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Gm535 ra nov 2010 mr

  1. 1. RAILWAYS | HARBOURS | MINING | INTERMODAL | COMMUTER WWW.RAILWAYSANDHARBOURS.COM For further information, rates and booking details contact Sue Klomp Tel: +27 72 777 0092 Email: 6 – 8 April 2011 EXPO CENTRE – JOHANNESBURG BOOK YOUR STAND NOW! The importance of efficient railways and harbours for our continent’s future dare not be underestimated. As a supplier you need to be at the Railways and Harbours Exhibition - connect, meet and network. Paul Roos Pierre de Wet CONTRIBUTORS Boon Boonzaaier Bruno Martin Dave van der Meulen Dietmar Fiedel Eugene Armer Jacque Wepener John Batwell Martin Welzel Nerina Skuy Richard Grönstedt PUBLISHERS Phillippa Dean Barbara Sheat EDITOR Rollo Dickson DESIGN & LAYOUT Grazia Muto ADVERTISING Sue Klomp SUBSCRIPTIONS Kim Bevan Affiliated Associations & Societies Railways Africa Rail Link Communications cc P.O. Box 4794 Randburg 2125 Tel: +27 87 940 9278 E-mail: Twitter: railwaysafrica Website: ISSN 1029 - 2756 The copyright on all material in this magazine is expressly reserved and vested in Rail Link Communications cc, unless otherwise stated. No material may be reproduced in any form, in part or in whole, without the permission of the publishers. Please note that the opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers of Rail Link Communications unless otherwise stated.
  2. 2. The Railways Africa magazine, complete editions of which, for some time now, can be found at, has been exceptionally well received in digital format. So much so that this very successful, popular and completely free service has now been made a permanent arrangement, as of November 2010, with the opportunity to provide more in-depth coverage including rich media content, more images, video and interactive material. Railways Africa will be printed once a year and released in April at our Railways and Harbours Conference and Exhibition – the next one taking place on 6 to 8 April 2011 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre. More information about this event and this special edition can be found on our website. Digital presentation offers up-to-the-minute dissemination and is without doubt the way of the future: environmentally friendly, cost-efficient – for both reader and publisher – and no carbon footprint either. You can’t get more politically correct than that! Stay tuned for more and we hope you enjoy the journey with us as Railways Africa evolves over the next few months. Notwithstanding nearly a month on strike, a fired railway CEO, four nasty derailments on the ore line and the inter-departmental bicker with Prasa, it moved record volumes of coal. Acting group CEO Chris Wells deserves government recognition for this, and the wherewithal to get the rest of the backlog out of his hair. For almost 20 years, South Africa has been a democratic country. This means we get the government we elect but – unlike some other democratic countries – doesn’t seem to mean we vote it out of power if it bungles home affairs, health, education, policing, broadcasting, SAA and one or two other things. Like electricity – and transport. In his annual report, the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) deplores the “unacceptably high”rate of derailments. Accidents, he points out, cost Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) R576m in the 2008- 2009 financial year, and Metrorail R60m – not including indirect costs caused by delays and cancellations. Average cancellations, incidentally, amount to 10 trains every day (= 3,650 a year) due to accidents and “ security incidents” such as cable theft. The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) commuter system, according to RSR CEO Mosengwa Mofi, is a “major concern”, battling with infrastructure and rolling stock “in a poor state (40% of the fleet more than 37 years old and a third constantly out of service)”. Battling is the word. It’s a mystery that people still manage to get to work in one piece. The signalling system, Mofi says, “is at the end of its economic life, with only 14% of the 162 signalling installations not having exceeded their design life.” This is frightening – you don’t want to even think about the implications. And when you have done nothing for how long – sixteen years? – catching up with the backlog is a formidable business, let alone trying to move forward. Comment Contents Rail Welding 2 Satellite Tracking 6 Opinion: The Wider World 8 Industry Comment 14 Visit to Bloemfontein 18 Industry News 20 Africa Update 22 SA Rail News 30 Mishaps & Blunders 34 Railway Heritage 46 Train Travel 48 End of the Line 52 Semi-Stationary Welding > Page 2 Prasa vs Transnet > Page 8 First Gautrain Breakdown > Page 30 Zimbabwe Derailment > Page 34 The Long Trek to De Aar > Page 48 “Buckeye” Restored > Page 47 However, however - R900 million is to be spent on signals in terms of a new tender just announced – and not a moment too soon. This country of course has a real problem when it comes to actually getting things done. Plans are made, budgets drawn up, vast sums of money allotted - but not, incredibly, spent. In his late-October, medium-term budget, finance minister Pravin Gordhan talked of most (he did say “most”) provincial health departments failing to spend money allocated to them for the revival of “collapsing hospitals”. Then there is money earmarked for one or other important purpose that disappears unaccountably along the way. It happens all the time – the Auditor-General’s recurrent “qualified” reports are so repetitive, he must be running out of carbon paper. Which doesn’t go far in explaining why Minister Gordhan wants R6.8bn to increase salaries within government. From the track record in most departments – and municipalities – one would think downward salary adjustments might more accurately reflect the quality of performance. At least the money will get spent – he can be confident of that. Happily there is some welcome news for hard-pressed local suppliers: the proposed business case for new rolling stock has been approved in principle. Let’s hope the approval translates into reality and someone gets on with it. We can’t be far off a crisis point, one where desperation takes over and ready-made stuff has to be imported - losing us yet more jobs, worsening unemployment and stimulating crime. At least Transnet improved its results in the six months to 30 September. Phillippa Dean November 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA
  3. 3. SUMMARY Around the world, stationary welding plants are used to supply high-quality long rails up to 800m in length. These rails are of sufficient quality to ensure ultimate dependability and low maintenance costs. In markets with limited existing infrastructure, the operation of such welding plant is frequently not an economical proposition and yet when building new lines, maximum quality is still of the essence, right from the outset. Vossloh Rail Services (VRS) has therefore developed its semi-stationary welding technique to allow short rails to be welded into long ones close to the construction site. These long rails measure up to 400m in length and are of a very high quality - on a par with that produced by stationary welding plants. Also, this technique simplifies rail logistics and speeds up the rate of rail infrastructure construction. The outcome: fresh possibilities of building new and upgraded lines even in remote areas or desert regions, economically and to the highest possible safety standards. MOMENTUM FOR THE RAIL MARKETS The Arabian Gulf nations are busy expanding their rail networks. Over the next twenty years, triple-digit, billion- dollar amounts will go into rail transport. In March 2010, the United Arab Emirates signed a strategic partnership agreement with Deutsche Bahn AG for the planning, construction and operation of a rail system. In November 2009, this same company had been awarded multi-billion dollar contracts for building a passenger and goods rail network in Qatar. The Mediterranean countries are another region where rail construction is booming. The Sirt-to-Benghazi project involves the construction of a 554km high-speed line along the Mediterranean coast, linking the biggest cities in Libya and set to form part of an international transport axis in North Africa. Rossiiskie Zheleznie Dorogi (RZhD – the Russian State Railway) was awarded this contract. Also planned is a high-speed line between Tangiers and Casablanca in Morocco, in association with Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF - the French national railway) while Turkey saw the first section of a planned high-speed line between Ankara and Eskisehir commissioned in March 2009. By 2023, this is set to be extended to a total 4,000km. MOBILE WELDING Just how economically new rail lines can be operated and maintained is a subject largely decided as early as the construction phase. A major factor is the quality of the rail welding work. The rule is: the more standardised the technique, the higher the quality. In the industrialised countries, long rails up to 400m in length are normally welded according to a common standard at the stationary rail welding plant from where they are shipped to the construction site. In countries where rail welding plants are rare, shorter rails measuring 18 to 80m each are frequently welded manually into long lengths as the tracks are laid. This has many disadvantages for the customer: • Short rails directly dispatched from the rolling mill must, for production reasons, be shortened by a metre at each end in order to arrive at an exact horizontal rail geometry. For a rail length of 25m, this means 8% of the steel is scrapped. Added to this, for each welding seam the rails must be precisely positioned in the track - extra work that takes up a lot of time. This method of welding frequently leads to delays across the entire construction project. SEMI-STATIONARY WELDING Vossloh Rail Services (VRS) • In