Despite launching new fleet, Prasa to keep refurbishing old trains

Prasa board chair Leonard Ramatlakane has approved R7.5 billion for a complete overhaul and repair of old trains, some of which have been in accidents.

Prasa board chair Leonard Ramatlakane (standing) and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula (sitting) unveiled the 100th locomotive which was locally produced by the Gibela Consortium on 4 July 2022. Picture: @PRASA_Group/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said that it would continue pumping money into refurbishing older, damaged trains despite launching a new fleet.

On Monday, the parastatal unveiled the 100th locomotive which was locally produced by the Gibela Consortium.

This is part of Prasa’s R124 billion modernisation programme.

South Africa's railway system has been crippled by vandalism and a lack of maintenance.

Prasa board chair Leonard Ramatlakane has approved R7.5 billion for a complete overhaul and repair of old trains, some of which have been in accidents.

But why not repurpose that money towards the newer trains made by the Gibela Consortium?

"We still need the older ones as well because their life span is 11 years, so after that, we do maintenance because the 600 trains we are talking about are not sufficient for the South African population," he said.

As it stands, Prasa is still developing its system to suit the newer trains that have surveillance cameras, air conditioning and doors that only open when the train is stationary.

The trains are currently operational on the Mabopane and Atteridgeville lines as well as in Cape Town and Simon's Town.

The agency plans to have the new locomotives on the Naledi line in Soweto by the end of the year.