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8 April 2004
Hitachi, Ltd. has been awarded a contract to upgrade drive units for 8M-type commuter train from Southern African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC). The contract is for upgrading 23 sets of GTO choppers to IGBT choppers.
Hitachi has supplied electrical equipment for this 8M-type commuter train, with supply of car body and bogie from a local south African company under technical collaboration from Hitachi. 24 train sets (96 cars) of this train has been delivered from 1987 to 1990, and is operated mainly in Cape Town, South Africa, for commuting purposes.
The recent railway market in the African countries, including South Africa, demands for mainly upgrading or modifying the existing trains, due to overall economic stagnation and decayed rolling stock. Therefore, the demand for purchasing new rolling stock is decreasing.
The upgrade Hitachi has been awarded this time is to replace the chopper unit that controls the speed torque by controlling the voltage to the traction motor, from the existing thyristor to the latest IGBT type. With this upgrade, size down, lighter weight, and energy-saving shall be realized, improving reliability as well as prolonging the life of the rolling stock.
Hitachi has delivered rolling stock and electrical equipment to African countries, among which 250 rolling stocks has been delivered to South Africa. Furthermore, Hitachi has upgraded electrical equipment for 67 electrical locomotives, which were delivered to South Africa in the 1990s.
Currently in Africa, the upgrade of electrical equipment and existing infrastructure are being planned in countries other than South Africa, such as Congo republic and Sudan.
Hitachi shall work actively on these upgrade project and introduce Hitachi's latest technologies, by making use of Hitachi's knowledge of specification of these rolling stock.
Hitachi shall head for the expansion of contracts of upgrade of rolling stock in these African countries, by giving financial support with cooperation with public financial institution, also taking into consideration the national budget of African countries for railway infrastructure.