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W W W. R A I LWAY S A N D H A R B O U R S . C O M
The 18-day freight rail strike during strike is supposedly over they remain loosened on curves, for instance –
May and the largely parallel passenger basically in the same position”. probably account for something like
disruption – which began a week later Obviously, he concluded, this is R70 million in making good damage.
but took until 1 June before services going to cause job losses - and that’s Four burned out coaches set Prasa
normalised – pushed South Africa back an interesting point. Strike-makers back by almost R20 million alone.
a great deal more than most people see only today’s paypacket, not the
seem to realise. For the first time in diminished number of paypackets Which brings us to the sting in the tail.
150 years, no passenger trains ran tomorrow – nor the inflated cost of South African Transport and Allied
anywhere in the entire country. That every commodity, six months down Workers’ Union (Satawu) general
went on for seven consecutive days, the line. Raise the price of transport secretary, Zenzo Mahlangu, is quoted
causing unprecedented hardship to drastically – by three times the rate of saying the “large increase” has created
thousands who could not get to work, inflation, for example - and up goes a basis from which “fair wage deals
severely impacting on industry and the price of everything on the table could be signed in future negotiations”.
commerce. Agriculture reported severe likewise; costing that much more just to How’s that for some pretty clear writing
transport dislocation. The inevitable live, with jobs down and the country’s on the wall?
consequence is reduced confidence in economy roundly hammered.
the railway and more traffic lost to the
road. Where is government to find massive
unbudgeted millions, the sort of money
Some things are lost forever. Seven needed to meet the huge adjustments
days’ worth of seats unsold on agreed (like 12% at Prasa; even more
passenger trains, for instance, must at Transnet)? What is the effect going Phillippa Dean
represent a small fortune in revenue to be on Prasa, repeatedly bewailing
that can never be recovered (not to its desperate shortage of funding, Footnote: Politicians in London are pressing for
mention the effect of a further two its antiquated rolling stock? Recent total driverless train operation, to remove what
weeks’ very restricted service on many warnings say intercity service will they term the unions’ “stranglehold” and their
routes). collapse within two years, failing radical ability to bring the city to a standstill. (See Pete the
action. How many jobs are at risk in a Pundit on page 6).
South African Shippers’ Council pending Shosholoza Meyl demise –
executive director, L M Pelser, listed and what will 12% pay increases be
some costly post-strike port realities worth then?
(notably at Durban), such as ships
offloading containers but sailing minus That isn’t all, of course. To achieve
the export boxes that did not make it settlement, the negotiators had their
into the vessel-stack on time. arms twisted to grant a R1,000 one-
off payment to every employee, “to
“Cargo owners,” Pelser was quoted compensate for pay lost during the
saying, “could not export or import strike”. On top of that, dirty tricks during
during the strike and now that the the strike – derailments caused by rails
Opinion: Pete the Pundit 6
Industry Comment 8
Comfortable, quiet, New CEO for Cape Town station
Africa Update 10
fast – and now legal RACEC revamped & Century
SA Rail News 14 > Page 2 > Page 4 City opens
> Page 14
Gautrain Update 18
Mishaps & Blunders 24
Stamp Special 30
Railway Heritage 34
End of the Line 36 Gautrain construction Derailments during Zambia’s Bushtracks
update transnet strike changes loco
> Page 18 > Page 24 > Page 34
www.railwaysafrica.com May 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 1
Comfortable, quiet, fast – and now legal
On 2 June, Railways Africa had a second opportunity to “We have done it just in time, with eight days to go to the start
ride Gautrain: a comfortable, quiet and fast seven minutes of the 2010 Fifa World Cup,” deputy minister Cronin pointed
from Marlboro to OR Tambo International. The occasion was out, but emphasised that the Gautrain contract had been
a function in the airport station, where Bombela Operating signed before the event was awarded to South Africa, and
Company CEO, Alain Esteve, received the Railway Safety had never been a World Cup project.
Regulator’s safety permit from deputy minister of transport
Jeremy Cronin. He quoted Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa)
CEO Lucky Montana’s observation that South Africa had
“This is the critical moment when Gautrain graduates from missed out on several technical “renaissances” in the world
its construction phase to being an operating railway,” Cronin of transport. With initiatives such as Gautrain, however, the
explained. Conceding that he had been critical of the project country could begin to catch up.
in the past and had some “minor reservations”, he said he
was not going to be a “party pooper” at this stage: “I share MORE GAUTRAINS ELSEWHERE?
along with all of you the excitement at what we are doing here People from elsewhere in South Africa can be expected to
with Gautrain and the steps we are taking with the project.” want similar “wonderful coaches” in their own areas, Cronin
said and he saw no reason why similar levels of technology
A “FANTASTIC RIDE” could not be implemented elsewhere.
Cronin commented on the train’s ability to travel at 160km/h
and said it was a “fantastic ride”, adding: “The Gautrain A spokesman for the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR)
agency has driven this with tremendous passion and skill.” explained that although physically Gautrain differs from
other rail systems in South Africa, the standards set for it are
There were many positive things that could be said about just as stringent.
the project, he continued. It is probably the largest public-
private-participation programme happening in South Africa, RSR CEO, Mosenngwa Mofi, congratulated Bombela on
and everyone involved had learned a lot: “Clearly, in the fulfilling its legal obligations including the approved safety
provision of major infrastructure, this is the way we have to management system. He said: “We remain positive that our
go, so in this, Gautrain has played a pioneering role”. collective efforts at improving safety will lead to a Gautrain
that is safe, secure and on track.”
Authorising the system to carry fare-paying
passengers meant that Gautrain was now up
and running – and fully legal
2 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Deputy transport minister Jeremy Cronin and Alain Esteve, CEO of the Bombela
Operating Company proudly display Gautrain's Railway Safety certificate.
www.railwaysafrica.com / / /
www.railwaysafrica.com May 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3
New CEO for RACEC
On 31 May 2010, Charles John Harrod retired as chief Gary Lee Harrod
executive officer of Racec Group Ltd. He has held this
position since 2002 and steps down after a long and
successful career with the company spanning 31 years.