the case of mobile welding, the target geometry of the rail cannot be as closely controlled as in stationary welding. This means that the geometric fit at the weld joint suffers and hence the quality of the weld as such. Also, such an uneven weld joint impairs ride comfort and shortens maintenance intervals for the entire permanent way. • Welding is generally done out of doors and so rain, wind and bad light can obstruct the work and decrease the quality of the weld seams. For all these challenges, a semi-stationary welding line offers the right solutions. It merges the flexibility of on-site, long-rail production with the high quality standards typical for stationary rail welding plants. SEMI-STATIONARY WELDING A semi-stationary welding unit is designed for large construction sites where for reasons of cost efficiency or technology, it is not possible to deliver long welded rails from a stationary welding plant to the construction site. It allows for short rails from 18m to 120m in length to be welded together close to the construction site to form up to 400m long rails. The result: welded long rails to the highest standards of quality with no construction site obstructions. Quite the contrary, the pace of construction is speeded up thanks to such long-rail production independent of the site location. Moreover, the loaded volumes can be perfectly adapted to site requirements. This even applies to regions not yet linked to the rail system, supplied by road truck shipments. Furthermore the finished welds may be reworked after cooling off by applying straightening and grinding technologies as known in stationary rail welding plants to reach an exact horizontal rail geometry. This eliminates the necessity to shorten the rails at the ends as described above. The semi-stationary welding line takes care of the complete process chain: from pulling short rails off their transport units and feeding them into the welder, through aligning and welding them into long welded rails, and finally to reworking the welds. It simplifies site logistics and maximises seam quality, irrespective of rail profile and steel grade. The welding plant is set up close to the site and has its own power generation unit, allowing it to operate independently. TWO MODULES FOR ONE SOLUTION The semi-stationary welding plant from Vossloh Rail Services has two modules basically, the loading/ transporting and the welding module (see Figure 1). The first short rail (of rolled steel) is winched (Figure 2) from the transport unit into the loading module which performs all the subsequent feed motions. Once the weld ends of the following rails have been ground for contact (Figure 3), these rails are tied to each other using special straps. The feed crawler (Figure 4) carries out all the feed operations within the welding plant. With its vertically adjustable rollers it ensures secure fixing and positioning of the rail, at the same time retaining the ability to move it forward or backward. The rail is then pushed into the welding module and afterwards onto the long-rail haulage unit. Special guide mechanisms prevent the long rails from being diverted sideways while being pushed forward. RAIL WELDING RAILWAYS AFRICA November 20102
  4. 4. Specialist producers of a range of cast products for the rail industry from locomotive, wagon and passenger coach parts through to state-of-the-art permanent way components. We also serve the mining, automotive and marine industries. FOUNDRY BUSINESS Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: GM521_TREPresslink
  5. 5. The welding module is equipped with an AMS 50/200 Supra Flex from Schlatter (Figure 5). The machine will perform hourly up to eight high-precision, automatic flash- butt welds, the state-of-the art welding method established in stationary welding plants. The rail welding plant is partially roofed and illuminated, and hence the welding work is protected from weather conditions and can also be done at night and still produce maximum quality. Two long rails are welded side by side in alternating sequence; while one is welded, the other is positioned precisely in place. The work done by the welding module is subject to, and monitored by, electronic process control. Also provided is a bending press for further regular destructive tests. Having passed the modules described, the welded long rails now find themselves on the long-rail haulage unit where they are precision-machined, straightened, ground and have their welding seams inspected for acceptance. Two layers each of twelve long rails are pushed onto these haulage units. For a rail length of 400m, such haulage units will therefore carry up to 9.6km of long rails. BRITISH REFERENCE The VRS semi-stationary welding plant was put to and passed the acid test in the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, also referred to as High Speed 1. This is a line connecting St Pancras, London, with the Eurotunnel (and onward to Paris) and is the only high-speed line in Britain operating at up to 300km/h. Because of the high speeds, very high quality long rails were required, particularly regarding the welding metallurgy and geometry. High-speed construction work was also a must. Altogether 320km of long rails were produced. For this purpose, in each case rails 108m long were welded together to a length of 324m in 2001 and 2002. The general contractor for the project was ThyssenKrupp GfT Gleistechnik. VRS built not only the semi-stationary welding plant but also provided the long-rail haulage units. RAIL WELDING AUTHOR Dipl- Ing Andreas Pohlmann (48) is head of production and authorised signatory at Vossloh Rail Services. Following an apprenticeship as a mechanic at Deutsche Bahn and after graduating in mechanical engineering at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences he worked from 1990 to 1992 in production planning at MBB/Deutsche Airbus GmbH. Since 1992 he has been employed at Stahlberg Roensch GmbH Co KG, which since 1 January 2010, has belonged to the Vossloh Rail Services business unit. He can be contacted under: Werkstrasse 6, 21218 Seevetal, Phone: (+49-4105) 5853-11, Fax: (+49-4105) 5853-42, Email: Figure 1: Stationary welding plant from Vossloh Rail Services has two modules (from bottom to top), the loading module with the haulage crawler and the welding module. Figure 2: The first short rail (rolled length) is winched from the transport unit into the loading module (1). The following rails are fastened to each other with the aid of special straps. Figure 3: Before insertion into the crawler, it is necessary for the rail to be manually ground for contact at both welding ends. Figure 4: The crawler handles the entire feed movements within the unit. It also ensures secure fixing and positioning of the rail along with the possibility of moving it forward or backward. Figure 5: The welding module features an AMS 50/200 Supra Flex from Schlatter. The machine will perform hourly up to eight high-precision mechanical flash-butt welds. Figure 6: After welding, the rails are pushed onto the haulage unit where they are arranged in two tiers each comprising 12 rails. On the haulage unit the welds are straightened and precision-ground before they undergo a final quality inspection. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 20104
  6. 6. Africa is a unique region with many challenges when it comes to the transport of goods. Low network connectivity, limited numbers of skilled personnel, high costs, poor safety and security, and inferior information systems are some of the main issues that affect the transporters of goods. For many landlocked countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo, road transport is the most important mode of transport for long distance freight, as rail has historically not always been able to meet the logistics demands of the region. The challenges of the rail system critically affect the region, especially for the import and export of goods such as fuel, food and raw materials. African Rail Company (ARC), a Swiss-based company with operational hubs in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and provider of a highly integrated rail- focused supply chain management service, experiences the challenges of operating in the region on a first-hand basis. As a transporter of fuel in and out of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo through the Mozambican port cities of Maputo and Beira, ARC wanted to find a way to provide more information and accountability to its customers, improve the efficiency of is operation and finally reduce idle times of its rail wagon fleet. According to Dave Beek of ARC, “Railway wagons only make money when they are moving and carrying products.” MISSING EN ROUTE Previously, ARC could not easily track and monitor the location and status of the fuel tankcars once they had left the station and were on route to their destination. Often location information provided by local rail operators of the status of ARC’s wagons was received twenty-four hours later. ARC wanted to find a way to be able to assure their customers that their cargo was arriving on time. They also wanted to know the exact location of their empty wagons so they could quickly get them filled and carrying product again. ARC first began by adding personnel en route, to keep its control centre informed on the whereabouts of each train. However, their only means of communication was via cellular phone networks which - according to Mr Beek – do not cover the lengthy rail lines comprehensively, there being few towns, all widely dispersed. SATELLITE TRACKING Unhappy with the results achieved using extra personnel, ARC decided to try monitoring vehicles using GPS tracking devices. Having previous experience with satellite tracking, Mr Beek knew that devices commonly employed in road trucking - which send information using the same communication networks used by cellphones - could not provide the reporting capabilities required by ARC. In