Alstom launches 580-train project in South Africa

French locomotive leader begins Joburg factory construction to deliver $4.4bn public rail project

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom chairman and CEO, and Marc Granger, Gibela CEO, with South African VIPs.
Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom chairman and CEO, and Marc Granger, Gibela CEO, with South African VIPs.

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Alstom begins construction of South African manufacturing facility, through a local joint venture with Gibela, for the future production of 580 suburban trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The 60,000m2 site in Dunnotar, close to Johannesburg, will be built in phases and is expected to take 18 months to complete. It will include a training centre, workshops, office space and a test track and test facility for the new trains.

It will deliver 3,480 coaches over the next 10 years, with the very first South African-manufactured train to be completed by the end of 2017.

Around 1,500 people will be employed at the manufacturing, assembly and testing facilities.

The launch ceremony was led by Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom chairman and CEO, and Marc Granger, Gibela CEO, and was attended by the South African minister for transport, Dipuo Peters, and the mayor of the local Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality.

Poupart-Lafarge commented: “After successfully delivering the first two X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains on time, Alstom is pleased to have reached another key milestone for this significant project.

“This new factory will be a catalyst for the revitalisation of the rail industry in South Africa through local manufacturing, high local supply level, employment creation and skills development. Alstom is proud to be involved in this new era of rail in the country.”

Alstom has been present in South Africa for many years, but in 2013 was awarded the PRASA contract – the largest contract in the history of the company – for the staggering sum of $4.4bn.

The contract also includes 19-year service agreement.

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