President Jacob Zuma launched new PRASA train

President Jacob Zuma launched the new Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) trains marking the beginning of of a 20-year modernisation programme of the trains in South Africa. “We are investing R51 billion on buying new trains and R4 billion on new hybrid locomotives. All in all, the investment programme towards the modernisation of passenger rail infrastructure and services totals R173 billion,” President Jacob Zuma said at the launch.

“The programme focuses on station and depot modernisation, upgrading of signalling and overhead lines, railway tracks and platform correction. It is a worthwhile investment on infrastructure that will improve the lives of our people and which will also last for many decades,” President Jacob Zuma said.

President Jacob Zuma went on to urge commuters not to damage the new trains dubbed “People’s Train”. “We have experienced shocking incidents in this country where people burn trains because they arrived late at the station and made them late for work. That is too drastic and is totally unacceptable,” President Jacob Zuma said.

“As we hand over such infrastructure, we appeal to our people to handle it with care. These are your trains. Look after them so that they can carry you for many years to come.” President Jacob Zuma added.

The modernisation is expected to include the upgrading of depots, upgrading of signalling and overhead lines, railway tracks and platform correction. As part of the programme, Prasa has already refurbished 291 Metrorail and 298 Shosholoza Meyl coaches, in addition, 27 stations have been upgraded nationally, said Zuma.

Twenty of the new Metrorail trains were built in Brazil and are fully operational, while a remainder of 580 trains will be built in Nigel on the East Rand, said Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi. Maswanganyi claimed that the manufacturing of the trains and upgrading infrastructure would create at least 8 000 jobs.

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