Charles Harrod began his career at the South African
Transport Services (Sats – now Transnet Freight Rail) in 1966
as draughtsman in the chief electrical engineer’s office. He
left Sats in 1975 and joined the electrical contracting
division of Racec four years later, in Johannesburg. His
responsibilities were primarily railway electrification design
and construction projects, later expanded into township
reticulation, transmission line erection and underground
locomotive line projects. Charles Harrod set up Racec‘s
electrical division in 1987, which afterwards expanded
into the Eastern Cape and subsequently became Racec
GROWTH WITH STABILITY
Racec Electrification has grown into the major electrical
reticulation contractor in the Western and Southern Cape,
as well as being an important contributor to the success
of the Racec group. In December 1988, Charles Harrod,
together with key members of management, supported
by Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank, successfully
achieved a management buy-out of the group from Metkor. going ahead in the near future. “So projects are coming
together, and even during the tough economic times, we
Charles was instrumental in Racec’s listing on the JSE have managed to retain our skills. Racec has a reputation to
Alternative Exchange in 2007. His successful conclusion be proud of; we deliver on time and our quality is excellent,”
of several acquisitions since listing has added significant he says.
value to Racec. During this time, the group has diversified
its activities from pure platelaying into the electrification ABOUT GARY LEE HARROD:
sector and has broadened its presence throughout South Gary Harrod was granted a Grinaker bursary in 1990
Africa and into Africa. to study at the University of Cape Town. He holds a
BSc in construction management and has completed a
Charles will continue to serve as a non-executive director construction management programme at the University of
of Racec, consulting on strategic and operational matters. Stellenbosch MBA School. He is married with two children.
IN SAFE HANDS Joining Racec Electrification in 1998 as contracts manager,
Gary Lee Harrod succeeds Charles, his appointment Gary was responsible for the supervision and co-ordination
becoming effective on 1 June 2010. “I am looking forward of multiple construction projects, and the implementation
to the future. While we haven’t been left unscathed by the of newly legislated government and company policies. He
recession and it’s by no means over, the future is looking has been actively involved in the overall management of
much better.” Reflecting on his career at Racec, Gary, the Racec group, of which he has been a director (as well
concludes there have been a number of highlights, but he as managing director of subsidiary Racec Electrification)
is particular proud of his involvement in the listing process. since 2002.
A number of infrastructure projects, previously on hold, are
4 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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PETE THE PUNDIT at the
RAILWAY SALE-ROOMS, ABOARD THE FASTEST TRAIN IN
AFRICA AND ON THE DOWNSIDE OF STRIKES
It isn’t every day you can buy locomotives, passenger Its cruel, that’s what it is, and chanting “the right to strike
coaches, freight wagons and other railway items too is enshrined in the constitution” rubs salt into an already
numerous to mention on auction. However, once a month nasty wound.
for auctioning off desirable railway assets isn’t bad going.
In fact, it’s good to know that people still pay money for At the other end of the scale, there are well-to-do entities
railway artefacts; far too many go out at night and help bearing the brunt of weeks of determined inaction that
themselves. has absolutely nothing to do with them. Such as Rovos Rail,
in which one man (who invested all he had in what started
For instance, all 382 wagons on offer at Transnet Freight out as a pipe-dream) has single-handedly done more for
Rail’s sale that closed on 13 April were sold, Peter South African tourism than almost anyone we know.
Bagshawe tells us. There was a loco too - class 14E 14-
102 - though little more than a body-shell and frames were According to Rohan Vos, who has single-handedly created
left, this being an accident casualty. The interior had been employment for hundreds, “The strike cost us dearly. We
gutted and bogies were not included. had to cancel two complete journeys to Cape Town. We
had to leave trains in Kimberley and fly people out. That
Other bargain lots included happened to two trains. And we had to leave a train in
seven Toyota rail trolleys, Durban.” This was due to Transnet staff not coming to work
a Suzuki Samurai road/rail and locomotives not being available. “Signals were not
trolley (all non-runners) and working, all sorts of things. It’s been a hugely difficult time
a working Plasser SBR7411 for us,” Vos told the press.
rail ballast regulator with
spares. A 1979 Funkey According to a Sapa report, Vos said the company had
inspection trolley remained received numerous claims for costs, which it was honouring.
unsold. At the auction which
Loco 14-102 at Deelfontein on 26 October
closed on 27 May 2010, 60 2005, after the Blue Train and the Trans- Perhaps we should be grateful to Maria Ramos for taking
wagons went for R1,520,000, Karoo went bump in the night. SAA out of Transnet – otherwise the planes wouldn’t have
together with an historic Photo: Die Burger. been flying either.
(though burned out) 1937
2M1 motor coach converted for driver training. Two 1958 LOOK MA, NO DRIVERS - AND NO STRIKES
class 31 (GE U12B) diesel locos - 31-025 and 041 - are Recalling there were 20 days of UK rail strikes between 31
believed to have fetched R131,000. December 2005 and 23 December 2009, the Conservative
group on the London Assembly has made a proposal to city
Eight L1T coaches were knocked down for R175,000. executive mayor Boris Johnson: Make all the London tube
trains driverless, fire all the drivers (thereby avoiding strike
disruptions) and save £141 million annually in wages.
The Victoria and Central lines already use driverless
technology, it is pointed out – as well as London’s Docklands
Light Rail system. Removing drivers on other lines, it is
suggested “would end the stranglehold militant unions have
on the city’s tube network and seriously curtail their ability
to bring London to a standstill. Driverless trains offer a safer,
faster, more efficient level of service.”
FASTEST TRAIN IN AFRICA
The L1T coaches were part of the mid-eighties’ “Metroblitz” trains which linked
Pretoria and Johannesburg in 42 minutes, reaching speeds of 160km/h. By way of
comparison, Gautrain is to link Pretoria and Johannesburg in 42 minutes, reaching
speeds of 160km/h. Snap!
TRANSNET STRIKE COSTS ROVOS
One can understand workers wanting to strike over
differences with their employers. A growing number of
people, however, find it difficult to reconcile so-called
industrial action when it brings unimaginable hardship to
innocent people who do not deserve its consequences.
