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Monday, August 8, 2022

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100 new locally built trains added to transport fleet

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula with Gibela Rail Consortium staff members at their factory in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg. Image: Supplied.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula with Gibela Rail Consortium staff members at their factory in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg. Image: Supplied.

Published Jul 4, 2022

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Durban – The government, particularly the Department of Transport, on Monday celebrated the addition of 100 new locally manufactured electric trains to the public transport fleet.

Minister Fikile Mbalula accepted delivery of the trains on Monday from the state-contracted manufacturing company, Gibela.

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According to Mbalula, the construction of the 100 new trains created 2 695 direct jobs since 2014.

The trains can reach a top speed of 120km/h and were built at the Gibela factory in the Ekurhuleni metropolitan area in Gauteng. Gibela said the speed can be adjusted to reach 160km/h.

Gibela is a consortium made up in 2013 and consists of a French rail company, Alstom which owns 70% and Ubumbano Rail, which owns 30%.

According to Gibela, they have a R51 billion contract with the government to manufacture 600 complete passenger train sets for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) by 2028.

Part of the conditions binding Gibela in the contract include the manufacturing and supply of spare parts, train maintenance and technical support for trains built at their Ekurhuleni plant.

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He said the trains were designed to accommodate South Africa’s narrow gauge trail tracks, which measure 1.067m.

“As we celebrate the 100th train set – we recognise the milestone as a giant leap towards an affordable integrated public transport network. Through this, the government recognises a milestone towards affordable integrated public transport and job creation.

“This is a massive testament to the government’s ambitious rail policy plans.

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“When the government and Prasa envisioned South Africa’s fleet renewal programme, it was born out of the desire for a vibrant, capable and safe rail network that will give South Africans a dignified rail experience,” Mbalula said.

During the event at the Gibela factory on Monday, various employees of the company, particularly black women, were given a platform to explain how they were nurtured into becoming artisans working in the rail field.

This included those in the electrical and mechanical fields, among other trades.

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