Other bidders for the contract included Bombardier, CAF, and CNR China.

The contract will run for 10 years and the first cars should be completed in 2015. The deal includes preferential procurement worth Rand 32.8bn to be spent on sub-contracting to black-empowered entities. Local content is expected to reach 69% by year two and facilities owned by Transnet Rail Engineering will be used to produce the vehicles. Alstom will also provide maintenance, spare parts, and technical support for 18 years starting in 2015.

Prasa's CEO Mr Lucky Montana says the deal will create 33,000 jobs and is the first part of plans to improve the passenger rail network. Prasa currently has a fleet of 4600 cars, many of which are nearly 40 years old.