This is especially the case when hundreds of thousands Sorry guys: At 160km/h, Gautrain is not the fastest in
are prevented from getting to work. Most victims are from Africa: all those press stories got it wrong. Alstom Prima II
the poorest sector of the population, those to whom finding locomotives like this have been hauling 15-car Moroccan
extra travelling money means even less on a table that trains at 160km/h since around 2008. Typical schedule:
may be little more than bare at the best of times. And Rabat 13:25, Casablanca (91km) 14:30. Average 140km/h.
adding an hour or two to an already overlong daily journey Current construction envisages TGV-type trains running at
makes life just that much more unbearable. 320km/h by 2015.
6 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Dave van der Meulen, managing member, Railway Corporate Strategy CC
TYPES OF FREIGHT logistics. Their fixed guideways
Freight falls into two fundamental categories. First there is constrain the scope of movements in
low-value, high-density freight, typically bulk agricultural which they can naturally participate:
or mineral commodities prior to beneficiation. If the vehicle Participation at higher levels is
profile is sufficiently large, it achieves heavy axle load on therefore at the discretion of logistics
rail with relative ease. Secondly there is high value, low- integrators at these levels.
density freight, typically intermediate or finished goods.
As a rule, the higher the value added, the less dense the Consider now the time value of common bulk commodities.
goods, though display and protective packaging contribute Prices per ton range from iron ore @ $US100-110, coal @
to reducing density. It is often challenging to achieve a $150-200, to maize @ $150-300, while real discount rates
heavy axle load on rail with high value-added freight. range from 3% to 5% per annum. The time value per hour
is therefore (discount rate)/(24x365): Dividing any discount
In South Africa, and seemingly only in South Africa as a rate by 8,760 renders it negligible - a small fraction of one
Google search will show, one comes across the term rail- cent per ton per hour, even at maximum price and rate. Such
friendly freight. What does it mean? Freight is lifeless and freight typically moves from stockpile to stockpile, or silo to
therefore cannot be friendly: Only people can be friendly. In silo, at the natural speed of the applicable transport mode.
logistics, the freight owner or his agent is the customer, and
the railway is a service provider. By the nature of business It is thus natural that heavy-haul railways should align
relationships, the customer’s friendliness will recognise the themselves to business that demands a comparatively
supplier with the best offering. Disappointingly, one seldom low level of logistics integration. Other than occasional
comes across the reciprocal term, logistics-friendly rail. It is opportunities for direct loading to vessels, rail transport
therefore useful to reflect on how freight railways relate to of bulk commodities is therefore largely decoupled from
freight logistics. other activities in the logistics chain. Possibly lumpy
integration can work because the time value of commodities
RAILWAYS IN THE WORLD OF LOGISTICS transported in this way is low.
Consider first the logistics industry hierarchy from the
perspective of the level of integration provided by its Furthermore, volumes are so large that direct rail access
members. First party logistics concerns the consignor at the points of origin and destination is taken for granted.
or consignee, one of which owns the freight and possibly Such “door-to-door” rail service is frequently difficult to
the means of transport as well. A second party logistics realise with high-value freight, which therefore gravitates to
provider is an asset-based carrier that actually owns the road - unless the axle load is sufficiently high, and the haul
means of transport, and which may offer limited value-added distance sufficiently long, to offset the cost of intermodal
services such as track-and-trace. A third party logistics transshipment to or from rail at one or more intermediate
provider, in addition to transport, offers basic value- nodes.
added services, such as warehousing, pick-and-pack, and
distribution. It owns at least one of them, and may contract IMPLICATIONS FOR RAIL
the remainder to other parties, but it is not independent. A How does one achieve fundamental railway competitiveness,
fourth party logistics provider is an independent, non-asset- and how does it relate to the logistics industry? Consider
based integrator of a client’s supply and demand chains. now the degrees of freedom of movement of transport
modes, ie on how many mutually perpendicular axes a
The more a logistics service provider is asset-based, the mode can move simultaneously.
lower its level of integration; and the less a logistics service
provider is asset-based, the higher its level of integration. Air transport supports three degrees of freedom of
The implications for railways are clear: Their asset movement - forward, lateral, and vertical. At a price, it can
intensiveness naturally positions them in second party offer high origin-destination flexibility and short journey
SISHEN (861 km)
times. The latter stem not only from its inherently high
speed, but also from its ability to minimise route distance by
UPINGTON VROLIK (791 km)
flying great circle routes over natural obstacles, eg Chicago
to Delhi over the Arctic Ocean. Hence, air transport ideally
AGGENEYS PADDAGAT ORANGE RIVER
KOLKE (531 KM)
complements high-integration logistics management for
high-value freight. Surface transport sacrifices the vertical
HALFWEG (445 KM)
SOUS (371 KM)
degree of freedom of movement. In so doing, it reduces
BITTERFONTEIN KANAKIES (274 KM)
the cost of transport, but the remaining two degrees of
CALVINIA ROSMEAD freedom, forward and lateral, require it to overcome surface
OCEAN KNERSVLAK (183 KM)
obstacles, eg circumnavigating the Cape of Good Hope
between Europe and Asia, and passing mountain ranges
KREEFBAAI (91 KM)
OLIFANTS RIVER BEAUFORT WEST
DWARSKERSBOS (41 KM)
and bridging watercourses over land. This pitches surface
transport at lower value freight, or tends to confine its
contribution to high-integration logistics management for
high-value freight to local collection or delivery. Guided
ROBERTSON PORT ELIZABETH
surface transport further sacrifices the lateral degree
of freedom of movement - the remaining single degree
of freedom only allows a vehicle to move forward (and
SISHEN - SALDANHALINE
OTHER RAILWAYS backward) on its guideway. This constrains the amount of
value that high-integration logistics management can add,
100 200 400
but can deliver lowest transport cost in high volume corridors.
South Africa’s 861km heavy-haul export iron ore line from Sishen to Saldanha.
