High speed trains ready for take off

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will later this morning unveil new high speed trains that will offer faster journey times and greater reliability.

The President will launch the new metro commercialised full train service as part of government’s transport modernisation programme and massive infrastructure development at the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) House in Hatfield, Pretoria.

The 20-year Modernisation Programme is aimed at revitalising the rail industry through training and skills development for both Prasa employees and young people interested in railways.

The programme will also focus on upgrading the current rail infrastructure, while continuing to deliver new trains for community use. Last week, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi visited Prasa’s Braamfontein depot in Johannesburg to inspect the AFRO 4000 locomotives.

Minister Maswanganyi said his mandate is to deliver efficient, reliable and safe trains to the South African public.

“There is a huge demand from the South African public that they want the trains to get onto the tracks as soon as possible.

“Somehow, we’ve been failing them with the delays and shortage of trains, especially in the Western Cape, where passengers end up vandalising our trains, which we discourage in the strongest terms.

“The sooner the challenges are resolved, the sooner we see the trains transporting our people,” he said.

In 2010, Prasa embarked on a 10-year capital investment programme to upgrade the signalling systems on its various Metrorail lines. In 2012, the agency launched its plan to refurbish and replace its current rolling stock. - SAnews.gov.za