addition, cellular network connection and roaming fees, which would be incurred every time wagons crossed cellphone network borders, would render typical tracking devices cost-prohibitive to operate. A more cost- effective and specialised solution was required. TRUE SATELLITE TRACKING In early 2010, ARC started a trial project with thirty GPS tracking devices that used satellite communication networks instead of the land-based cellular system. The devices were installed on every other tankcar travelling between Maputo and the interior. All the equipent and web-based software was provided by GlobalTrack, a South African global-based turnkey solution provider for worldwide asset monitoring. For the ARC project, GlobalTrack installed its BAT- 340 tracking device that uses satellite communication technology provided by Canadian SkyWave Mobile Communications. The battery-powered equipment is specifically designed for remote asset management and has been used to monitor both fixed and mobile assets where external power is not available. Each BAT-340 tracking device calculates its position using information from GPS satellites and sends the information to GlobalTrack’s servers through satellites owned by UK- based Inmarsat plc. With an internet connection and a login ID into GlobalTrack’s secure web-based application, WebTrack is able to pinpoint the exact location, speed, and heading of each individual tankcar. In addition to current location information, WebTrack allows ARC staff to review historical data concerning all assets on a computer screen or from reports tailored to specific needs. Reports can be scheduled to be created at pre- defined times and sent to an unlimited list of e-mail addresses, or can be produced at any time as required. Information relating to current location, distances travelled, travelling times, and direction and speed is available around the clock with a couple of mouse clicks. Based on ARC’s requirements, the GlobalTrack devices were programmed to report their position every six hours, or at any time this information was needed or requested. SATELLITE TRACKING RAILWAYS AFRICA November 20106
  7. 7. SATELLITE TRACKING If ARC requires the reporting frequencies of the tracking devices to be changed, engineers can quickly reprogramme the units without leaving the office. Physical access to the devices - which may be located anywhere in a very large area – is not necessary. BATTERY-POWERED DEVICE In addition to the global communication capability, low cost and ease of use, one of the best features of the product – says GlobalTrack chief operating officer Hein van Spaendonck - is that it can be installed on unpowered rail wagons and remain in operation for long periods of time. “The BAT-340 has built-in batteries that can last up to thirty-six months without recharging or replacement, based on four messages a day. The low power consumption of our units is essential, because we did not want ARC to be required to change batteries on the tracking units. Also, connecting to external power sources is not possible.” To instal the product, GlobalTrack designed and manufactured special brackets for the tracking devices. The brackets and the device were securely affixed to the top of each tankcar where they provide peak performance and are protected from tampering. According to Mr Beek, by installing GPS tracking devices, ARC is now able to pinpoint the location of their wagons quickly on demand, thereby improving logistics operations meaningfully. ‘They are also able to provide a service to their customers that sets them apart from their competition – the ability to proactively inform each client exactly when their shipment is going to arrive. “One final benefit is that we are able to pinpoint the location of empty tankcars at all times, and get them back on the line transporting product,” Mr Beek explains. IS SHUNTING ANDTRACK SWITCHING A PROBLEM? Surtees Railways Supplies, has the solution Trackmobile Railcar, bi-model, road and rail movers have all the required safety features to conform to your Railway Safety needs: Up to 19250 kg tractive effort Tier 3 electronic diesel engine Hydraulic rail road brakes Vacuum train brake controls 16 CFM engine drive train air brakes - optional to 100 CFM Power steering / Automatic 4 speed transmission Air operated coupler release Fully enclosed cab with controls integrated into the driver’s seat Excellent entry level costs with low operational costs SURTEES RAIL GROUP - HEAD OFFICE P.O Box 40178, Cleveland, 2022, Republic of South Africa 93 Whitworth Road, Heriotdale, Johannesburg, Gauteng, Republic of South Africa Tel: +27 11 626-3516 Fax: +27 11 626-1171/28 SERVICING THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA CD464_SURTEES_Presslink OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES The BAT-340 tracking devices are sufficiently powerful to provide a number of additional services for rail companies. With virtual perimeter fences or geofences, owners could be notified when wagons were within 10 kilometres, or any other distance, from rail stations. They would be able to proactively inform customers that their shipments were on the point of arrival. Geofences would also provide the opportunity to calculate how much time wagons spend at rail stations and border crossings – allowing the customer to optimise wagon use by reducing time spent at each of these stops. With the on-board GPS accelerometer, owners could be immediately notified whenever their wagon started and stopped – alerting them to any unusual or unscheduled stops. GUARANTEED RETURN ON INVESTMENT The financial pay-back of the project has been very easy to prove. Hein van Spaendonck estimates that ARC recovered the cost of their initial investment of thirty tracking devices within four months, simply by being able to move the trains more quickly. The increase in customer satisfaction and value are an extra bonus when calculating the return on investment. ARC was so pleased with results from the pilot project that they have agreed to instal another set of BAT-340 tracking devices on their tankcars, and other rail wagons in the near future. Reflecting on the project, Hein van Spaendock says, “There are plenty of opportunities for satellite technology to increase the efficiency and productivity of companies transporting goods in Africa”.
  8. 8. PETE THE PUNDIT on PRASA vs TRANSNET AND SOME INSTRUCTIVE STORIES FROM THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE WIDER WORLD The unprecedented disagreement between Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) dominated railway news in the country from mid-August, when all intercity passenger trains ceased running without prior notice. The crisis followed the recent transfer of Shosholoza Meyl – the long-distance main-line service – from Transnet to Prasa. Prasa complained Transnet was not looking after its rolling stock properly; Transnet said Prasa didn’t pay its bills. The fundamental reason for separating passenger train operation from freight was to have each working – and costed out – independently. It seemed a great idea in theory, removing the opportunity for passenger rail to run in blissful disregard of financial reality, confident that the profitable freight division would pick up and pay the bills. The move proved blissfully over-optimistic, with the proverbial chickens falling over themselves in getting home to roost. (Towards the end of October, it was announced that the problems were being resolved, under direction from the two different cabinet ministers to whom Prasa and Transnet each report. ) Another concept involving the divorcing of different parts of a railway – a very fashionable concept in recent years – sees infrastructure placed under separate management from actual train operation. Here too the theory is good, but theory and practice part company all too often; in the rail arena, many case histories can be quoted that demonstrate this point. The most adamant opponents of this so-called vertical division of responsibility are the railways of North America, and it is no coincidence that they are privately-owned – and profitable. It is instructive at this point to recall that the American rail companies discarded passenger operation several decades ago. Rapidly expanding air travel had killed long-distance profitability, leaving two options: either the government came in to subsidise passenger trains or it ran its own. Choosing the latter course, Amtrak was created. The upshot has been a distinctly unhealthy situation, with intercity “expresses” notorious for their unbelievably poor timekeeping, frequently running two, three or even more hours late. Amtrak blames the privately-owned companies over whose lines its trains have to run, the popular belief being that the freight trains get priority. Does this sound familiar? PRIVATE SECTOR FOR ANGOLAN RAIL According to director of the National Railway Institute Julio Bango, the government of Angola is keen to encourage private sector participation in the country’s “railway business”. Addressing the press in Luanda following a meeting between transport minister Augusto Tomás and the board chairmen of each of the country’s railways, he said the government is open to partnerships with private Angolan and foreign companies wishing to cooperate, provided they comply with requirements. There is “no exclusivity for state companies,” Bango stressed. Opportunities are open for all willing to intervene in the railways controlled by his institute (NCFA), which is responsible both for certifying equipment in use and the licensing of operators. The railways represented at the meeting were Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB), Caminhos de ferro de Namibe (CFN) and Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL). AFRICAN RAILWAY Tom Sutcliffe of the London Independent, reviewing the “odd, endearing” film African Railway shown recently on BBC4, marvelled at the claim that it was filmed, produced and directed by Sean Langan, but who seemed to be doing “catering, transport, costume, sound and local research as well.” Langan had little joy in the “eerily depopulated headquarters of Tazara [the Tanzania-Zambia Railway] in Dar-es-Salaam”, as he couldn’t find anyone to talk to, such as the resident Chinese advisers. “Chinese expert number one ….. cannily referred the interview request back to Beijing.” He had more success with the Tazara managing director, who explained that “Tazara would one day be the finest railroad in Africa”. Sadly he was not given the opportunity to pursue this admirable aim – “he lost his job two weeks later.” In another office, Langan found “traffic managers tracking their wayward trains with pencil and paper. Having no direct contact with the drivers themselves the only way to find out where the trains were was to ring a station and ask them whether anything had gone past in the last few hours.” OPINION: THE WIDER WORLD Shosholoza Meyl – “a pleasant experience”. Photo: Craig Dean of Railways Africa. Chinese-built Tazara coaches. Photo: Richard Grönstedt. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 20108
