SNCF signs rolling stock deal with PRASA

An artist's impression of the new Alstom trains for PRASA. Photo: Alstom.
An artist's impression of the new Alstom trains for PRASA. Photo: Alstom.

An agreement has been made between French operator SNCF and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to boost the capacity of the African country’s new rolling stock.

Crucially this includes assistance with the deployment of PRASA’s new metro trains – of which commissioning began in early 2017 – by SNCF sharing expertise, training and exchange of experiences. Full train delivery is expected by 2025.

The partnership will ensure that the trains are operation-ready, deployed on time and operated with the support of France’s extensive experience in the railway transport industry.

SNCF will also deploy a technical expert to be permanently based in South Africa for the duration of the agreement.

A grant from the French Development Agency for 6.5 million Rand (around €375,000) will finance the 12 month deal, which will begin in December, 2017.

The 59 billion Rand (around €4 billion at the time of the award) contract for the new rolling stock was awarded to an Alstom-led consortium in October 2013. At the time it was the largest contract ever signed by Alstom. New Africa Rail and Ubumbano Rail were the other parties in the consortium.

The rolling stock contract is part of an ambitious programme by the South African government – launched in 2010 – in response to a growing number of commuters in the country.

The tripartite partnership was signed on Monday, November 27.

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