8 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
A natural affinity between the degrees of freedom of
movement of a transport mode, and the level of logistics The only intermodal
integration that it can support, is therefore evident. load unit that has gained
critical mass in global
KEY QUESTIONS logistics thus far is the
Confinement to a guideway is not necessarily insur- container, usually to ISO
mountable. Indeed, while a fixed guideway does challenge standards. Note, however,
the logistics of high-value freight movements, it concurrently that the North American
offers attractive opportunities in particular applications. market considers 40-foot
The presence of a guideway supports precise application ISO containers small, Bi-modal: a “Roadrailer” in Australia.
of wheel loads, secure lateral direction, and combination hence emergence there
of vehicles into trains. These characteristics underlie the of the larger 48-foot and 53-foot US domestic
genetic technologies bearing, guiding, and coupling, that containers. ISO containers have a lock on the maritime
give railways an unbeatable competitive advantage in market, so will likely prevail there for a long time. However,
particular market spaces. as continental and intercontinental rail landbridges have
emerged, and continue to emerge, it will be interesting to
Regarding freight rail, bearing and coupling support heavy observe whether US domestic containers become a global
haul. Bearing, coupling, and guiding support double- railway standard on routes that have no maritime sector.
stacked containers (think of it as heavy-haul with a dash of
speed). Two other prominent combinations are high-speed
intercity and urban rail, but passenger rail is outside the
scope of this piece. Heavy-haul has already made its mark
in South Africa, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Africa.
Double-stacking of containers is at once conspicuous by
its absence from Africa, and an opportunity to enter a
logistics market space where rail walks tall.
South African container train near Swartruggens. Photo: Eugene Armer.
Double-stacking of containers in the USA: a concept conspicuous by its CONCLUSION
absence from Africa. Where is rail logistics in South Africa headed? Most high-
value freight has already left rail. Judging by the number
SOME CRITICAL INSIGHTS of side-tipper interlinks seen on the roads, even heavy
The foregoing analysis has not introduced any novel bulk commodities are moving to road. The fundamentals
concepts, but simply set out to explore effective of logistics are not going to adapt to suit railways in Africa.
railway positioning from a logistics perspective, so that Can the converse happen, ie can railways in Africa become
stakeholders may direct their aspirations and efforts logistics-friendly?
appropriately. As a caution, it is worth noting that over
the years there have been several attempts, possibly The foregoing discussion has indicated how railways can
misguided, to re-jig the natural relation between logistics fit into a national freight logistics task, or relate even
and railways. In principle, they have sought to combine further afield to continental and intercontinental horizons.
the origin-destination flexibility of road with the long-haul Freight railways need to align the category of traffic they
economy of rail. convey with an appropriate level of logistics integration. The
strong performance of heavy-haul and double-stacking in
They include bi-modal systems such as RoadRailer and the global railway renaissance rests on mutually supportive
RailRunner (United States), multiple units for containers alignment between level of logistics integration and rail
such as CargoSprinter (diesel, Germany) and Super Rail competitiveness.
Cargo (electric, Japan), automated single vehicles such
as CargoMover (Germany), and swap bodies (Europe). Bi- That does not mean that there are no other areas of rail
modal systems tend to need fixed routes with balanced logistics that could work. It does however suggest that
traffic flows to ensure that bogie or vehicle turnaround areas exist where natural rail competitiveness is not a
cycles remain balanced. However, for this reason they are good fit with the logistics challenges at hand. Before
not as flexible as many lay people believe: not one has yet attempting to position freight railways where they could
developed critical mass in mainstream logistics. not compete effectively, stakeholders would do well to
recall Emerson’s assertion that nothing great was ever
Reflection on the relation between level of logistics achieved without great enthusiasm. As yet, there is no
integration and degrees of freedom of movement suggests empirical evidence in Africa of enthusiasm for a new take
where proponents of the above mentioned concepts may on aligning logistics and railways.
have lost the plot. Logistically, they try to elevate rail service
beyond its natural level of integration. Technically, they fail It would therefore be useful to recognise the inherent
to achieve axle loads significantly higher than road, which is limitations and opportunities of competitive railway logistics
not a sound foundation for rail competitiveness. While other and then take the fight to issues that can potentially
explanations may exist, it is evident that there is prima facie reposition freight railways in Africa and South Africa for
mismatch between their level of logistics integration and competitiveness and sustainability.
www.railwaysafrica.com May 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 9
ALGERIA various regions of the country. Replying to suggestions that
ALGERIAN 5-YEAR RAIL PROGRAMME many construction projects undertaken by China in Africa
Nearly $US38 billion has been allocated as part of Algeria’s have run into problems, Shen Jiru of the Chinese Academy
public investment programme for 2010-2014 to promote of Social Sciences is quoted saying: “We are providing
overall development in the transport sector. The main free-interest loans and aid, and we are a reliable backup for
objective is to upgrade and extend the railway network Africa’s economic development.”
between 2012 and 2015. Electric tramways are to be built
in 14 towns. Part of the national reconstruction process Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi defends the railway deal,
launched ten years ago, the complete programme involves saying “It’s in their (China’s) interest to spend tens of billions
a budget of $US286 billion for 2010-2014. of dollars in Africa and it’s in our interest to have access to
those tens of billions of dollars.”
Consultants undertaking a pre-feasibility study into the
proposed 1,500km Trans-Kalahari Railway (TKR) are
expected to report by October. It is now suggested that
the line should start at Lobatse and run through western
Botswana to Walvis Bay in Namibia. The World Bank and the
governments of Botswana and Namibia are involved, but it
is expected that the $US1.4 billion project will be funded
mainly by the private sector.
Entities interested in the scheme include Canada’s Hana
Mining, whose Ghantsi project has impressive resources
in copper and silver. Its plans for commercial production in
2015 would prefer a cost-effective route to an Atlantic port. Locos at Dire Dawa on the existing 781km metre-gauge Ethio-Djibouti Railway,
Australian company Discovery Metals Limited (DML), which CFDE (Chemin de fer Djibouti-Ethopien). Photo: Dietmar Fiedel.
is developing its Boseto Copper Project, would also use the
proposed line as an export route. It foresees producing 3m GHANA
tonnes of copper annually, starting in December 2011. GHANA: TEMA RAIL ON TARGET
Current upgrading of the 10km Accra-Tema line should
CIC Energy, which is developing an export coal mine and be completed by July 2010, says resident engineer Enyo
coal-fired power station in eastern Botswana, hopes to Matrevi. Work is about 50% finished (as far as Asoprochona),
produce between 16 million and 17 million tonnes of export with the team working “round the clock” to meet the
quality coal for the European market. schedule. The project, transport minister Mike Hamah
explains, is in line with government plans to improve the
EGYPT country’s railway, an important objective being to ease
EGYPT TO SPEND E£40BN traffic congestion. Extension of the suburban lines to
A 10-year plan has been launched by the Egyptian Railway include the Accra-Winneba, Achimota and Nsawam sections
Authority (ERA) involving development projects worth E£40 is also set down as part of the immediate to medium-term
billion over the period 2011-2020. These are to include the phase.
building of several new lines, according to a report in the
Al-Mal newspaper, which points out that the existing network A feasibility study is being undertaken to extend – in the
is focused on the Nile delta area. Essentially, most lines long term - the western line northwards to Paga on the
radiate from Cairo. border with Burkina Faso.
