Alstom has been present in South Africa for more than a century. Throughout these years, and under various names and through different entities, the company has provided a wide range of products and technologies, playing a major part in developing the country’s infrastructure. Not only did Alstom provide equipment for 12 of South Africa’s 13 coal-fired power plants and for the only nuclear power plant, but it has also played a historical role in supplying technologies for passenger trains and locomotives, many of which are still in use. And Alstom’s relationship with South Africa, through its local 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 Alstom-led joint-venture Gibela, was awarded a contract in 2013 for the delivery of 600 X’Trapolis Mega passenger trains (pictured below) and 19 years of maintenance, technical support and parts supply. Gibela will thereby contribute to regenerating the country’s rail industry with an objective of 65% local content and the creation of several thousands of jobs along the supply chain.
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.
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