  9. 9. It is no way to run a railway, Sutcliffe concluded - “millions of dollars of foreign investment having somehow evaporated into the blue African sky”. Along the line itself, Langan discovered that 20 hour delays were routine. “The old colonial model - railways running from the interior to the sea like surgical drains, sucking the commodities out of the country - has been replaced by a new colonial model, in which the same thing happens but the Chinese pay the bills.” WORLD’S LONGEST RAILWAY TUNNEL After 14 years of drilling beneath the Swiss Alps, construction workers have broken through in the building of the new Gotthard – a £6 billion, 57km bore which will rate as the world’s longest railway tunnel. Boring machines have been tunnelled through the mountains from two directions: in the north from Erstfeld, near Lake Lucerne, and in the south from Bodio, near Switzerland’s border with Italy. The new tunnel is scheduled to open in December 2017, with trains travelling at 250km/h, shortening travel between Milan and Zurich by an hour. The original 14.4km tunnel near the summit of the spectacular Gotthard Pass, completed in 1882, continues in use. DELHI AIRPORT LINE MISSES DEADLINE According to the Business Standard, Delhi’s showcase new airport express metro line missed its completion deadline and was not ready in time for the Commonwealth Games. The Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) asked for clarification regarding certain deficiencies observed following an inspection of the corridor on 27 and 28 September. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) asked Reliance Infrastructure (R-Infra), the concessionaire responsible for implementation, to urgently comply with the requirements of CMRS. DMRC said the concessionaire has not been able to conduct speed trials on the line. An R-Infra spokesman was quoted saying: “We are closely working with DMRC and other relevant authorities for a safe and early start of the world-class Airport Express.” A later report by The Times of India said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has imposed a fine on concessionaire Delhi Airport Metro Express Pyt Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure, for failing to meet the deadline to start operations on the line by 31 August 2010. TURKISH LRT STARTS WITH A SPLASH Despite a “massive derailment” and five days of unceasing rain, the 16km Samsun light rail system in Turkey was launched on schedule with a splatter of blood from a sacrificial lamb. The proceedings were slightly marred by demonstrators protesting about the lack of signalled pedestrian crossings. They threw eggs at the first tram. Eight trams set off altogether with about 2,000 people scrambling on board to enjoy a free ride. A ten-minute frequency of free trams was maintained for the rest of the day, with every vehicle crammed to the roof. QUEENSLAND RAIL SHARE OFFER The Queensland State Government has officially launched a share offer for the Initial public offering of its 1,067mm gauge railway, QR National. The price range for the share offer will be between A$2.50 and $3.00 a share, with individual investors to pay no more than $2.80 per share. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said QR National is OPINION: THE WIDER WORLD Our service has been specifically designed to cater for our customer’s needs. Gas companies are not the same. Air Products provides a level of support that can help you stay ahead. So for uninterrupted gas supply, trust Air Products to deliver. If you are ready for a change and want to experience a superior customer service, contact us today! Contact Gavin Bryson National Sales Manager Packaged Gases Tel: 011 977 6400 Email: Think Coogar® In the heat of the moment GM532_AP Presslink November 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA
  10. 10. expected to be one of the nation’s 50 largest companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. QRN managing director and CEO Lance Hockridge said the company was proud of its 145 year heritage and excited about the opportunities for future growth. “QR National plays a critical role in the Australian economy today and is well positioned for future growth. QR National has invested approximately A$3.4 billion of capital across the operating divisions over the last three fiscal years and had pro forma net assets of approximately A$6.8 billion as of 30 June 2010. This investment is expected to drive the future growth of the company,” Hockridge said. CHILTERN THE MOST PUNCTUAL The most punctual train operator in the UK in September was Chiltern Railways, according to a report by Network Rail. Ironically, Chiltern is owned by the German national rail system Deutsche Bahn. Running services between Leamington, Warwick, Warwick Parkway and London Marylebone, it was the highest performing train company with 97.3% of trains running on time between 22 August and 18 September. Chiltern Railways trains are categorised as late if they arrive five minutes after the scheduled time. The company is working on a £250 million project to reduce journey times to London by 20%. TRIAL RUNNING - DUBAI METRO’S GREEN LINE On 13 October, the Ruler of Dubai - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum - launched trial running on the Dubai metro’s new Green Line. He travelled from Dubai Healthcare City to the eastern terminus at Etisalat. He was accompanied by Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, RTA Chairman CEO Mattar Al Tayer, senior government officials and the Dubai Metro technical and engineering team. Tracklaying on the 23km Green Line is now complete, and electro-mechanical equipment installation and station finishing works are progressing well. The Green Line is due to open in August 2011. A further five stations on the Red Line entered service on 15 October - Jumeirah Lake Towers, Nakheel, Sharag DG, First Gulf Bank and Business Bay. The western section from Ibn Battuta to Jebel Ali with three stations will open later. To meet an anticipated increase in demand on the Red Line, 22 trains are now deployed during peak hours, running at six-minute intervals, while 16 trains will operate during off–peak hours at eight-minute intervals. Operation has been extended by an hour on Thursdays and Fridays, with trains running until midnight. LONDON TUBE TRAINS DEVELOP CRACKS The London Underground system has removed a number of trainsets from service after engineers discovered suspected cracks in certain equipment. According to the London Daily Mail, the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union claims the problems are directly related to “finance- driven changes to maintenance schedules”. The union released pictures of brake blocks which had been worn away though the trains were said to be still in service. The period between brake inspections on tube trains has been extended from 14 to 28 days to save money, the RMT alleges. TfL deny the claims and accuse the union of “scaremongering”. CHINESE LOAN FOR HS SILK RAILWAY According to director-general Süleyman Karaman of Torkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryollari (TCDD – the Turkish State Railway), Turkish and Chinese companies are to jointly construct high-speed lines in Turkey. In terms of an agreement signed between China and Turkey early in October, China is to advance loans for the construction of a “Silk Railway” high-speed line between Edirne and Kars. “We are planning to construct lines for high speed trains between Ankara-İzmir, Ankara-Sivas, Sivas-Erzincan, Erzincan-Trabzon, Sivas-Malatya, Elazığ-Diyarbakir, Eskişehir-Antalya and Konya-Antalya on this line,” Karaman told journalists. “$US45 billion is needed for Turkey’s target to construct 6,000km of high-speed lines and 4,000km of conventional railway till 2023. Within the scope of the agreement signed with China, this country will finance $US28 million of this target.” UAE TENDERS LAUNCHED The Union Railway Company (URC) is inviting expressions of interest for contracts to supply track materials for the United Arab Emirates’ first railway. Four contracts, covering ballast, rail, points and crossings, and sleepers, are being let for the Shah Habshan Railway, a 264km line from the Gulf Coast Port of Ruwais to the Shah sour gas field. URC requires around 650,000 precast concrete sleepers suitable for a 32.5 tonne axle load, together with 84 sets of points and crossings, 50,000 tonnes of UIC 60 E2 standard-grade rail and 5,000 tonnes of UIC 60 E2 heat- treated grade rail, and 1.5 million tonnes of ballast. All these materials must be delivered between March 2012 and June 2013. Full commercial rail services are planned to start in 2014. Union Railway says prequalified suppliers should be capable of being nominated for the corresponding design and build packages, which will be awarded in the second quarter of 2011. The deadline for expressions of interest was 31 October 2010, with prequalification documents available for purchase from 1 November. PHILIPPINES NORTH-RAIL PROJECT The Philippines government is to renegotiate its multi- million-dollar 80.2km North Rail project contract with China because of “technical and legal problems”. Originally expected to cost $US400 million, with financing from a Chinese loan, the latest estimate is close to $600 million – following redesign to comply with international standards. The project contractor, Chinese National Machinery and Equipment Group, had already received $150 million in OPINION: THE WIDER WORLD Dubai metro. Map courtesy Railway Gazette International. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201010