More than $US2 billion is to be injected into the rail system
to facilitate the movement of goods along the 306km
KENYA RE-TENDERS BUILDING OF THE NEW RAILWAY
The first attempt by Kenya Railways Corporation to appoint
experts to design the proposed new standard gauge line
failed because their quotations exceeded the amount
budgeted by government. According to press reports,
“the project to design a new railway between Mombasa
and Malaba with a branch line to Kisumu attracted interest
Egyptian train at a station in Cairo.
from 16 firms.” A tender was in fact accepted and a contract
ETHIOPIA awarded to the Italian firm Italferr but it was cancelled soon
CHINESE HELP FOR RAIL BUILDING IN ETHIOPIA afterwards, “when the corporation realised the successful
A loan of more than $US100 million from China is to help bid at Sh1.2 billion was above the government’s Sh700
Ethiopia build railways linking the capital, Addis Abeba, to million-budget.”
10 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
AFRICA UPDATE AFRICA UPDATE
TRL director general Narasimhaswami Jayaram company
According to the same source, “A South Korean said that RVR commercial manager new diesel-electric Geoffrey
including the acquisition of 40 in Kampala, multiple-
two goods trains comprising 23 wagons would be conveying
was awarded the tender by an evaluation committee but Tindimwebwa saysthis, rates will still would be than those
unit trainsets. Of the $200 million be lower raised by
various commodities including second team that gave the
that decision was quashed by a cement from the Tanga charged an infrastructure bond and“Our rest would come
issuing by road freight hauliers. the rates have been
contract to the Italians.” steady since last October before the fuel prices rose andnew
from the government’s annual budget. The design of a the
price of steel spiralled,” he points out, whereas the truckers
line linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the city
The parliamentary committee on infrastructure and raise rates every time the fuel price changes. “Also, we have
centre is complete.
transport chaired by Matungu MP, David Were, it is reported,
TAZARA TARIFFS UPPED had a negative result from the weakening dollar as most of
New investigate the legality of the cancellation.
is to fares applicable on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway came our rates are in that currency. It has been losing value, while
into effect on 1 July. Ticket prices on ordinary passenger the prices of our inputs have been going up.”
An official who did not want to be quoted told Business
trains as well as the Tazara Express went up 20% while
parcels and luggage rates that out of the 16 bidsfrom Dar-
Daily (published in Nairobi) rose 30%. Travellers received, ZAMBIA
es-Salaam in Tanzania to Kapiri Mposhi in “Some of thepay
only two firms met KRC’s requirements. Zambia now 14 RSZ TAKEN TO TASK
Tsh72,600 ($US72) questioned the the Tazara Express, up
bidders, however, in first class on integrity of the tender In an editorial, The Times of Zambia takes Rail Systems of
evaluation process, claiming that their financial bid
from Tsh60,500 ($US60). Zambia (RSZ), the concessionaire running Zambian Railways,
documents had been tampered with even after they were to task for buying “brand new motor vehicles worth $US1.4
To Makambako (Iringa) from stages. ‘I received a costs
eliminated in the preliminary Dar-es-Salaam now letter million”, while apparently falling short in service delivery.
Tsh29,000 me that instead ofhad been unsuccessful,’ said
informing ($US29) my bid Tsh24,200 ($US24). To Rujewa “While the company has every right to purchase vehicles for
a bidder who cannot be named because he plans to take
(Mbeya) the fare is now Tsh29,900 ($US29) instead of operations, we feel their priorities are misplaced,” the paper
part in future tendering. What surprised me was that our
Tsh24,900 ($US24). writes.
financial bid envelope appeared to have been opened after
we had been disqualified.’”
Tazara managing director Clement Subulwa Mwiya points “Gone are the days,”Nairobi commuter train. the railway network
it laments, “when
out thatMay company’s policy is to adjust tariffs project is
On 18 the it was announced that the design annually. was the most reliable mode of transport in Zambia. “It was so
High operational costs are beinguntil 25 June to makein the
being retendered. Bidders had experienced, notably their reliable SERVICE ON GUINEA LINEline was Zambia’s favourite
PUBLIC and cheap, that the rail REVIVED
wage bill and A notice in local newspapersdiesel. Tazara is
submissions. the continually rising cost of said the tender mode of transport, offloadingand Liberia have agreed to
The governments of Guinea goods and passengers in
upgrading its facilities at a cost of $US10 million, he says,
is for preliminary design, environmental and social impact remote BSG Resources (Guinea) Ltd mining joint venture to
permit areas where roads were inaccessible.
and 18 locomotives are for the proposed currently whose
assessment services being rehabilitated railway, build a new iron ore export line from the Simandou area of
construction is to begin in 2012. “The failure Guinea to provide safetyLiberian coast. In return,
south-east by RSZ to Didia on the and reliability has forced
UGANDA many Zambians to abandon rail transport in general freight
the firm has agreed to revive passenger and preference for
MAIN-LINE AT JINJA REOPENS RAILWAY
SQUATTERS OBSTRUCT NAIROBI the faster and more reliable road transport. ItChemins dethat
service on the 662km metre-gauge line of was hoped fer
The main-line to around NairobiKenya, closed near JinjaRift
slum area Kampala from is a huge problem to on when Zambia Railways was concessioned to RSZ, things
de Guinée (CFG).
