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The first 13 X’Trapolis Mega electric multiple-units for Metrorail commuter routes entered revenue service on the Pretoria suburban network on May 9 after being unveiled by President Jacob Zuma.
‘This is the beginning of the revival of passenger rail after 40 years of underinvestment.’ said Zuma. ‘The handing over of this world class train today, the Peoples Train, indicates that the days of having an uncomfortable, unreliable, and unsafe rail service must become a thing of the past.’
The Gibela joint venture of Alstom (61%), Ubumbano Rail (30%) and New Africa Rail (9%) is supplying 600 six-car 1 067 mm gauge EMUs to Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa over 10 years under a R51bn contract signed in late 2013.
The EMUs will initially make 146 trips a day on the Koedoespoort – Rissik route in Pretoria. Later they are to enter service on the networks serving Cape Town and Durban.
The first 20 units are being built at Alstom’s Lapa factory in Brazil. Test running began in December, with trial passenger-carrying services from February. The remainder are to be built locally at a factory that Gibela is building in Dunnottar. This is due to be completed by the end of the year and is expected to produce 62 trainsets a year at peak production. An on-site training centre admitted its first intake of students last month.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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