Alstom’s Lapa manufacturing plant in Brazil has timely manufactured the first complete body-shell of the twenty X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains currently under production in the site as part of its 600-trains contract with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
Seven months after the financial close of the €4 billion contract between Alstom and PRASA, the project is well under way, with the manufacturing proceeding smoothly and Gibela , the local joint venture, created to execute the PRASA contract, up and running.
The first 20 trains are being built in Alstom plant in Lapa, Brazil to assure necessary skills training to the South African teams ahead of the opening of a purpose-built local manufacturing facility in Dunnottar. South-African commodity suppliers have been involved in the manufacturing of this first body-shell.
This first stainless steel body-shell is now ready to start the fitting phase, after which, by the end of 2015, the first complete PRASA train will be shipped to South Africa for an intensive testing program, before it can enter into revenue service by June 2016.
“We are glad to have achieved the important milestone of the handover of the body-shell and thereby to have reassured the trust placed in us by PRASA. Both Gibela and Alstom teams, in South Africa, are strongly committed to delivering the trains on time and to the complete satisfaction of PRASA ”, says Marc Granger, CEO of Gibela.
“In the months ahead this world class manufacturing activities will be performed in South Africa by our own engineers and artisans. It is in line with our plans to develop new generation of railway engineers and artisans. We are focusing our energy on the creation of a railway service that forms an integral part of the transport system renewal to provide effective and efficient public transport to all South Africans”, said Piet Sebola, Group Executive : Strategic Asset Development of PRASA.
Gibela now employs 78 people and 16 South African railway engineers are almost halfway through an 18 months training programme on the trains design and technologies at several Alstom plants in Europe.
Alstom is supplying PRASA with its X’Trapolis Mega, the new X’Trapolis train developed by Alstom to fit South Africa’s 1.067 m gauge. Several Alstom plants are involved in the PRASA project, among them Sesto (Italy) for the traction motors, Le Creusot (France) for the bogies, Reischoffen (France) for the driver cabin, but also the French sites of Ornans, Tarbes, Villeurbanne and Saint-Ouen.
 Gibela is a joint venture led by Alstom (61%) with New Africa Rail (9%), Ubumbano Rail (30%) which is the hosting entity in the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) for the BBBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment) partners, the Gibela and PRASA Employees Trust and the Educational Trust.