SOUTH AFRICA: Alstom's Lapa factory in Brazil has produced the first bodyshell for the 600 X'Trapolis Mega commuter electric multiple-units ordered by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

The stainless steel bodyshell is based on a design supplied to São Paulo, and has been completed seven months after financial close of the €4bn contract between PRASA and the Gibela joint venture of Alstom (61%), New Africa Rail (9%) and Ubumbano Rail (30%) on April 26.

The first 20 EMUs are being built at Lapa, where South African teams are being trained ahead of the opening of a purpose-built plant in Dunnottar, 50 km east of Johannesburg. The first complete unit is scheduled to be shipped to South Africa by the end of 2015, and will then undergo an intensive testing programme before entering revenue service by June 2016.

Gibela now employs 78 people, and 16 South African railway engineers are almost half-way through an 18-month training programme at Alstom sites in Europe.

Alstom’s Sesto plant in Italy is to supply the traction motors for the 120 km/h EMUs, with French input to include the 1 067 mm gauge bogies from Le Creusot, cabs from Reichshoffen and other components from Ornans, Tarbes, Villeurbanne and Saint-Ouen.

  • Alstom Transport Senior Vice- President Gian-Luca Erbacci described the PRASA X’Trapolis Mega EMUs in detail in the July 2014 issue of Railway Gazette International, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.