The South African government on Thursday announced it will build more than 7,000 metro coaches with the world's most advanced technology at a cost of over 120 billion rands (about $15 billion).
"It is a train modernisation project aimed at revitalising the old railway system in the country," said Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele in Johannesburg.
The new modern train will have the advantages of greater passenger mobility, automatic protection system, high quality of crashworthiness, high carrying capacity, very light weight and energy efficient function.
"It is important that the new train should be faster than a car, taxis and bus in the country, running at an average speed of 160 km per hour on the current track, "said the minister.
"The current railway system is quite old, with many coaches made in the 1960s and 1970s still being driven by old technology," the minister said.
The upgrading of public transport systems, particularly railway system, will be crucial to the economic development in the country, according to the minister.
In his budget early this year, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced an additional 4 billion rands allocation for acquiring new rolling stock and one billion rands for constructing new train depots and signalling infrastructures.
The allocation indicated the new rolling stock acquisition project will start with allocation of over 120 billion rands over the next 20 years.
"Over the next decade, we will implement a number of railway interventions, putting our railway system as the backbone of our passenger transport system," the minister said.