14 May following the collapse of an in the way of ambitious
Valley Railways (RVR) – and stands embankment due to a would change for the better.”
government plans to provide a fast, substantially upgraded
blocked culvert, was reopened to traffic on 16 June. During Brazilian mining firm Vale announced a $US2.5bn deal in
the four weeks that thepresent, trains inoperable, freight was
commuter service. At line remained cannot move safely at [RSZ in terms of sorely run-down system a 51% is taking in
April inherited a which it has acquired which interest a
speeds above 20km/h.
offloaded at Iganga and taken forward by road. According great deal of holds and money to put right. Theto significant
BSG, which time half the concession rights rosy past of
to Rift Valley Railways (RVR) project manager Glenn Kleyn, railways in thesources dates back to the days when it was
undeveloped country of high-grade iron ore that could
quoted by New Vision (published in Kampala) RVR general
The Nation, published in the city, quotes a new three- called Northern Rhodesia – but nobody Though Simandou is
support a long-term mining project. will want to remember
manager for the eastern region, James Nyambari, saying
metre diameter galvanised iron culvert has been installed, that. – editor] nearest access to the Atlantic is the coast
in Guinea, the
to provide adequate outlet the stormwater togarbage on the
“the biggest headache is for dumping of drain into Lake of Liberia.
Victoria, about a kilometre downstream. to remove the trash
track. People are employed almost daily
from the railway and then wagons are used to take it away.” The CFG line connects the capital Conakry on the coast
Kleyn said the repair work was being done at mile 323. In to 4 - 6 March 2009
the Upper Niger and Kankan regions. The first 36km of
addition, overflows onto investigating a structure at mile 289
Sewage the company is the track in some areas, making route out of Conakry has seen occasional use but the
towards Busembatia. resulting in wheel slip. Sometimes,
it muddy and slippery, remainder has seen no service in 15 years. Additional rights
because of this, RVR has to double up locomotives to
ZIMBABWE at Simandou are held by Rio Tinto, which
to exploit ore
“It (mile 289) is not in any alternatively, trains but we are
obtain sufficient traction or immediate danger have to be signed a “non-binding” memorandum of understanding
NEW Chinalco in March 2010, agreeing to establish a joint
investigating and drawing up designs,” he told the issued by
split in two at Kibera station. A 30-day deadline paper. with NRZ SERVICE
the government on 21 March, requiring people to move The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has introduced
venture covering the development and operation of mines
from railway property, came and went. Kenyan director of a new weekly passenger service to Chicualacuala, 500km
plus associated rail and port infrastructure.
UGANDA RATES INCREASE
Amnesty International, Justus Nyang’aya, estimating that south-east of Bulawayo on the line to Maputo. The existing
Rift Valley Railways (RVR) asked increased freight rates
50,000 people are involved, has for an extension saying: Wednesday train to Chiredzi has been rescheduled to leave
between Mombasa and Kampala proposed mass evictions
“Without proper safeguards, the from $US80 per tonne to Bulawayo at 14:00 on Wednesday instead of 21:00. Arriving
MOZAMBIQUE RAILWAY MUSEUM
$110.have a managing director Roy Puffet explained in July:
will Former devastating impact on people’s access to at 04:00 on Thursday, it the World 05:00 torecently visited
Dr John Middleton of returns at Bank Mbizi junction,
“The tariff adjustment was driven by continued upward costs
water, sanitation, food and schools and could well create a and continues from there to Chicualacuala. Following a
Maputo and Moatize on business. He reported on sar-L:
of energy, petroleum products and steel. The price of diesel
humanitarian emergency.” 14:00 station at Maputoback to Bulawayo, arriving clean but
“The departure, it runs always seems neat and on Friday
has gone up by 24% in the last eight months and there is morning. The Chiredzi-Bulawayo April wasretains its former
a pleasant surprise found on 18 service the construction
double digit inflation as well as dollar revaluation”. managing
A recently completed study, says Kenya Railways timing on railway museum, although this has not yet opened.
of a CFM other days of the week.
director Nduva Muli, established it will cost about $US250 It is being created on the four bay-platform tracks at the
million to revamp the commuter rail service in Nairobi, west end of the station. All four are under the overall roof
Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540
18 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008
May 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 11
with the inner two within a building. Various hoardings of the new GE locomotives at Kano. He was quoted saying:
have been erected describing the work and the overall “The arrival of the locomotive engine in Kano signifies the
impression is of a well thought-out project. So far the success of the first steps in our efforts towards launching a
only large exhibits are three magnificently restored teak new era in rail transport system in Nigeria.”
bodied coaches and a van. Staff at the station indicated
that locomotives would also be included and this probably The delivery of the unit from Lagos - one of five received
explains why Henschel Garratt 972 was brought down from by the NRC recently - was in preparation for launching a
Gondola to Maputo. Standing outside the museum was a Challowa-Kano passenger service. Refurbished coaches are
complete Hitachi railcar. being supplied from Zaria.
“Apart from the new line laid into Moatize station, the derelict The loco, writes Phillip Oladunjoye in the Daily Independent,
locomotives there do not appear to have been touched. quoting Sijuwade, is a 2,500hp General Electric 7FDL12-
The survival of the two Mallets is remarkable and given the cylinder C25-EMPD model weighing 105.9 metric tons, with
scrapping of all SAR Mallets, they should be preserved, the a maximum speed capability of 103km/h. “The robustly
perfect place being the new CFM museum.” built locomotive has design adaptability to the corporation’s
existing 1,067mm cape gauge. All C25-EMPD locomotive
engines were specifically manufactured to be resilient and
dependable in tropical domain such as ours. They comply
with Nigeria’s weight per axle and clearance characteristics.”
In readiness for the Kano launch, Sijuwade said the
corporation has completed construction of two new halt
stations with platforms in Gandu-Albasa and Zawa-ciki.
Signal and telecommunication facilities have been provided
between Challowa and Kano, and six level crossings have
been equipped with barriers.
Preserved loco at Maputo station.
TRANSNET STRIKE CRIPPLED TRANSNAMIB
Struggling as it is with serious financial problems,
TransNamib – the national railway of Namibia – was said
to be losing N$500,000 every day as a result of the 18-day
Transnet wage strike in South Africa during May 2010. It
had a “paralysing impact” on building and mining, with
supplies of cement and ammonia brought in from South
Africa at a standstill.
