To improve the safety of its commuter rail network, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has introduced e-based motor units with an anti-crash system.
PRASA added the new electric motor units on the KwaMashu to Durban corridor, after receiving a no-objection certificate from the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR), it reveals.
In a statement, PRASA says the new, blue and white trains, popularly known as Isitimela Sabantu, feature on-board CCTV cameras, voice alert and information display systems.
It notes the trains began running from 25 August, during off-peak.
“The phased-rollout of the electric motor units on the recovered corridors is part of PRASA's wider strategy to modernise and improve passenger rail services across South Africa and make rail a safe, reliable and affordable mode of transport,” says Hishaam Emeran, PRASA group CEO.
“These trains are the most advanced passenger trains in the country and significantly improve the passenger experience.”
According to PRASA, the blue and white trains already run on the southern corridor between Durban and Umbogintwini, and Durban to Cato Ridge lines.
Peak services on the KwaMashu corridor will be announced in due time, subject to RSR approval, notes PRASA.
Additionally, plans are under way to recover the Durban to Crossmoor and Durban to Pinelands services in this financial year, it states.
In 2018, two Metrorail trains were involved in a rear-end collision at the Geldenhuys Train Station in Germiston, resulting in the injury of about 200 people.
At the time, RSR said PRASA does not have the means to prevent accidents from happening during degraded mode when manual authorisations are undertaken.
Figures from the 2016/17 financial year show PRASA's reliance on its manual signalling system accounted for 8% of collisions between trains, with direct costs increasing from R889 million to R961 million.