  11. 11. advance payments from the Philippine government in respect of a 32km stretch of line. A University of the Philippines study quoted by the Manila Standard said the North Rail project violated the country’s procurement laws because the contract was awarded to the Chinese contractor without public bidding. MORE DOUBLE-DECKERS FOR ISRAEL On 11 October, Israel Railways’ (ISR) general manager Yitzhak Harel confirmed the award of a $US195m contract to Bombardier Transportation for a further 78 push-pull double-deck coaches. The supplier of ISR’s first generation double-deck vehicles for the expanding suburban routes around Tel Aviv, Bombardier was selected ahead of a rival bid from Finmeccanica of Italy. The order comprises 10 six-car trainsets, together with a further 18 vehicles to expand the current double-deck sets from five to six coaches. Including one coach with full disabled accessibility, each trainset will provide 800 seats. Deliveries are expected to begin in November 2011 for completion by April 2012. According to Harel, ISR is concentrating on double-deck rolling stock to accommodate rapidly-growing numbers of passengers, with the strong annual growth seen in recent years showing no sign of abating. Double-decking avoids the need for extensive platform lengthening. Large doorways ensure rapid boarding and alighting. NEW TRAM SYSTEM FOR JEDDAH The Saudi city of Jeddah is to build an elevated light rail system worth $US5.6 billion, part of a new mass transit project including 816 buses and a tramway for tourists. This is according to an announcement by Prince Khalid al-Faisal, governor of the Makkah region which includes Jeddah. The new light rail will complement a high-speed railway currently being planned to link Makkah, Jeddah and Medina. The government is expected to choose between the French and Spanish consortiums who submitted bids for the project. SIEMENS TO SUPPLY EUROSTARS According to the London Financial Times, Siemens have been awarded a $US836 million contract by Channel Tunnel operator Eurostar, despite efforts by the French government to prevent the order. The 10 Velaro trains will be fitted with equipment to handle many of the different electrification and signalling systems on Europe’s railways, thereby allowing Eurostar to run direct services to a wide range of destinations, including Amsterdam and Cologne. The new trains will potentially cut journey times on existing routes between London and Paris and Brussels, and increase passenger capacity from 750 per train to 900. As well as the new order, Eurostar is to undertake a refurbishment programme for its existing 28 trains, to give them the same interior appearance as the new fleet. That work will be carried out by SCNF. BRAZIL TENDER LAUNCHED Brazilian urban rail company CBTU has launched a $US165 million tender to provide 15 four-coach 3kV DC electric trainsets to operate on the 1,600mm gauge in the Pernambuco state capital Recife. Bids are due on 8 November. The successful tenderer will have 45 months to complete contractual obligations. The new trains are part of scheduled improvements to Recife’s metro system to prepare the city to host the 2014 World Cup. RAILAMERICA TO OPERATE OTTAWA VALLEY LINE RaiLink Canada Ltd, a subsidiary of shortline and regional freight rail operator RailAmerica, has entered into a long term deal with the Canadian Pacific Railway to operate a portion of the Ottawa Valley line in Canada, which primarily transports pulp and paper products. Rail America ended its previous lease with Canadian Pacific over the Ottawa Valley line in December 2009. As part of the termination agreement, the company continued to operate 251km of line between Sudbury and Mattawa in Ontario, and between Mattawa and Temiscaming in Quebec. It agreed to continue working the section for five years, with an option for a further extension. RailAmerica currently operates 11,680m of track in 27 US states and three Canadian provinces. NEW CHINA-LAOS LINK Construction is to start at the end of October on a new railway from southern China to Laos. The 530km line will connect Xishuangbanna city in the southern province of Yunnan to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. The project is part of the proposed Trans-Asian railway network, which is expected to pass through 28 countries in Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. EUROPEAN UNION RAIL DIRECTIVES On 17 September 2010, the European Commission adopted a proposal to provide better rail services for passenger and freight users by: increasing competition on the railway market; strengthening the power of national regulators; and improving the framework for investment in rail. The proposal for a Directive establishing a Single Rail Area is an exercise in legislative simplification and consolidation with the merger of the three directives in force and their successive amendments into one coherent text. It also aims to tackle key problem areas undermining the effective functioning of the railway market. European Commission vice-president responsible for transport Siim Kallas was quoted saying: “Europe is at the forefront of railway technology. We are in the top tier of modern rail networks. But, and it is a big but, Europe needs and deserves better rail services. We need to deliver better quality, better reliability, more choice and more innovation to passengers and freight users. That’s what this package is designed to do. My aim in all of this is more competition in passenger and freight services. That will be good for passengers, good for freight users, good for very high quality rail equipment producers and good for the environment.” Three key problem areas are addressed in the Directive: 1. Competition issues The proposed Directive aims to increase competition in the rail market through more transparent market access conditions and providing easier access, for example by: • requiring improved access (and in certain cases guaranteed access) to rail-related services such as OPINION: THE WIDER WORLD RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201012
  12. 12. OPINION: THE WIDER WORLD maintenance facilities, terminals, passenger information and ticketing facilities etc for freight and passenger trains; • establishing explicit rules on conflicts of interest and discriminatory practices in the rail sector; • requiring more detailed “network statements” - documents published annually so that potential newcomers can see clearly the characteristics of available infrastructure and conditions for its use. 2. Strengthening regulatory supervision The proposal strengthens the power of national rail regulators, including proposals for measures such as: • extending the competence of national regulators to rail-related services. Previously, problems relating to access to rail-related services were not always in the powers of the national regulators. • requiring the independence of national rail regulators from any other public authority; • strengthening the powers of the national rail regulators (with in terms of sanctions, audit, appeals procedures and ex-officio investigating powers) and establishing the obligation imposed on these bodies to cooperate with their counterparts on cross-border issues. 3. Strengthening the framework for public and private investment The single use crucible Rail Welding Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540 Fax: +27 (0)11 914 2547 Email: Website: PO Box 6070, Dunswart, Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa 1508 The single-use crucible reduces the risk of human error. It is made from a bonded refractory material inserted in an easy-to-handle five-litre container. Welds are more consistent. As there is no drying or pre-heating, weld times are much shorter. And the single use crucible is safer and minimises environmental impacts. The new rules on infrastructure financing and charging aim to develop a harmonised “financial architecture” to encourage investment. Measures proposed include: • requiring national long-term strategies and multi- annual contractual agreements between the state and infrastructure managers (linking funding to performance, and business plans). The aim is to give market players more predictability on the development of the infrastructure and more incentives to improve their performance; • requiring more precise and smarter infrastructure charging rules. Better implementation of the charging principles contained in the existing legislation should lead to lower track access charges for rail transport operators in many member states. The new charging rules (with the introduction of noise-related modulation as the rail equivalent to external cost charging for road transport, discounts for interoperability) should also stimulate private investments in greener and interoperable technologies. Together with this proposal, the commission adopted a Communication presenting its strategy to complete the development of the Single European Railway Area, outlining additional initiatives that the Commission could launch in the next five years. A consultation will take place on this basis. A detailed study on opening the market for domestic passenger traffic is also published.
