One of the new state-of-the-art passenger trains arrives at the Wolmerton depot in Pretoria North for testing. Picture: Supplied

Pretoria - A state-of-the-art train forming part of the new passenger rail stock to be introduced in South Africa has just arrived in Pretoria for tests.

The Test Train No 1, also known as T1, has been received by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) boss Nathi Khena at the Wolmerton Depot in Pretoria North.

It will undergo an intensive seven-month testing programme at the depot, starting next month.

A second test train has been planned for delivery within the first quarter of next year.

The T1 is the first out of a planned 600 trains - 3 600 vehicles - which will be configured as six-car train sets.

They will be able to transport 1 346 passengers.

The train is a state-of-the-art marvel.

It has all its electronic panels exposed for testing purposes, and basic structural fittings will be marked for ease of reference.

All the data gathered from the tests will be used to validate its safety, design and performance parameters.

The first 20 trains will be built in Brazil and the rest at a new facility to be established as part of a manufacturing hub in Ekurhuleni in line with the government’s industrialisation plan.

The project is expected to benefit the majority of people who depend on affordable, reliable and safe public transportation.

The R172 billion investment in the acquisition of 600 new passenger trains is earmarked to replace the old Metrorail stock.

According to Prasa, the deal will culminate in the transformation of 150 years of passenger rail travel in South Africa within the next two decades.

Prasa has contracted Gibela Rail to manufacture the trains.

Khena said the new trains were part of Prasa’s broad modernisation programme to transform passenger rail travel by investing in key infrastructure programmes such as signalling, depots and station modernisation.

“Passenger rail travel will now be supported by safety, in-transit climate control, automatic protection as well as upgraded infrastructure that supports all passengers regardless of mobility,” he said.

Prasa board chairman Dr Popo Molefe on Sunday said: “The arrival of the T1 signals the start of our journey to modernise our passenger rail infrastructure and services.”

Gibela head Marc Granger said the T1’s journey to the depot not only marked the start of tests, but transfer of and training of new drivers.

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Pretoria News

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