New Nigerian GE loco.
Under normal circumstances, TransNamib spokesperson,
Ailly Hangula-Paulino, was quoted saying, between 300 SUDAN
and 400 Transnet wagons are to be found on the Namibian NILE VALLEY RAILWAYS
rail system. While the strike continued, this rolling stock Citadel Capital, a leading private equity firm in the Middle
could not be moved back to South Africa, carrying cargo East and Africa with $US8.3 billion in investments in 15
such as zinc concentrate from Namibian mines. This resulted industries spanning 14 countries, has signed a right-of-way
in “very substantial” losses and commodity shortages. agreement with the Sudanese Railway Corporation (SRC),
the first step in fledgling rail operator Nile Valley Railways’
NIGERIA (NVR) entry into the promising Sudanese market. The
PLIGHT OF NIGERIA’S RAIL PENSIONERS agreement will allow NVR to offer freight services on SRC
According to Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) managing lines under a revenue-sharing agreement. SRC operates
director, Adeseyi Sijuwade, the verification of pensioners more than 4,500km of route linking the key coastal city
begun in November 2009 has created a dependable of Port Sudan to Khartoum, Wadi Halfa on the Egyptian
database reflecting the numerical strength of retirees border and to South Sudan.
(19,033) and the financial implications of their unpaid
pensions. Those who have died were included, through TANZANIA
verification of their next-of-kin. He appealed to the TRL OPERATIONS RESUME
government to facilitate the payment of arrear railway Tanzania’s 2,706km Central Line has resumed operations,
pensions by means of legislation and appropriation during after completion of emergency repairs following huge
the second quarter of 2010. damage caused by the El Nino rains that fell towards the
end of 2009. Minister for infrastructure, Dr Shukuru
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Sijuwade said, is Kawambwa, was quoted by East African Business Week
favourably disposed to finding lasting solutions to the plight saying that repairs cost some $US11 million).
of railway pensioners and hoped that arrears would be paid
off by the end of 2010. The matter has been dragging on for LOANS TO TANZANIA
many years, causing great hardship to retirees. Hundreds, The African Development Bank (AfDB) has lent Tanzania
according to representatives struggling on their behalf, died $US235.45 million to finance infrastructure projects,
in the interim without seeing monies due to them. including a feasibility study on the proposed Tanzania-
Rwanda-Burundi standard-gauge railway. Senior finance
NEW GE LOCO ARRIVES IN KANO ministry official, Ramadhani Kijjah, was quoted saying:
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) managing director “The construction of the Isaka-Kigali line in Rwanda and
Adeseyi Sijuwade has welcomed the safe arrival of the first Keza-Musongati line in Burundi will contribute to the
12 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
implementation of an efficient and low cost transport treasury Likolo Ndalamei, work has been done on 3km
system which will promote regional integration, development of line in the shunting yard, and on the terminal building,
of areas of high mining, industrial and agricultural potential”. which includes offices for the stationmaster, police, Zambia
He explains that “East Africa’s railways have suffered years Revenue Authority and the department of immigration. Water
of mismanagement and underinvestment by government, and power utilities have been connected, landscaping has
leaving them dilapidated, inefficient and costly to run.” commenced and all the level crossings have been completed.
Preliminary discussions on train services have been held
with government officials from Malawi and Central East
African Railways, (Cear), the concessionaire that runs the
Malawi railway network.
CHINESE LOCOS FOR ZIMBABWE
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has signed a
deal with China North for the supply of 14 diesel-electric
“We are still to finalise payment modalities for the company
to start manufacturing,” NRZ public relations manager
Fanuel Masikati told the Xinhua news agency at the end of
May. There are also “long-term plans” to buy passenger
coaches from China. These would be used on routes
Derelict coaches at Dar-es-Salaam. Photo: Richard Grönstedt. linking Harare-Bulawayo, Bulawayo-Beitbridge, Harare-
TUNISIA Bindura and Harare-Chinhoyi.
MAGHREB RAIL CONFERENCE IN TUNIS
Representatives of railway companies from the five STEAM TO PLUMTREE
Maghreb countries - Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania On 9 May, according to the Chronicle (published in
and Tunisia – participated in a conference in Tunis at the Bulawayo), more than 300 people, about 250 of them local
end of May whose theme was “The railway as a vehicle for tourists, boarded a special steam safari train on a trial run
Maghreb integration”. from Bulawayo to Plumtree. “The train departed from
Bulawayo main railway station at 10:00 amid pomp and
Transport minister, Abderrahim fanfare,” the paper reported. “The tourists were offered
Zouari, called for unifying technical world-class treatment by the well-organised railway staff.
choices in the Maghreb railway
and high-speed train projects, and “The train arrived in Plumtree at 14:00, where tourists were
recommended the creation of a treated to a sumptuous lunch which included a braai.
Maghreb institute for the exchange of Guests were treated to entertainment punctuated with
information and sharing of expertise. refreshments and at 15:30 it was time for departure back to
Bulawayo where it docked at 19:00.”
Arab Maghreb Union (Amu) secretary-
general, Habib Ben Yahia, said that
the extension of the Maghreb railway
network, to ultimately link the Libyan
city of Tobruk with the Mauritanian
Signal technicians at work
capital Nouakchott, has always been
among the Maghreb’s unification Photo: Richard Grönstedt
RVR IMPROVES FREIGHT SECURITY
Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is enhancing security
measures to ensure safer movement of containers
to the inland container depots (ICD) at Nairobi and Kampala.
To date, RVR acting chief marketing and commercial
manager, James Nganga, explains, 81 container wagons
have been fitted with protective steel bars, including a
complete train of 40 vehicles.
Garratt taking water at Bulawayo. Photo: NRZ.
Theft from containers in transit, according to the Kenya
international freight and warehousing association (Kifwa) National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) public relations
and the Kenya shippers’ agents’ association, is masterminded manager Fanuel Masikati said this was a trial run ahead
by a cartel that manipulates port clearing systems and of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa: “Steam
breaks into containers. Recent investigations by Kifwa engines are popular with tourists and we are going to run
indicate that containers destined for Uganda, Rwanda and them more often. The response has been overwhelming as
Burundi are most at risk because of the lengthy time they we had people from as far as Harare who came to board
are in transit. the train. It is also popular with visitors from the United
Kingdom, Unites States of America, New Zealand and
ZAMBIA Australia.” He said there were about 50 bookings from
CHIPATA RAILWAY outside the country from tourists who were coming for the
The Zambian government has not yet released the World Cup.
