FUTURE CAPE TOWN | The trains for future of South Africa’s cities

“This first X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains are expected to be ready by  the end of 2015…”


The first new PRASA commuter trains produced at Alstom’s Lapa plant in Brazil  will be ready by the end 2015 to start service some of South Africa’s 2.3 million rail commuters. That number is expected to double within the next 20 years

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  • August 2015: Test Train 1 and 2 are currently undergoing safety critical open line testing. The 1st test train received certificate of Track-Worthiness on 21 April 2016; and has already tested for 132km/h speed.

  • December 2015: The first 20 trains recently arrived at Richards Bay from Brazil where they were manufactured.

About the X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains

  • Accommodates up to 1,200 passengers in six coaches, although the modular design permits adjustments for periods of higher and lower demand.
  • Travel speeds of up to 120km/ph with the ability to upgrade to 160km/ph.
  • A lightweight, stainless steel structure which consumes significantly less energy than any other standard train.
  • 90% recyclable components and energy-saving features, including regenerative braking, will allow for a 30% reduction in energy consumption compared to the best of PRASA’s current fleet. It includes the redirecting the energy generated by braking back into the train’s power network, thereby reducing carbon emissions and costs.
  • Each coach has six wide double doors, providing commuters with easy access, particularly those who are mobility challenged.
  • The X’Trapolis MEGA is air-conditioned and passengers will enjoy real-time information and Wi-Fi internet access on the Metro Express.


The first X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains are expected to be ready by the end of 2015 and the first complete PRASA train will be shipped to South Africa for an intensive testing program, before entering into service by June 2016. The trains will start to serve some of the 2.3 million commuters in South Africa who use rail, a number that is expected to double within the next 20 years.

Alstom is supplying PRASA with its X’Trapolis Mega, the new X’Trapolis train to fit South Africa’s 1.067 m gauge. The contract includes the construction of a local manufacturing facility in Dunnottar, 50km east of Johannesburg. The first 20 trains will be produced at Alstom’s Lapa plant in 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 process in Brazil.

  • Contract: Signed on the 14 October 2013 between Alstom , PRASA and Gibela the local joint venture
  • Investment: €4 billion
  • Total production: 600 passenger trains over 10 years

After this first shipping the 600,000 m² manufacturing site in Dunnottar will produce the 580 trains destined for manufacture in South Africa and will house an engineering centre and training facility.  The project will create over 1,500 direct jobs in the local factory and 33,000 indirect jobs over 10 years, achieving a local content level of over 65%. 19,000 people will be trained by Alstom during the project.

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  1. Renders PRASA and Alstom, additional image via Railway Gazette
  2. Addition information via Alstom and Gibela



There are 2 comments

  1. Disability Solutions

    “Each coach has six wide double doors, providing commuters with easy access, particularly those who are mobility challenged.” wide doors are not enough; there needs to be a boarding bridge (similar to MyCiTi buses to ensure accessibility.

  2. Marina Parry

    “before entering into service by June 2016”. – Are these dates still correct, can we possibly still have access to decent trains within the first half of the year. We would sincerely appreciate this.

Comments are closed.