that is safe, reliable, and affordable. This investment by the government demonstrates its commitment towards develop- ing a high-quality transport system.”.
T1 has been specifically built as a test train where all key testing will be done. This means that it will not have any of the normal commuter train fittings such as chairs but will have all its electronic panels exposed.
Basic structural fittings will be marked for ease of reference during testing and all the data gathered from the tests will be used to validate the train safety, design and performance parameters .
The tests will start early this year. The T1 will undergo an intensive seven-month testing programme at the Wolmerton Depot.