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.

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