  13. 13. INDUSTRY COMMENT DEFINING A USEFUL SYSTEM As South Africa’s railway rolling stock ages, or exits service prematurely, it is useful to consider from where the next generation might come. The global supply industry is ever obliging, so whatever rolling stock a railway wants and can fund will be forthcoming. However, should it be unaffordable - because the price is inordinately high, or because it might be inherently uncompetitive - then it threatens sustainability and one should revisit the objective. In general, transport systems require corridors between O-D (origin-destination) pairs, and vehicles to carry their payload. They range from loosely defined air and maritime corridors, to precisely defined railway tracks. The vehicle profile (height and width) stems from its intended purpose and its relation to the infrastructure that supports operations. To facilitate movement, one must also define a guidance and support interface and, of course, propulsion and control systems. Though trite, it is important to state that humans - and the goods they value - come in a limited range of sizes. Characterising adults by just one dimension, Wikipedia’s 62-country Human Height data reveals a tallest/shortest ratio of 1.20.Track gauges in their respective countries range from 914mm to 1,676mm, a widest/narrowest ratio of 1.83. The prime determinant of passenger coach height is clearly less variable than railway track gauge: countries with narrow gauge railways do not transport dwarfs. Similar reasoning characterises freight - valuable goods typically come in ISO containers, arguably the most standardised item on earth. Operators double up when corridors demand high throughput - double decking for passenger trains, and double stacking for container trains. Doubling up notwithstanding, high-capacity railways require a modest vehicle profile compared to other modes, because they can increase capacity by coupling many vehicles into a train. History has handed down a plethora of diverse railway vehicle profiles around the world. First principles suggest they should all have been the same. Essentially track comprises rails, sleepers and ballast. The width of the latter is generally similar to vehicle width. Like vehicles, the number of tracks (single, double, sometimes more) drives both capacity and minimum formation width. Allowing space for electrification masts, drainage, maintenance access, communication cabling, and so on - and not forgetting stability of deep cuts and high fills - defines the requisite infrastructure cross-section. The foregoing groundwork makes it possible to define the cross-section boundary of a railway system without reference to the vehicle-infrastructure interface. This is no surprise: the interface is internal to the system boundary (route and train lengths are simple extrusions of the system cross-section). Why is this definition of use? Because two of rail’s three genetic technologies, which rest on the lateral and vertical components of wheel-rail interaction, originate at this interface. Correctly pitched, the vehicle- infrastructure interface makes rail a formidable competitor. Incorrectly pitched, it renders rail unsustainable. Let us explore the interface further. PERTINENT INFRASTRUCTURE CONSIDERATIONS Rail’s three genetic technologies: Bearing (ability to carry heavy axle load), Guiding (ability to run at high speed), and Coupling (ability to couple many vehicles), distinguish it from all other transport modes. They enable rail to service market spaces that other modes challenge with difficulty, namely Heavy Haul, Heavy Intermodal, Very High Speed Intercity, and Heavy Metro. The latter case warrants separate discussion later. Successfully exploiting rail’s inherent competitiveness presupposes high demand corridors in which it can maximise return from expensive, high-performance guideways. The wider the track gauge, the greater the lateral stability against overturning forces, buckling forces, and cross-level deviations. The Bearing and Guiding genetic technologies therefore approach their maximum potential on standard gauge. Returns on track gauge increments do nevertheless diminish. Thus while broad gauge might be marginally superior to standard gauge, the latter supports sufficient inherent competitiveness. Now consider railway infrastructure subsystems as a function of track gauge. First, signalling and communication are independent of track gauge. So indeed are all parallel- to-track subsystems, eg drainage, and maintenance roads. Although originally narrower, many current South African railway vehicles are almost as wide as their standard gauge counterparts. Hence, track gauge should not influence track-centre distance and associated electrification and signalling overhead structures, more so considering contemporary clearance requirements for passing trains at high speed, or maintaining one track while running trains on an adjacent one. Second, track gauge might marginally affect some infrastructure subsystems. For example, narrow gauge traction motors are smaller than their standard gauge counterparts, so one might (facetiously) argue that electrification feeders and substations should cost less for the same axle load and adhesion level. Third, for representative axle loads, track gauge directly affects sleeper length, ballast quantity, and formation width, and hence the quantity of earthworks. For standard gauge, these items reputedly raise the cost per kilometre by some 7% compared to narrow gauge. However, when considering the complete picture, expect the overall construction cost premium for standard gauge track to be diluted to less than 7%. ROLLING STOCK CHALLENGES Rolling stock bears the brunt of insufficiently wide track gauge. Like infrastructure, much equipment is gauge independent. However, more than infrastructure, track gauge strongly affects rolling stock cost and performance. Ideally, research and development costs should be spread over high production volumes. Suppliers therefore tend to reuse existing standard gauge designs for other track gauges, and only adapt them where unavoidable. Most standard gauge equipment adapts readily to broad gauge by means of longer axles and wider bogies. Even the widest gauge, India’s 1,676mm, is only 17% wider than standard gauge. This means that RD for standard gauge, which represents 61% of all world trackage, 64% of tons lifted, and 50% of passenger journeys, can also serve broad gauge - which represents 23% of all trackage, 26% of tons, and 20% of journeys. Together, they represent 84% of all trackage, 91% of tons, and 70% of journeys. A Railway Systems Perspective on Rolling Stock Dave van der Meulen, managing member, Railway Corporate Strategy CC RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201014
  14. 14. Specialist manufacturers of parts and sub-assemblies for locomotives, coaches and wagons. Processes include laser cutting, bending, forging and the fabrication of carbon and stainless steel alloys. ROLLING STOCK EQUIPMENT BUSINESS Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: GM518_TREPresslink
  15. 15. INDUSTRY COMMENT Narrow gauge (914-1,067mm) railways, which represent 16% of world trackage, lift merely 9% of tons. Interestingly, they convey 30% of world passenger journeys. However, of that, Japan carries 70%: The remaining narrow gauge railways carry only 9% of world journeys, the same share as freight. They are self-evidently less productive than standard or broad gauge railways, and unable to procure RD to raise their competitiveness. Whatever the track gauge, trailing rail vehicles all use similar running gear and underframe components, such as couplers, brake actuators, brake discs, control valves, drawgear, foundation rigging, pneumatic equipment, slack adjusters, wheels, and more. Track gauge therefore only affects relatively low-cost structural items, namely axles, bogie bolsters and frames, and brake beams. For coaches, air conditioning, catering facilities, door mechanisms, lighting, pneumatics, seating, toilets and more, are independent of track gauge, as is the body shell, which is specified for crashworthiness and ride comfort. Standard gauge can offer greater length, width and height, while the cost of essential items is spread over more passengers, yielding a lower cost per passenger. Similarly, for wagons, body plating must resist abrasion, corrosion and penetration, so its thickness is independent of track gauge. Standard gauge load/tare ratio is substantially higher, so the cost per payload ton is proportionately lower. The abovementioned essential components weigh the same and cost the same, whatever the track gauge. Therefore, narrow gauge railways pay for standard gauge performance, but do not get it. For locomotives, please refer to the September/October article in this series. Heavy metro is the only application that bears careful thought regarding standard gauge. Its prime requirements, namely high throughput capacity, are characterised by single-deck vehicles, short station dwell-times, relatively low speed, and high acceleration and retardation. A high proportion of axles driven by relatively small traction motors supports the latter requirement. Narrow gauge can competently support low-speed, single-deck vehicles with small traction motors. Standard gauge’s essential advantage is its competitive supply