Alstom, through its local South African joint venture company Gibela, has reached a major milestone by starting the construction of its new manufacturing site to build 580 suburban trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). The ceremony took place on 4 March 2016, in the town of Dunnotar, close to Johannesburg, in the presence of the South African Minister of Transport, Minister Dipuo Peters, the executive Mayor of the local Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Mr. Mondli Gungubeleand other dignitaries, Mr. Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom Chairman and CEO and Mr. Marc Granger, Gibela Chief Executive Officer.
The completion of the 60,000m2 site, which will be built in phases, is expected to take 18 months. It will deliver 3,480 coaches over the next 10 years, with the very first South African-manufactured train to be completed by the end of 2017.
Around 1,500 people will be employed at the manufacturing, assembly and testing facilities. The site will include an academic training centre, large workshops, office buildings, as well as a test track and test facility required for the new trains.
“After successfully delivering the first two X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains on time, Alstom is pleased to have reached another key milestone for this significant project. This new factory will be a catalyst for the revitalisation of the rail industry in South Africa through local manufacturing, high local supply level, employment creation and skills development. Alstom is proud to be involved in this new era of rail in the country”, said Henri Poupart-Lafarge.
Alstom has been present in South Africa for many years and was awarded around €4 billion PRASA contract in October 2013, the largest contract in the history of the company. The contract also includes 19-year service agreement.
 Following a contract awarded to Gibela for 600 X’Trapolis Mega suburban trains. While the 20 first trains are being built in Alstom’s factory of Lapa in Brazil, the 580 will be made in the new built factory in South Africa