The National Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters along with the Mayor of Tshwane Mr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, will today showcase the interior features of Test Train No 2 (TT2) which is part of PRASA’s new trains to community members. The train test, undertaken by Gibela and PRASA engineers, is the second phase that will see TT2 tested for commuter features compliance. The test will also focus on infrastructure compatibility and upgrades which are part of PRASA’s R 172 biillion set aside for the Modernisation Programme to upgrade old infrastructure to ensure compatibility with the new train technology.
TT2 is especially designed for this particular test, with the first three coaches left empty with exposed electronics and other panels while the remaining six coaches will consist of fully fitted commuter features and comforts which will be included in the final commercial trains.
Test Train No 2 will depart from Pretoria Station via Kalafong Station, ending at Atteridgeville which will afford the communities in the surrounding areas an opportunity to view the future train with the first new train scheduled to run commercially on the 1st of October 2016.
“As government, we are happy with the progress made in the testing of the new trains. We want our people to travel safely and with dignity because the bulk of the people who use these trains are the ones driving the South African economy. They are indeed at the heart of the stringent mandate given to PRASA by Government to provide safe, reliable and affordable passenger rail for all the people of South Africa” Said Minister Peters.
There are three trains that have been set aside as test trains, with TT1 already tested which focused only on the electrical conformity of the test train. Test Train No 2 and 3 will test a combination of electronic and commuter features and introduce the necessary adjustment on the final trains to be manufactured.
PRASA has already begun the process of building the train manufacturing and components plant for the new trains at a cost of R1 billion. Only 20 trains will be imported from Brazil with the remaining 580 remaining trains to be manufactured and maintained in South Africa as part of localisation. South Africa will see approximately 1 500 people permanently employed at the new plant while an anticipated 19 500 people will receive rail-related training at the plant allowing them to find work within the rail industry. A total of R 800 million has been dedicated towards skills development.
The ongoing tests will focus on Safety Critical areas in order for PRASA to satisfy the Rail Safety Regulator who will issue the necessary certificate declaring the train safe to operate commercially. The contractual test on the other hand will focus on testing all the operational requirements of the train as per the PRASA contract along with gaining more knowledge on the new trains.
“Government places safety on all public transportation at the highest priority level. These tests will therefore give a firm assurance to our people that we are investing in safe and reliable infrastructure and that we have not compromised on quality” added Minister Peters.
The new trains will have some key features designed for both safety and passenger comfort. The train safety features will include crashworthy energy-absorbing train bodies, automatic train doors, open gangways throughout the train which allows visibility of the entire train and with no closed sections as well as closed windows with air conditioning. There will also be Total CCTV coverage was well as a “Black Box” event data recorder.
Customer comfort include air conditioning throughout the train, modern visual and audio information inside and outside the train, Real-time data travel information, Universal Access for people with disabilities, 3 wide access doors, Automatic Open and Close doors and finally, the train will not move if the doors are open due to either an obstacle or a person holding the door open. The train will also allow for driver and passenger interphase through the Front/Lateral/and Internal Display of station destinations, CCTV Front and Rear Cameras, Passenger Emergency Alarm (PEA), Passenger Emergency Intercom (PEI), Call for Aid device (CFA) and on-board communication and Loudspeakers.
“This state-of-the-art train is for the people of South Africa. This is the beginning of the revival of passenger rail after 40 years of under investment into passenger rail which has resulted in old and unreliable trains and rail infrastructure. Over the next 15 to 20 years, Government, through PRASA, will deliver the new trains along with their Modernisation Programme to upgrade the infrastructure. We appeal for patience and support from our people during this time of upgrading” concluded the Minister.