Prasa awards Siemens R2.7bn rail network signalling contract

Prasa awards Siemens R2.7bn rail network signalling contract :THE Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), which owns and operates Metrorail, has finalised the award of its biggest signalling contract yet to Germany’s Siemens.

The R2.7bn contract to upgrade signalling systems on Gauteng’s passenger rail network was signed on Wednesday, according to a statement from Prasa, and is expected to improve train punctuality and safety, and help provide better controls and capacity management.

It is also set to overhaul systems in preparation for new rolling stock that will replace South Africa’s ageing passenger rail fleet.

Head of Prasa’s R123bn fleet procurement programme Piet Sebola said on Wednesday that the contract would introduce modern electronic systems, which would increase the passenger capacity of the network.

It would be able to accommodate trains at a frequency of just five minutes and has the ability to operate bidirectionally.

The signalling contract is a second Gauteng award to be scooped by Siemens. The first, valued at R1bn, was awarded in 2011.

It included the construction of a Gauteng Nerve Centre — providing a single control for Gauteng’s entire rail network — and the first phase of the signalling upgrade, covering about one quarter of the network.

The new contract makes Siemens responsible for replacing technology that dates back to the 1930s.

The company was expected to begin work immediately and the contract would run until 2018.

Prasa CEO Lucky Montana has previously said most of the existing system was “dead”.

Merely 14% of the signalling system has not reached the end of its design life. The problem was national, and Prasa would spend a total of R7bn to overhaul signalling systems in Gauteng (R3.8bn), Durban (R1.3bn) and Cape Town (1.8bn).

But an outdated signalling was only part of the problem.

Metrorail’s platforms were unsafe, the technology at its depots was old and security was lax. Each element would be upgraded at a cost of R13.5bn, which would be funded by the Treasury.

A full system upgrade was required for Prasa to be able to test and operate its new rolling stock, which would be commissioned progressively from 2015.

Siemens SA senior project manager Lucio Lefebvre said: “Completion of the rail signalling project will see the Gauteng railway network aligned with modern urban rail networks across the world.”

Mr Lefebvre said that the Gauteng Nerve Centre would be completed by 2015.

Prasa awards Siemens R2.7bn rail network signalling contract

Source : www.bdlive.co.za

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