PRASA’s efforts to ensure trains run on time

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s ongoing efforts to re-signal its network in phases will go a long way to improving efficiency and making sure that commuter trains are reliable and punctual.

PRASA embarked on a journey to upgrade its near obsolete and outdated signalling system.

‘When PRASA suffered massive theft and vandalism of the rail infrastructure, the newly installed state-of-the-art electronic interlocking and signaling equipment was not left unscathed. In rebuilding the rail infrastructure, PRASA is re-installing the stolen and vandalized signaling equipment. Through a project that would take seven years to complete, PRASA is re-signaling the network in phases. Nationally, PRASA has re-signalled six of the lines recovered,’ Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said on Tuesday in Cape Town.

The Minister made these remarks during the launch of the train production of 200 modern high-tech Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), which are manufactured locally in Gauteng.

The launch marked signifi
cant progress towards PRASA’s overarching goal of producing 600 X’Trapolis Mega Trains.

‘PRASA is installing a state-of-the-art signaling system, including PRASA train control systems in line with the European Rail Traffic Management System. This will ensure that PRASA runs trains more efficiently, improving service frequency and enhancing the safe passage of trains on the rail network.

‘PRASA has re-signaled 24 of the 39 stations from Cape Town to Simonstown. This means the train speed has been increased from 30km/hr to 75km/hr and commuters getting to their destination much faster. When there was no signaling on the line, trains were running every 90 minutes and the trip to Cape Town station was one hour and ten minutes. PRASA has reduced the journey time to 45 minutes and trains run every 20 minutes,’ Chikunga said.

In real terms, this means that PRASA has now increased the number of trains it runs during peak from three to nine trains.

‘No more will a commuter who missed a train, have to wait for one-
hour and ten minutes to catch the next train, because another train will be available within 20 minutes. We are improving efficiency and making sure that PRASA delivers a reliable and punctual commuter rail service that commuters can depend on, improve on-time performance and minimize disruptions,’ the Minister said.

The six re-signalled in the country include, Mabopane – Pretoria; Saulsville – Pretoria; Pretoria – De Wildt; Cape Town – Simonstown; Mutual – Langa and Umlazi – Reunion.

‘Work is underway to upgrade signaling in KwaZulu Natal. The installed signaling nationally is the latest state of the art compatible with automatic train protection (ATP) systems, GSM-R/FRMCS Digital Radio Network Communication.

‘The organization is also working on installing its own PRASA Train Control System (PTCS) for the KwaZulu-Natal Region. This system will bring the operations of the Region in line with the modern urban railways around the World,’ the Minister said.

This morning Chikunga was accompanied by the PRASA
Board of Control and Management during a train ride on the Southern Line in the Western Cape from Fish Hoek to Cape Town Station.

‘PRASA is making significant strides in restoring passenger rail services. To date, 31 of the 40 lines it operates in have been partially recovered. The region has 14 lines across five municipalities, not just in the City of Cape Town. To date, PRASA has partially recovered 12 of the 14 lines.

‘Of the 39 stations on the corridor, only 13 stations were operational. To date, all the 39 stations are operational, with a full train service. To date, PRASA has transported over 13 million commuters, with more than half (57%) transported on the Southern Line.

‘Progress is being made to recover the Central Line from Phillippi to Nolungile and trains are expected to run by the May this year, adding to the services already running from Cape Town to Nyanga on the Central Line. At that time, trains will be running from Cape Town to Nyanga and all the way to Nolungile,’ the Minister said.

ource: South African Government News Agency