To prove that its new trains do work‚ the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) will hit the rails with members of the media on Monday.
“Following last week’s media coverage of the Afro 4000‚ the Group CEO of Prasa‚ Lucky Montana‚ would like to invite members of the media to a presentation and a ride on the locomotives‚” a press statement said.
The train – 70 (20 diesel and 50 hybrid) of which were procured from Vossloh in Spain – will depart from Pretoria Station.
The train made headlines last week after the Rapport newspaper reported that the Afro 4000 locomotives are unsuitable for South African infrastructure as the height of the trains is 4.264m whereas the national limit was 3.965m.
The controversy deepened when Prasa‚ at a hastily convened press conference‚ introduced its executive manager for engineering services‚ Dr Daniel Mtimkulu‚ as the designer of the train.
Allegations emerged that Mtimkulu is not qualified or registered with the profession’s statutory body.
He also claimed to have studied engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand before going on to study in Germany to get his doctorate‚ but Wits couldn’t find any record of him having been a student.
Prasa at the weekend made no mention of the allegations.
The release about Monday’s train journey said only that the acquisition of the new locomotives was part of a “massive modernisation programme‚ procuring brand-new trains for Prasa Rail Operations and locomotives‚ upgrading our stations and improving the signalling system”.
“The people of South Africa will enjoy the benefits of all this investment in the coming months.”