market, an important consideration for greenfields projects. However, for incremental expansion of existing operations, the cost of changing gauge is likely to outweigh the benefit of more competitive rolling stock pricing. WHAT ABOUT PERFORMANCE VERSUS COST? While standard gauge track may cost marginally more than narrow gauge, standard gauge performance is higher by the ratio of track gauge, namely 1,435mm/1,067mm = 1.34 or more. Consider the following parameters, presented as the ratio standard gauge attribute/narrow gauge attribute: Heavy haul axle load, 40 tonnes/30 tonnes = 1.33; centre of gravity height, 2,438mm (8 feet)/1,800mm = 1.35; coal wagon load/tare, 5.86/4.15 = 1.41; heavy haul traction motor tractive effort, 118kN/78kN = 1.51; high- speed traction motor power, 1,600kW/1,000kW = 1.60; and maximum permissible speed, 380km/h/130km/h = 2.92. A premium of 7% or less on infrastructure seems trivial in relation to the higher rolling stock performance achieved. CONCLUDING REMARKS South Africa finds itself in the unenviable situation that, while railway user requirements are essentially independent of track gauge, but progressive technical solutions are found on standard gauge, its legacy vehicle-infrastructure interface has rendered much of its railway system uncompetitive at best, and unsustainable at worst. This situation is the long-term outcome of the absolute necessity of the utmost economy in the construction of colonial railways (Parliamentary Select Committee 1873). In the domestic market, it has shifted an inordinate portion of the national transport task to competitors such as private cars, taxis and trucks, which solutions are sub- optimum in market spaces where railways should be fully exploiting the strengths of their genetic technologies. In the export market, it has shifted market share to c ompetitor countries. The explicit short-term objectives of a colonial power, who built its own high-performance railways to standard gauge, have now become diametrically opposed to the long-term objectives of a developing country. As globalisation reduces the number of railway suppliers, and competition among them drives performance up and costs down, how long will it be tenable to continue to burden South Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa, with railways and rolling stock predicated on precepts long past their sell-by date? Narrow gauge railways no longer benefit from active RD at the vehicle-infrastructure interface. At less than 10% of world traffic, they have become marginalised, beholden to high-cost batch production for their rolling stock requirements, rather than to low-cost standard gauge series production. It is now time for stakeholders to realistically and seriously firm up on the role they want railways to play in South Africa, and then align their endeavours around achieving that objective. COMPELLING INSIGHT FROM ORIGINAL RESEARCH Though many South African locomotives running on 1,067mm gauge are superior in size, power and performance to those running on a number of 1,435mm gauge lines in the world, there are inherent limitations in perpetuating dependence on non-standard norms. This 25kV 50Hz AC example, a Co-Co of class 11E rated at 5,800hp, heads long coal trains on the heavy-haul line to Richards Bay. The first of these impressive units entered service in 1985. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201016
  16. 16. The Wepeners recently paid a visit to the Free State capital. Jacque reports: “The guys from Sandstone were busy at the motive power depot on the narrow-gauge locos in the shed, but we missed seeing Lucas Nel. Not much has changed steam- wise (1,067mm gauge) since our last visit. All the locos are still there, secure and locked up. Even the scrapped ones are still as we saw them last year. “On the diesel side however, the rows of serviceable locos have disappeared while the lines of unserviceable and scrapped locos have grown. At this rate, TFR is soon going to run out of locos ... “Blue class 35 no 224 appears to have been destroyed. Looks like either a head-on or a rear-end at speed. Hope the crew managed to jump... On the scrap line we saw orange ST 34 697 ‘LOG Tracao’ (previously in South America) , orange 35 282, SAR maroon 35 471, orange 37 xxx, blue 35 301 and other blue 35s in various states of disrepair. “Idling away in front of this sad lot was RRL 33 02 (looking very smart), so they now have two 33s. Remember these numbers as they might be seen again in a different livery somewhere near you quite soon... Plenty of steam-heater cars are also here on the scrap line, mostly in blue, one orange and a distance further, all on its own, a gulf red steam car stands rusting. A red and grey baggage van ‘Breakdown Train De Aar’ is also staged here. Further down, two diesel hulks are being reclaimed by nature. “In the Shosholoza Meyl part of the loco, purple 34 102 34 108 were to be seen. Another two purple class 34s were standing in the shed. Here too are several blue steam cars awaiting their fate as the passenger trains get less and the generator cars take over. Three class 34s were shunted for refuelling. Orange 36 068 was idling away at the other end of the loco.” [Forty years ago, locomotives came in or were despatched here every five minutes around the clock. Altogether 179 were allocated to this shed, which supplied power for more than 300 daily train arrivals and departures. – Editor] VISIT TO BLOEMFONTEIN SEEN AT BLOEMFONTEIN Photos: Jacque Wepener. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201018
  17. 17. Specialists and leading supplier of maintenance, repair, upgrade and manufacturing services in Southern Africa for AC, DC and diesel-electric units. LOCOMOTIVE BUSINESS Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: GM514_TREPresslink
  18. 18. INDUSTRY NEWS The company Portquip Africa was recently tasked with the replacement and welding of 30kg/m rail on a container gantry crane operated by Douala Terminals International in the port of Douala, Cameroon. This was a challenging task as the rail in question was situated over 35m above the ground, with the boom of the gantry overhanging the quay wall by 30m. The existing rails were severely cracked and had proved impossible to repair due to the difficult access. Thermit welding of the new rails was selected to ensure a maintenance-free track. After considering the safety and technical risks associated with welding the 9m rail sections on a narrow platform on situ, it was decided to Thermit-weld the new rail sections on the ground and then lift four completed lengths, averaging 35m, on to the boom and bridge girder. The rails were raised using a rope and pulley system, ingeniously attached to the crane spreader which provided the lifting force. Slinging points were up to 17 metres apart on the rails, which amply demonstrated the strength of the Thermit weld in bending. Portquip Africa was highly satisfied with the quality of the training of their personnel as well as the quality of Port of Douala Gantry Crane Rail Change Booyco Engineering reports an increased demand for its 24V DC ventilation unit. Developed for use in locomotive cabs, this functional equipment provides an alternative to air-conditioning systems where there are budgetary and space constraints. Engineered for simple installation and ease of use, the unit is designed to be flush-mounted on the roof, and swivelled out when in operation. This allows it to be stowed away when not in use and is an advantage given the confined space in most locomotive cabs. The ventilation unit has three speeds and an air-flow capacity which ranges from 410m3 per hour to 550m3 , at low and high speeds respectively. The unit is compact, features a robust housing and is locally manufactured by Booyco Engineering. DEMAND FOR FUNCTIONAL COOLING UNIT Booyco Engineering’s compact 24V DC ventilation unit the product supplied by Thermitrex. The project was completed safely and within budget and afforded Portquip Africa the confidence to undertake similar projects in the future. Quoting project manager Matthys Wessels: “Although each crane is different and may require different rigging techniques, this has convinced us that Thermit welding in a controlled environment is the best technical solution when changing container crane rails”. 6 – 8 April 2011 EXPO CENTRE – JOHANNESBURG WWW.RAILWAYSANDHARBOURS.COM RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201020
  19. 19. The moment of trust. From the efficient transport of its freight to the safe arrival of their loved ones, South Africa trusts the railroads. And the railroads put trust in Timken. Since 1932 Timken has played an integral role in the development of the South African railroad industry, delivering more than 900,000 locally made bearings for the most challenging environments and applications—from locomotives to rolling stock, freight to passenger service, trams to high-speed rail. With innovations ranging from the nation’s first Mobile Rail Service (MRS) units to the first Black Economically Empowered (BEE) agreement in the bearing industry, Timken is where South Africa turns for quality products, service and business leadership—today and tomorrow. Visit or call +27 11 741-3800 for more information. © 2010 The Timken Company Timken® and Where You Turn® are registered trademarks of The Timken Company.
