From 2015, train commuters will be travelling in slick new trains with modern features such as Wi-Fi, CCTV cameras, comfortable seating, air conditioning, route maps, on-board communication and toilets.
Overcrowding, delays, crime and train surfing will be a thing of the past as commuters experience the benefits and dignity of modern travel.
This will all be thanks to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) new fleet of trains.
Group head of communication at PRASA Moffat Mofokeng said 3 600 trains valued at R51 billion would be delivered over a 10-year period from 2015, creating 8 088 direct jobs.
This will be the result of PRASA upgrading its rolling stock fleet. PRASA will operate the normal Metro train and the more luxurious Metro Express. Both trains will run with six carriages during off-peak hours and 12 carriages during peak hours.
Since 2010, PRASA has been stepping up efforts to improve the rail network, as well as purchase new passenger and goods trains.
Transport Minister Ben Martins said the new fleet would contribute to improvements in the rail network across the country.
“This process is more than just purchasing of trains. We are reviving our rail engineering sector, contributing to skills development and job creation, amongst other bigger objectives.”
Mofokeng said the new trains would be phased-in in three corridors. The first line will be from Mabopane via Pretoria and Germiston to Park Station and Naledi. The second will be the south to north corridor in KwaZulu-Natal (Umlazi, Durban and KwaMashu). The third will be the Cape Town to Philippi route in the Western Cape.
“Those corridors were chosen due to the large demand of our services in those areas. We are not saying other areas are not important but we want to ease the pressure on those specific areas and in the next phase we will be focusing on those areas.”
He added that the doors of the new trains will work automatically. “The doors will use electronics and once the train moves the doors won’t open. They will only open when it stops.”
Mofokeng said commuters could look forward to comfortable, safe and reliable train travel made possible by PRASA.