First train from new R1 billion SA factory expected in 18 months

Johannesburg, South Africa: Friday, 4 March, 2016. The production of the first South African-manufactured commuter train − made up of six state-of-the-art cars – destined for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) Metrorail network is scheduled to start in about 18 months’ time at a new R1 billion factory at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

This is according to Marc Granger, CEO of Gibela Rail Consortium (Pty) Limited (Gibela), the Alstom-controlled company established in 2012 with black economic empowerment partners to supply and maintain 600 new commuter trains under contract to PRASA.

Granger was speaking today at a PRASA-hosted event in Ekurhuleni to mark breaking of first ground by the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, for the new train manufacturing facility.

By the end of 2020, Granger said, the factory is expected to be producing at maximum capacity of two rail cars a day, with a 1 500-strong, onsite workforce directly employed by Gibela.

“Manufacturing at this level will be a huge industrial challenge, exceeding the kind of performances currently achieved by any of the world’s top train-building plants,” Granger said.

Some 10 000 parts, produced by some 250 South African suppliers to meet PRASA’s 70+ per cent local content requirement, will have to be delivered to the factory daily.

Already, some 32 South African suppliers – identified and developed in terms of Gibela’s local sourcing programme – were delivering 20% of the requirements for 20 of the new trains being built currently at an Alstom plant in Brazil, ahead of production from the South African factory, Granger said.

Two test trains built in Brazil have already been delivered to South Africa for testing in terms of an intensive, joint Gibela/PRASA testing programme at PRASA’s test facility at Wolmerton, near Pretoria. A third test train is scheduled for delivery to South Africa from Brazil during this month.

According to Granger, a 4 000m² training centre is targeted for completion on the factory site at Dunnottar by October this year. It is envisaged that, over a 10-year period, this centre will provide training in various technical fields to thousands of people, including those not directly employed by Gibela but rather working or intending to work in South Africa’s broader rail and rail-related industries.

For the 2016 academic year, Gibela had awarded 180 bursaries with a total value of R12 million to historically disadvantaged students studying at tertiary institutions around the country, Granger said. Most of the successful bursars were studying for qualifications in various engineering disciplines.

In addition, Gibela – in conjunction with Ekurhuleni East College – had successfully launched its Railway Introduction Course, free to qualifying senior students at universities and technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutions.

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.