Changing the long-distance travel experience

The increasing rate of urbanisation, private car-ownership and regional mobility requirements,  necessitated PRASA to effectively respond in meeting the demands and the travel needs of intercity passengers and also to ensure that it is geared up to provide a high quality passenger travel experience.

The provision of long distance passenger transport services that is convenient, accessible, safe and secure, while at the same time affordable, is an important pillar in facilitating the movement of people to ensure labour mobility in a dynamic and growing economy.

A long distance and integrated passenger service that responds to the needs of the traveller, requires that PRASA’s Mainline Passenger Service (MLPS) is built on a more focused and efficient long distance passenger market that focuses on a core network of rail services supported by a number of fully integrated bus feeder services.

The introduction of more regional passenger rail services to cater for a different target market to that of long-distance services is being rolled out by PRASA with 9 priority routes being assessed for possible preparation and implementation over the next 3 years.  This will increase inter-region travel and people to people contact, and inevitably contribute to inter-regional and inter-city tourism growth.

With the following regional services having been identified and with some already closer to realisation, South Africans will soon realize the full benefit of this investment:   

• Johannesburg – Mafikeng

• Polokwane – Beitbridge

• Nelspruit – Maputo

• Pretoria – Hammanskraal

• King Williams Town – Alice

• Cape Town – Port Elizabeth

In ensuring the realisation of the above regional services, government has invested R3.5-billion in acquiring 70 new locomotives over the next 3 years. Thirteen of the long-distance trains have already been delivered, with a further six to be received during 2016.

The acquisition and introduction of the new locomotives will shorten the time travelled whilst increasing efficiencies.  The new locomotives can reach speeds of up to

100km/h and with a capacity pull of up to 70 loaded passenger coaches as opposed to the current 21 coaches.  With 6-traction the new locomotives can compensate for any failure that may occur on any of the motors, meaning less breakdowns and stoppages, especially in distant areas where MLPS is unable to rapidly resolve the situation.  The Afro 4000 is eco-friendly, running on very little diesel to avoid emissions, as well as electricity. 

Hybrid locos 

The introduction of the AFRO4000 represents a major positive step in changing the travel experience of South Africans. These represent a critical element in turning around the long distance and regional passenger rail services in South Africa. The new modern locomotives bought by PRASA are the best in South Africa today and they do not only meet but far exceed the applicable technical and safety specifications. 

The Afro4000 locomotives will change the travel experience of South Africans forever. These will usher in a new era of modernity in passenger rail services. The Afro4000 is a symbol of the future and it is here now.

At the core of delivering public value, PRASA is committed to:

• Improving accessibility and connectivity to marginalised communities;

• Providing affordable and subsidised transport solutions to passengers;

• Providing demand-responsive services in rural areas, where rail is the most appropriate mode of transport;

• Supporting economic growth and development through the provision of access to major employment areas.

• Supporting the main economic development nodes; 

• Contributing to emissions reduction and cleaner cities; and

• Supporting social activities to improve the quality of life for South African citizens.

PRASA is committed to ensuring that it is a leader in passenger transport solutions and, as a modern public entity, continues to deliver high quality passenger services in a safe and secure environment. PRASA is rolling out the train system of the future.

Guest Author

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