PRASA awards contract to maintain ageing trains

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has announced the awarding of the five-year General-Overhaul contract that will now allow for the heavy maintenance and repairs of train-sets which will help clear the backlog.

“Under the General Overhaul programme, about 380-400 coaches will undergo heavy maintenance and rehabilitation work every year for the next five years,” PRASA said on Wednesday.

The contract was awarded to five contractors nationally.

“Many of our train sets are out of commission due to the lifespan of our coaches and the vandalism of our coaches, making our trains hazardous and unsafe for our commuters.

“Therefore, this is a positive development for PRASA and commuters because we can now start maintenance and refurbishment work and increase the availability of trains as we recover our lines,” PRASA said.

The lifespan of a coach is about 40 years. However, the majority of PRASA’s fleet is generally over 50 years old.

In the asset lifecycle of trains, individual coaches need to undergo general maintenance every 9 to 10 years.

The General Overhaul programme not only supports the Corporate Strategy to provide a safe, reliable, and comfortable service to commuters, but also supports PRASA’S Modernization Programme.

“As we transition to the new electrical trains manufactured at the Gibela manufacturing plant, the current fleet needs to be maintained until new electrical motor units are finally acquired and fully incorporated into service by estimated 2033.

“The current fleet is expected to still be operational and systematically phased out by then. The economic benefit of this R7.5 billion contract cannot be understated as this has breathed new life into an industry that was almost left decimated,” PRASA said. 

This contract has the potential to revive and ignite our economy as over 2 000 direct jobs are expected to be created.

“This is a true testament that we at PRASA, move beyond our primary mandate of transportation. This milestone has given our ageing fleet a new lease of life and set to increase productivity, boost confidence and staff morale within our organization. This also gives PRASA an opportunity to innovate as we expedite the deployment of the new electrical trains,” the agency said. –

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