SOUTH AFRICA: Under a tripartite agreement signed on November 27, SNCF and French government development agency AFD have agreed to provide technical and financial assistance worth R6·2m to suburban passenger operator Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

Commencing from the start of December, the 12-month partnership will provide technical expertise, training skills and exchange best practice with PRASA as the operator seeks to upgrade the 1 067 mm gauge commuter networks around Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. PRASA has started to introduce an initial batch of X’Trapolis Mega EMUs into service in Gauteng province covering Johannesburg and Pretoria under a R51bn contract signed in 2013 with the Alstom-led Gibela consortium, which covers the supply of 600 trainsets. It also has plans to invest up to R172bn in infrastructure.

SNCF is to assist PRASA with ensuring the X’Trapolis Mega EMUs are commissioned and deployed in a service-ready condition. SNCF is to deploy staff to South Africa for the duration of the partnership agreement.