Transnet shows first made-in-SA lo­co­mo­tive for clients in Africa

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - ALWYN VILJOEN

TRANSNET En­gi­neer­ing planned to un­veil its first lo­cally man­u­fac­tured diesel-pow­ered lo­co­mo­tive at the Africa Rail Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion in the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

While many be­moan the rust­ing rail­way tracks all over South Africa, the fact re­mains that the Transnet En­gi­neer­ing’s Lo­co­mo­tive Busi­ness is fully able to take on work from other African coun­tries.

This de­ci­sion cur­rently re­fur­bishes, con­verts, up­grades or re­man­u­fac­tures over 400 lo­co­mo­tives an­nu­ally to ISO 9001 qual­ity stan­dards at its fac­to­ries in Dur­ban, Bloem­fontein and Pretoria. It also main­tains over 2 500 of the lo­co­mo­tives in South Africa’s fleet to pro­vide its cus­tomers with a source of re­li­able and avail­able trac­tive ef­fort.

Gen­eral over­hauls and Mi­nor Over­haul Pro­grammes (MOPs) of DC-type lo­co­mo­tives are un­der­taken in Pretoria at Transnet En­gi­neer­ing’s Koe­doe­spoort works.

Should a lo­co­mo­tive be se­verely dam­aged in some way, a to­tal re­build of diesel elec­tric lo­co­mo­tives is un­der­taken at Transnet En­gi­neer­ing’s plant in Bloem­fontein and the re­build of elec­tric DC lo­co­mo­tives is done in their Koe­doe­spoort plant with the re­build of the elec­tric AC lo­co­mo­tives in their Dur­ban-based plant.

Mean­while, Bom­bardier Trans­porta­tion showed its suc­cess­ful Gau­train and Traxx Africa Lo­co­mo­tive projects, in­te­grated so­lu­tions and Rail Con­trol and ser­vice and main­te­nance so­lu­tions. The com­pany, which also supplied the Gau­train, is in the last year of a three-year project by a con­sor­tium of com­pa­nies un­der the Bom­bardier Africa Al­liance to mod­ernise sig­nalling along over 200 km of track in eThek­wini to speed up the com­mute of some 70 000 pas­sen­gers. By year end, the con­sor­tium an­tic­i­pate it will have re­placed Dur­ban’s 40-year-old sig­nalling tech­nol­ogy with new sys­tems that will al­low trains to run 150 sec­onds apart.

Bom­bardier is also a leader in elec­tric trans­port both on rail and roads, and will also soon be open­ing its first Propul­sion and Con­trols man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Jo­han­nes­burg.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Rail­ways con­trol sys­tems are be­ing up­graded in eThek­wini to al­low trains to run mere min­utes apart.

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