20 April 2012
New trains project aims to create 65000 jobs
The R124bn fleet renewal programme of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), the state-owned operator of commuter rail service Metrorail, is expected to create 65000 jobs as well asact as a catalyst to revive the local rail engineering industry.
"The most immediate goal is to buy trains that will make a difference to lives of the commutingpublic," Prasa CEO Lucky Montana told reporters at Prasa’sBraamfontein depot yesterday.
"We have other objectives as well; to make sure this is an opportunity to revitalises the railengineering industry and to make sure we have an industry that is able to design andmanufacture and export trains," Mr Montana said at the launch of Prasa’s procurement process.
The localisation target for the fleet acquisition programme has been set at 65%, the level set for state-owned freight and logistics company Transnet in its acquisition of 143 heavy-haul diesellocomotives from General Electric.
The localisation programme would require the rolling stock manufacturer to invest in productionand skills transfer in SA and to establish a manufacturing base here by at least 2016, said PietSebola, head of Prasa’s rolling stock acquisition.
Under the rolling stock renewal programme, Prasa will oversee the manufacture of 7224 Metrorailcoaches to meet passenger growth at a cost of R123,5bn over 20 years.
In addition to this investment in rolling stock, R14,5bn will be spent on upgrading infrastructuresuch as signal equipment and the construction of new depots that will be able to service themodern trains that are being bought.
Prasa has already begun a parallel investment programme worth R25,9bn over the next threeyears in stations that will service the highest-density commuter corridors.
This is apart from the 50 stations being upgraded under the National Station Improvement andUpgrade programme at a cost of R1bn.
Speaking at the same event, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said that over the next four monthsa process would begin to select a partner or partners "who will deliver modern technology in linewith out economic development objectives".
"Our rail system has reached the end of its design life. We need a revolution in our rail systemand our transport system," he said.
13 April 2012