Alstom has started the construction of a new manufacturing site to build 580 suburban trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
Through its joint venture company Gibela, Alstom will develop the 60,000 sq m site in Dunnotar, near Johannesburg, in phases over the next 18 months.
Around 3,480 coaches will be made there over the next 10 years to make up the trains, with the very first South African-manufactured train to be completed by the end of 2017.
The manufacturing, assembly and testing facilities will employ 1,500 people and the site will include an academic training centre, workshops, office buildings, as well as testing facilities.
Gibela has a contract to supply 600 X’Trapolis Mega suburban trains, 20 of which are being built in Alstom’s factory in Brazil, with the rest to be made in the new factory in South Africa.
The start of the work was marked by a ceremony attended by South African minister of transport Dipuo Peters, the executive mayor of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Mondli Gungubele, as well as Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom chairman and CEO, and Marc Granger, Gibela CEO.
“This new factory will be a catalyst for the revitalisation of the rail industry in South Africa through local manufacturing, high local supply level, employment creation and skills development,” said Poupart-Lafarge. “Alstom is proud to be involved in this new era of rail in the country.”
The Gibela joint venture was awarded the R51bn contract to deliver the trains for PRASA in October 2013.