HE Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) tested its new, modern train on Monday and gave it a thumbs up.
The new trains will start operating in October this year.
The first train was tested at speeds up to 132 kph between the Wolmerton and De Wildt sections, north of Tshwane. Further tests will include the section between Irene and Olifontsfontein and the Pienaarspoort to Pretoria lines as well as from Pretoria to Mabopane.
Prasa spokesman Victor Dlamini said the company will introduce 600 new trains in the first part of its modernisation programme.
The first of 20 new trains has been built in Brazil but the remaining 580 will be built at Prasa’s factory in East Rand, Ekurhuleni.
Construction has started at a total cost of R1 billion. It will take up to 20 years to replace current trains with new ones.
“This is an exciting time as we modernise passenger rail in South Africa.
“The trains will eventually be all over the country,” he said.
Prasa’s business readiness manager, Abram Nkgabutle, said the new trains will have CCTV cameras, passenger announcements on board, and standing areas in the carriages. People with disabilities will have areas where wheelchairs can be accommodated.
They will also have electronic display boards and will be very fast and comfortable