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The Alstom-led Gibela joint-venture has inaugurated the largest and most advanced centre for train manufacturing in Dunnottar, South Africa – the first of its kind on the continent.
In front of more than 300 people, the facility was officially opened by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa.
This manufacturing plant will be responsible for the creation of a new, modern fleet of 580 six-car X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains, to be built over the next 10 years for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
The 53,000 square metre site in Dunnottar took 22 months and 2.5 million hours to complete. Its manufacturing workshops are designed in a modular format to enable lean manufacturing processes which will, at peak production, produce 62 trains per year. The first entirely locally produced South African train is expected to roll out of the factory at the end of 2018.
The world-class manufacturing facility and its equipment feature the latest innovations, allowing the advanced manufacturing processes necessary for the assembly of at least 10,000 parts and the linkage of 250 industrial activities. The plant also contains a bespoke training centre supporting the continued transfer of new rail-related skills to Gibela’s employees and suppliers. A 1.2km test track for the dynamic testing of the new trains and an office complex complete the modern train production hub.
“It’s an honour to have Mr. Ramaphosa officially open our plant. We are all immensely proud of what we’ve achieved and are committed to delivering trains to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa. These are trains that will, first and foremost, improve the lives of South Africans. This factory is a major boost to the rail industry in the country, as South Africa will now be able to produce state-of-the-art trains locally and will become the Alstom centre of excellence for railway in Africa. This will have a positive impact not only for South African commuters, but also for the country’s economy as a whole,” said Didier Pfleger, Alstom Senior Vice President for Middle East and Africa.
To meet its local content commitment of at least 65 per cent of contract value, Gibela has so far on-boarded 71 South African suppliers for materials, parts and services. More than 4,700 South African jobs are being supported by the company’s activities.
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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