19 of PRASA’s 40 corridors reopened but providing peak-period service only

2nd June 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


Font size: - +

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has seen passenger numbers plummet from 600-million a year in the 2014/15 financial year, to 15-million in the last financial year, says CEO Hishaam Emeran.

He says 50% of the 2 300 km PRASA network was impacted on by theft and vandalism during Covid-19-related shutdowns.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, PRASA operated 40 corridors. To date, 19 corridors have been recovered to provide a limited peak-hour service.

“We have been putting a lot of effort into rebuilding and recovering the system,” says Emeran.

“We are no longer at a point where things are a disaster – there is hope. We are now fully in the recovery programme, but, having said that, a lot more work needs to be done.”

Emeran says PRASA not only has to return more corridors to service, but it also has to increase the frequency of its trains on the corridors already rehabilitated.

“We need to acknowledge that the services we are running on those corridors are not sufficient to meet demand. At the moment, we are running a train every 45 minutes to one hour.

“In peak periods, a train needs to run every five to ten minutes. The reason we are not doing that is that we need to recover the signalling systems.

“At the moment, on a lot of the corridors, we are using manual authorisation.”

Emeran says it is PRASA’s focus to roll out new signalling systems, which should take 12 to 18 months.

He adds that PRASA has already received 104 of the 600 new trains ordered from Gibela, which is based in Nigel, Gauteng.

Emeran says it is PRASA’s hope to serve not only its natural captive market –the poorest commuters – but to also become a mode of choice.


a return ticket from Naledi to Johannesburg city costs R17.

Emeran notes, however, that a rail system moving only 15-million people a year “is not sustainable”.

“You need higher volumes.”

He says this means that there will be a three- to five-year period where PRASA will require operational funding support from government.

PRASA’s budget for the new financial year is R20.5-billion, of which R7.5-billion will be for operations and R12.9-billion for capital projects.

Emeran says PRASA exceeded its capital budget last year for the first time in a decade.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


Latest News


Weir Minerals Africa and Middle East
Weir Minerals Africa and Middle East

Weir Minerals Africa is a global supplier of excellent minerals solutions, including pumps, valves, hydrocyclones, wear-resistant linings,...


From batteries for boats and jet skis, to batteries for cars and quad bikes, SABAT Batteries has positioned itself as the lifestyle battery of...


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Photo of Martin Creamer
ARM, GoldOre, Gautrain make headlines
22nd September 2023
Magazine cover image
Magazine round up | 22 September 2023
22nd September 2023
Resources Watch image
Resources Watch
21st September 2023

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.121 0.16s - 91pq - 2rq
Subscribe Now