In addition to its contract with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa for the supply of 600 new commuter trains over a 10 year period, Gibela has a 19-year technical support and spares supply agreement (TSSSA) with the agency.
In terms of this agreement, as its name implies, Gibela will provide support to the 600-train fleet over 5 depots for a period of 19 years (2016-2035). The scope of work includes:
Technical support and full material management
Level 4 maintenance (overhaul of the trains in 3 repair centres)
Performance commitments in fleet reliability (continuation of MSA) for the new trains
Ultimately, the TSSSA will have a national footprint, with facilities in the south and north of Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The north Gauteng depot, at Wolmerton in Pretoria, has been up and running for some time.
Here, a range of functions are in place in support of the new trains already in service in the province:
Warranty and corrective maintenance
Retrofit and field modifications
Performance monitoring and continuous improvement
Fleet reliability growth
Reliability, availability, maintainability and safety studies
Technical support, including a helpdesk, field assistance and training
Cape Town and Durban
The Cape Town depot began operating in 2019 with the deployment of two new train sets in the Mother City by PRASA. A further eight trains have been deployed in Cape Town in the first quarter of 2020 and 20 more in the third quarter. The Durban depot is expected to start operating mid-2020 with the deployment of two new trains by PRASA in the province.
At the Alstom Ubunye facility in Nigel, Ekurhuleni, the focus is on:
- Project administration
- Supply chain, involving material requirement planning and procurement
- Central warehousing for maintenance, warranty and retrofit
- Capital spares dynamic storage
- Maintenance engineering (equipment)
- Industrial engineering (methods)
A control room at Alstom Ubunye allows for centralised monitoring of the performance of the train fleet and a help desk is also available during the trains’ operating hours.
Alstom Ubunye was previously known as Union Carriage and Wagon (UCW). Established in 1957, UCW became Commuter Transport & Locomotive Engineering (CTLE). In April 2016, Alstom acquired a 51% stake in CTLE and renamed the company Alstom Ubunye.
Training and development
Around 150 people are already employed full time in various operational functions of the TSSSA, more than half of them women.
As is the case elsewhere within Gibela, extensive attention is paid to employee training and development in this part of the business.