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All aboard… Prasa takes media for a ride on their new trains

Prasa unveiled the new high-powered diesel locomotive earlier this year.

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa took journalists for a ride on the new trains it purchased from a Spanish manufacturer to prove that they comply with standards on 13 July, 2015. Picture: Kgotatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) on Monday welcomed journalists aboard the new trains it purchased from a Spanish manufacturer to prove they comply with standards.

It's been reported that the rail agency's own engineers warned the 13 trains purchased at a cost of R600 million were too tall for local rail lines.

The City Press also reported the trains posed a 'significant safety hazard'.

But the rail agency reportedly went ahead with the transaction, despite the manufacturer informing them they could not adjust the height of the trains.

Prasa group CEO Lucky Montana said they tested the locomotives on Monday morning.

"We just came back from a trip with the media using two of these locomotives to prove once and for all, in practise, that these locomotives meet the standard and are fully compliant."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance Says it shouldn't be difficult to prove if Prasa's head of engineering does, in fact, have the qualifications he claims to.

Daniel Mtimkulu claims to have obtained an engineering degree from Wits University but the institution has not been able to find any record of him studying there.

The DA's Manny de Freitas says he's written to the transport committee about this issue.

"It should be easy for anyone including Mtimkulu to provide his qualifications. I've written to the portfolio for transport chair to invite Mr Mtimkulu and officials from Prasa to lay the record straight."

PRASA HAILS NEW TRAINS

Prasa unveiled the new high-powered diesel locomotive earlier this year.

The rail agency said the new trains would vastly improve long-distance rail travel.

The Afro 4000 locomotive series forms part of Prasa's rail turnaround strategy.

The new multi-million rand locomotive has been hailed as a revolution.

It's the first of its kind in Africa. The locomotive costs around R46 million to design and build but Prasa said its money well spent.

The rail agency said it was the first step in providing a high-quality, safe and reliable long-distance service.

The service has previously experienced severe delays due to outdated locomotives.

The locomotive will officially start running in August or September this year.