Construction on track at Gibela train manufacturing complex in Dunnottar

World-class train manufacturing plant in the industrial heartland of Ekurhuleni fast becoming a reality

Johannesburg, South Africa: Monday, 22 August 2016. Seven months since site mobilisation for the construction of its sprawling, R1 billion train manufacturing complex at Dunnottar, Gibela has made dramatic progress, together with its empowered partners, Trencon Construction (Pty) Limited¹ and Black Jills Engineers (Pty) Limited².

The geographical footprint of the train manufacturing complex is 78 hectares (780 000m²), demarcated as follows:

  • 51 hectares (510 000m²) is the total built area for the factory of  which only 33 hectares (330 000m²) will be developed;  the remaining land is made up of an environmentally sensitive wetland the preservation of which necessitated the building of a dam as part of the design and lay-out of the plant.
  • 27 hectares (270 000m²) is reserved for the uBumbano Rail Park which will house suppliers of equipment and components required for the new trains.

Of the seven packages making up the overall construction programme for the Dunnottar complex, two are currently in progress under the execution of Trencon:

  • In January 2016, Trencon was awarded package 1 for site clearance and earthworks.
  • In May 2016, package 2, the largest of the overall construction programme including construction works for the five main buildings was awarded to the Trencon and Black Jills Joint Venture.

Three months on:

  • concrete bases have been cast in the building where the body shells of the coaches will be assembled;
  • the erection of the stub columns is nearing completion in preparation for structural steel;
  • concrete bases are being laid and the macro-pool area (working platform that enables access on all sides of the train) is being excavated in the testing and coupling (a process of connecting the coaches together into one train) building;
  • strip footings which link the walls of the buildings upon erection have been compacted for the filming building in which the livery of the train is applied; and
  • for the training centre, foundation slabs have been laid and the access pit excavated.

“The dream of developing a world-class train manufacturing plant in the industrial heartland of Ekurhuleni is fast becoming a reality as we work hard towards physically transforming this greenfield site into one of the busiest train manufacturing plants in the world in just more than a year now,” says Gibela CEO Marc Granger.

Critical to the construction programme for the plant is care for both people involved and the environment affected. Adherence to the exacting, internationally-applied environment, health and safety (EHS) standards of Gibela’s majority shareholder, Alstom, is paramount.

“Thanks to our constant EHS training, audits and inspections, instilling safety as a way of working at our construction site, we have not lost a single day due to injury since the start of construction work seven months ago,” says Vuyiswa Tlomatsane, Construction Programme Director at Gibela.

More than 400 people have already been employed during the first two construction packages. The current complement of people on site at 345, (220 of them are residents of Ekurhuleni and 155 of them will be coming from Nigel, Springs, Brakpan and neighbouring areas) is set to increase significantly over the next few months as construction advances in several additional phases.

In accordance with the construction schedule, the training centre will be the first building to be completed in order to prioritise the training of South African artisans and operators in readiness for when local train manufacturing operations start. Besides delivering to Gibela’s skilled employee needs as a priority, the training centre will also supply trained people to the broader South African railway sector in years ahead.

It is planned that construction and equipping of all the buildings on site will be completed by November 2017, when full-scale building and assembling of the first of the 580 South African-made trains for delivery to PRASA will begin.

¹Trencon Construction is a 100% black-owned and managed construction company founded in 1995. The company provides fully integrated and diversified civils and construction services to its clients and is involved in many medium-sized and big construction projects.

²Black Jills Engineers is an innovative South African eco-engineering company wholly owned and managed by black women. It is a Level 1 BEE Contributor with wide experience honed over eight years in the construction, design and management of projects for clients in the private sector and all levels of government.

For more information please contact:
On behalf of Gibela:
Pamella Radebe+27 83 277 8766Email:
Office tel:+27 11 518 8232 
Russell and Associates:
James Duncan+27 79 336 4010Email:
Pam McLeod+27 82 872 6387Email:
Office tel:+27 11 880 3924 

GIBELA 2016. All rights reserved. Information contained in this document is indicative only. No representation or warranty is given or should be relied on that it is complete or correct or will apply to any particular project. This will depend on the technical and commercial circumstances. It is provided without liability and is subject to change without notice. Reproduction, use or disclosure to third parties, without express written authority, is strictly prohibited.