SOUTH AFRICA: The first X’Trapolis Mega electric multiple-unit started test running between Pienaarspoort and Rissik Street in Hatfield in Gauteng on December 1, following the receipt of a provisional acceptance certificate from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.
Test running without passengers is scheduled to run until January 16, after which passenger-carrying tests will last until February 28. The trainset is due to enter commercial service ‘shortly after’ this.
The Gibela joint venture of Alstom (61%) Ubumbano Rail (30%) and New Africa Rail (9%) is supplying 600 six-car EMUs over 10 years under a R51bn contract signed in late 2013. The EMUs will be used on PRASA’s 1 067 mm gauge Metrorail commuter networks in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.
An initial batch of 20 trains is being produced at Alstom’s Lapa factory in Brazil. Following the delivery of the first trainset in December 2015, 14 are now in South Africa. The remaining 580 EMUs are to be produced at a factory which Gibela is building in Dunnottar, 50 km east of Johannesburg, as part of its contract. Construction of the factory is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, with manufacturing due to begin the following year.