K5 billion to the ministry of works and supply which is
needed to continue construction on the new Chipata- Currently NRZ has three operable steam locomotives. It is
Mchinji (Malawi) railway. According to secretary to the looking to refurbish seven others.
www.railwaysafrica.com May 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 13
SA RAIL NEWS
South African Rail News
TRANSNET RESULTS newly revamped at a cost in excess of R300 million, by
Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) achieved better-than-expected acting Metrorail regional manager Lindelo Matya. The VIPs
results in the financial year to 31 March, despite a decline then travelled by train to Century City, 9km to the east,
in export coal traffic and general freight. Revenues rose where a R450m newly constructed station was officially
by 11.8% to R20.6 billion in the year ending 31 March, helped opened on the Monte Vista-Bellville line. The facility is
by an increased share of the intermodal market and rising serving as one of several specially designated park-and-
bulk volumes towards the end of the period. ride sites during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup events.
Export coal volumes decreased by 0.2% to 61.8 million
tonnes, principally because of operational issues on the
railway. However, export iron-ore volumes continued
strongly upwards, rising 21.5% to 44.7 million tonnes - a 41%
increase over 2005 levels. General freight declined from 78.4
A successful cost cutting campaign saw operating expenses
rising only 3.2% to R13.4 billion.
CONCESSIONING THE BRANCH LINES
TFR has confirmed plans to concession under-utilised
routes to private operators. Expressions of interest were
invited recently for the operation of 7,300km of branch lines,
only 3,928km of which are currently operational. Cape Town station – revamped at a cost of more than R300 million.
Each concessionaire will be required to make the necessary
investment, maintain the lines to agreed standards, and
operate rail services, which might be freight or passenger,
or a combination. The possibility of leasing rolling stock to
concessionaires is being looked at.
Allen Jorgensen, media and research officer at the Railroad
Association of SA, was quoted saying: “The conditions
attached to the concessions have to be attractive enough
to warrant the extensive capital spend needed to achieve
commercial viability. In some cases, kilometres of track have
been stolen and the operators would virtually have to build
from scratch.” New R450m station at Century City, Cape Town. Note overhead concourse.
Jorgensen pointed to the dependence of many lines on
connectivity with the main-lines: “If your service cannot STATION OPENS AT MOSES MABHIDA STADIUM
connect with the Transnet service then your business could On 7 June, a R140 million new station was opened at
collapse.” Appointment of a regulator to ensure fairness of Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium by transport minister
competition, he feels, would be “a vital precursor to entering Sbu Ndebele and KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Willies
such private-sector partnerships.” Mchunu. Construction began in July 2009. The station
will also serve the Absa rugby stadium nearby.
[Jorgensen, who has published extensively on railways,
was a director of the former Alfred County Railway (ACR)
running inland from Port Shepstone - South Africa’s first CLASS 91 DIESELS IN THE OFS
experiment (1988) at independent operation of a branch
line. It closed some years ago and ACR was liquidated in
2004, in the face of untenable competition from heavy rigs on
the road – and other reasons which make for uncomfortable
reading. - Editor]
Two class 91 diesel locomotives have been acquired by Rail Road Logistics
(RRL) in the OFS, Jacque Wepener reports from Welkom. They were formerly
Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) nos 91-011 and 91-012, now RRL 91-01 and 91-02
respectively. The original 610mm gauge bogies are still in use – apparently
ACR’s popular Banana Express. they were cut in half and widened to suit 1,067mm. Each class 91 (GE 700hp
type UM6B, 1973) was seen hauling eight loaded hopper cars – about 672
CAPE TOWN STATION REVAMPED & CENTURY CITY OPENS tons altogether - but appeared to be “struggling”. Photo: Jacque Wepener.
On 8 June, VIPs, including transport minister Sbu Ndebele, [Subsequently it was reported that at least one reworked axle had failed in
service. - Editor]
were welcomed to an inspection of Cape Town main station,
14 RAILWAYS AFRICA May 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
SA RAIL NEWS
GLENCAIRN & SIMON’S TOWN - not yet back on the map
Early in November 2009, exceptional spring tides under- “Rock is being sourced from Somerset West and we are
mined Cape Town’s scenic coastal railway to Simon’s Town. negotiating with Transnet Freight Rail to convey the material
The 6.3km of single track south of Fish Hoek had to be to Simon’s Town. It is hoped to re-open the line during May”.
closed to traffic, with buses substituting for the trains.
During much of May, unfortunately, railway staff went out on
strike and the line is still not open.
Monday 15 March 2010: 10M3 set “H” - one of the first trains to approach
Glencairn in nearly four months. The train-replacement bus to Simon’s Town
can be seen on the road above. Photo: Malcolm Bates.
Flashback: the line near Glencairn at Christmas 2009. Photo: Malcolm Bates.
Damage was less extensive along the first 3.6km to the little
station at Glencairn. During February 2010, piles of seasand
End of the line for now: the view south from Glencairn’s single platform.
covering much of the track were removed and test running
Photo: Paul Kilfoil.
between Fish Hoek to Glencairn commenced. At the time
of going to press, it had not been decided when public
service to Glencairn was to be resumed, but a trainset has
been parked at Glencairn at weekends, Repairs to the line
nearer Simon’s Town will take somewhat longer, with the
cost estimated in the region of R10 million.
On 30 March, Metrorail’s Riana Scott told Railways Africa:
“Approval in principle has been provided to fund the
rehabilitation. The consulting engineers have completed the
design and tenders for the work are in progress. The work
entails repairs to the walls and track formation, concrete
sealing/infill of voids under the wall foundation caused
through scouring by wave action and the provision of a rock
revetment to protect the walls and wall foundations from
Map courtesy of Metrorail.
COMPELLING INSIGHT FROM ORIGINAL RESEARCH
www.railwaysafrica.com May 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 15