By Albert Pule
Pietermaritzburg - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has spent R900 million in KwaZulu-Natal through its capital program during the current 2012/13 financial year.
The money has been spent on investments and infrastructure works, including rolling stock upgrades, the Bridge City Development, new access gates and CCTV cameras at stations, the Dalbridge turn-around facility, and general infrastructure and station improvements.
In his State of the Province Address in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize said the province will receive modern coaches from Prasa as part of its rolling stock upgrades.
“I wish to remind honourable members of the commitment Prasa made to us in terms of its modernisation programme. The province will be allocated 936 new, modern coaches to be procured by Prasa as part of its Fleet Renewal Programme estimated at R123-billion over the next 20 years.”
He said 3600 coaches will be built in the country by Gibela Consortium and they should be delivered in the next 10 years, with the first trains are expected to be delivered in 2015. Some of them are expected to be deployed on the KwaMashu – Durban – Umlazi line.
Prasa has also intensified its efforts to refurbish its existing fleet, with 86 more coaches undergoing refurbishment and upgrade to the tune of R189 million in this current financial year. Next year, a further 72 coaches for the province will be delivered at a cost of R161 million.
Over the past 18 months, R1.1 billion has been spent on the construction of the Bridge City Project and the link to the Duffs Road Station is progressing as planned.
Works on the turnaround facilities at Congella/Dalbridge have commenced and will be completed in August 2013 to the tune of R100 million.
The construction of 10 stations was completed this year to the tune of just over R34 million. The stations are Havenside, Seaview, Poet’s Corner, Umkomaas, Newcastle, Ladysmith and Westcliff, with Island and Wentworth on practical completion. These improvements include lighting, ablution facilities, fencing, ticket offices, etc.
A further R39 million will be spent for improvements in 12 stations, including Flamingo, Umhlali, Canelands, Umbongintwini, Thornwood, Cavendish, Jacobs, Amanzimtoti, Dassenhoek, Effingham, Temple and Dalbridge.
The introduction of a Business Express Train between Ethekwini and Pietermaritzburg has been rescheduled. – SAnews.gov.za