Shaping the future of South African rail

Client: Passenger rail agency of South Africa (PRASA)

SNC-Lavalin has helped shape the future of South African rail by supporting the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) on a major national project to reinvigorate the country’s rail network and wider rail industry. Our Rail & Transit team worked on PRASA's Rolling Stock Fleet Replacement Programme in South Africa from 2011 to 2017, initially carrying out a feasibility study to determine the need for recapitalization of the old MetroRail Fleet. Design and build started in 2014, culminating in the first trains entering passenger service in 2017.

SNC-Lavalin’s client is the Enterprise Programme Management Office (EPMO) team of PRASA. The Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme involved the acquisition of 7224 new electric multiple units (EMUs) which, over a period of 20 years, will augment and progressively replace the existing fleet, making it one of the biggest-ever train procurement programmes.

shaping-the-future-of-south-african-rail-inside.jpgThe new trains will allow expansion in the overall fleet to accommodate demand growth and provide the necessary resources to operate definitively planned extensions to the PRASA network. The programme will also facilitate the South African government’s over-arching strategic vision of revitalising the local rail manufacturing industry.

Encompassing the provision of both strategic and technical advice to PRASA, SNC-Lavalin’s specific scope of work was to lead the programme management, coordinating other advisors to PRASA; compile the technical specification; compile the maintenance specification; and support the tendering process and contractor selection in the technical and maintenance arena.

This project follows on from previous work undertaken by SNC-Lavalin during 2010-11 as part of a consortium, to undertake a comprehensive feasibility study to prepare the groundwork for the current procurement phase of the project.

In December 2012, PRASA announced the Gibela consortium (led by Alstom) as preferred bidder. SNC-Lavalin and its fellow Transaction Advisors had enabled the client to appoint a preferred bidder for the supply of 3,600 vehicles and their maintenance (including a major localisation programme) within seven months of issuing the request for proposal.

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