  20. 20. strange mix of English, Portuguese and Chinese signage inside the carriages which are nonetheless clean and modern with functioning toilets and a restaurant car. There will be three different passenger classes on the Luanda to Malanje service: ‘Primeira’, with reclining leather seats with individual television sets; ‘Expresso’ with comfortable chairs arranged in fours around tables and communal televisions; and ‘Tramway’ the cheapest option fitted out with benches to maximise passenger numbers. “Ticket prices are yet to be announced but a CFL official told the BBC he hoped the standard fare would be less than the current price of a coach from Luanda to Malanje, which is 2,500 kwanzas ($26). The CFL is the first of three train lines to come back into full service and by the end of 2012, Angola hopes to have all three fully operational again. “The Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (CFB) is the longest railway in Africa, stretching 1,344km from the port city of Lobito on the Atlantic coast to the small town of Luau, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is a small stretch of track in use between Lobito and Cubal in Huambo province but the plan is to extend passenger services to Huambo city by early 2011. “In the very south of the country the Caminho de Ferro de Moçamedes (CFM) which goes from Namibe on the coast, through Lubango in Huila to Menongue in Kuando Kubango, is also being renovated by a Chinese company.” ANGOLA: HUAMBO SECURITY GUARANTEE Angolan national police commissioner Paulo de Almeida has guaranteed security along the Benguela Railway, aimed – he explained during a visit to Huambo - at preventing disorder. The line from the coast to the DRC, with rehabilitation nearly complete, is due to reopen in 2011. AFRICA UPDATE ANGOLA ANGOLA’S LUANDA RAILWAY IS BACK From a BBC report by Louise Redvers: “After decades out of use, Angola’s war-shattered railways are coming back to life with new trains, tracks and stations. The first section to open fully will be the 424km Luanda to Malanje route, taking people and freight from the capital up into Angola’s agriculture-rich central north-eastern region. Already operating a peak-hour 30km commuter service between central Luanda and its eastern suburbs, the trains will soon be running the full length of the railway, linking previously isolated rural communities with provincial capitals. “The fleet of diesel locomotives serving the Caminho de Ferro de Luanda (CFL) are proudly painted in the Angolan colours of red, black and yellow with a national flag attached to the door of the driver’s cab. There are 16 new stations along the line, all painted in bright pinks and oranges and some with glass and steel fronts. They cut a stark contrast to their bullet-marked colonial predecessors which stand often just metres away from the new structures, as a crumbling memory of Angola’s war-torn past. “Rehabilitation of the line began in 2005 and has reportedly cost $US350m. The track was laid by the China Railway Construction Company which also built the stations, importing most of its own labour to live in tented camps along the side of the railway. One Chinese site manager told the BBC that the work has been ready for over a year but delays in payments from the Angolan government has slowed down the handover. Angola recently admitted it had fallen into nearly $7bn of debt with foreign construction companies but has now started making repayments. “Vice minister of transport Jose Joao Kuvingua however, denied that there had been any delay with the railway’s rehabilitation and said the deadline for the line to re-open to passengers was, and still is, the end of December 2010. Speaking to journalists invited on a trial run of the train from Luanda all the way to Malanje, he said the restoration project would bring huge benefit to the communities living along the route. “As the train pulled into each station and stopped to allow the vice minister and CFL officials to inspect the tracks and stations, people gathered at the platform’s edge with a warm welcome. “In N’Daladtando, the capital of Kwanza Norte province, scores of children ran up behind the train chanting ‘comboio’ (Portuguese for train), while their parents discussed the benefits of the railway. ‘It’s going to be much safer to travel by train than by minibus-taxi,’ Joao Domingos, 36, a labourer said. There are too many accidents on the roads but the train will offer us an alternative.’ “For many, the return of the train serves as a reminder that Angola’s long civil war is finally over. Like the track and stations, the locomotives are also Chinese and there is a ZenzaLuanda Dondo Malanje Lobito Benguela Camacupa Caaia Kuito HuamboCubal Luena Namibe Lubango Dongo Menongue Chiange Oshikango Ondangwa Tsumeb Grootfontein Chamutete Luau Dilolo DRC ATLANTIC ZAMBIA BOTSWANA ANGOLA NAMIBIA Km 300 RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201022
  21. 21. Specialists in refurbishment, repair and upgrade of wagons and major supplier of new wagons to the heavy haul coal and iron-ore fleets with tare ratios as high as 5:1, as well as wagons for cement, car carriers, intermodal and fuel tankers. WAGON BUSINESS Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: GM515_TREPresslink
  22. 22. Sabha, in the centre of the country. Outside Tripoli, a sleek model train sits on newly constructed tracks. Inside, in first class, white sofas line the cabin. Business class has shiny blue chairs arranged around tables. The government says the completed network will employ more than 1,000 Libyan technicians. One of these is Shukri al-Arab, who studied electrical engineering in Yugoslavia. NIGERIA NIGERIA TO DIVERT CHINESE LOAN The Federal Government of Nigeria wants to divert the $US500m loan secured from the Chinese government to finance the Kano-Abuja railway project. Instead, according to a letter to the Chinese ambassador from minister of finance Dr Olusegun Aganga, the government wishes to use the money to finance the National Public Security Community System Project. The letter said: “As indicated during the meeting with Mr Lei, the National Public Security Community System Project has been designed to address security challenges which are sine qua non for the socio- economic development of the country”. The Daily Trust recalls: “The Kano-Abuja railway project was negotiated by the late President Umar Musa Yar’adua with the Chinese government in 2008 during his visit to China. The project is part of the portion of Lagos-Kano railway project proposed by the [previous] Olusegun Obasanjo administration but reviewed by the late Yar’adua.” A source told Daily Trust that Mr Aganga wrote the letter without consulting the ministry of transport under which the project was initiated. He said the minister of transport, Yusuf Suleiman, was at the council meeting last Wednesday [15 September] to challenge the directive but the issue was not entertained. The decision by the late President Yar’adua to put off the Lagos-Abuja railway project was based on abuse of due process in the agreement. ‘The loan was negotiated on condition that the Nigeria government will pay the count part funding of $70.5 within three years and the China Eximbank will provide $470 million as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).” “Source said the Nigerian government paid the first count part fund in 2009 but it did not affair (sic) in the 2010 budget. ‘The failure by government to make provision of the count part funding in this year’s budget indicated that already it was planned to stop the project,” the source said. “Dr Aganga’s letter read, the source said: ‘the minister is yet to travel for the negotiation due to some undisclosed reasons.’” DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO EGYPT CAIRO METRO COACH ORDER Egypt’s national authority for tunnels has awarded a consortium of Mitsubishi, rolling stock manufacturer Kinki Sharyo and electric equipment supplier Toshiba a contract worth around ¥18 billion to supply 88 passenger coaches to the Cairo metro system in 2012-13. HIGH-SPEED LINE The Egyptian government is considering building a high- speed railway between Alexandria and Cairo (208km) and also a new 77km line linking Cairo to Tenth of Ramadan City. The projects would be financed through issuing bonds secured by state assets. Egypt changed its laws in December to allow utilities and other quasi-government organisations to issue bonds directly. LIBYA LIBYA’S NEW RAILWAY Libya is the only country in North Africa without a railway. “I believe a railway that links the Arab nation from Egypt until it reaches Morocco is more important than water supplies to a city or a region,” Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi said in a 1993 speech. Construction began in 2008 on lines running east to west along the country’s Mediterranean coast and south to AFRICA UPDATE Martin Welzel photographed former South African 32 050 in Lubumbashi nearly 20 years ago. The class 32 locos were GE type U18C 1-Co-Co-1 units rated at 1,975hp. They entered service originally between 1959 and 1961. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201024
  23. 23. Building the future Ultra long rails GM536_VAE_Presslink
  24. 24. It is reported that “final touches” are being made on feasibility and route studies for the proposed railway from Isaka in Tanzania to Kigali in Rwanda. The estimated cost stands at between $US3 and 4 billion. Extensions to Bujumbura in Burundi and the Eastern DRC are foreseen as coming later. The existing metre-gauge railway from Dar-es-Salaam is to be rebuilt on 1,435mm gauge as a parallel project. At a “final preparatory review meeting” in Dar in October, financial commitments already given by friendly countries and development partners were to be assessed to ensure enough capital has been raised to proceed with tendering, which will be followed by the selection of contractors and actual construction. [It is still not clear how entirely new rolling stock is to be funded and procured, both for the new line as well as the 1,100km regauged Tanzanian Central route. – Editor: Railways Africa.] SUDAN RUSSIA TO BUILD SUDAN-KENYA RAILWAY According to a reliable source: “A conference between the New Sudan Foundation, ThyssenKrupp GfT Gleistechnik, Ayr Logistics Ltd and MosMetrostroy has concluded with a comprehensive agreement to commence construction of the proposed railroad from Juba, which will eventually connect the Southern Sudan with the Indian Ocean seaports of Mombasa and Lamu in Kenya. “Since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement between the regime in Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in January 2005, the new Sudan Foundation, chaired by Dr Costello Garang Ring Lual, has pursued this ambitious infrastructure project to link the Southern Sudan with her neighbours Uganda and Kenya. ThyssenKrupp GfT Gleistechnik, seeing the huge potential for rail traffic across Eastern Africa, backed the vision of Dr Costello and Ayr Logistics Limited, then came on board to raise the massive financing, thought to be the in the region of at least $US3 billion. “Sources from Berlin confirmed that with the required venture capital now fully underwritten and available, the parties came together for a formal meeting in the German capital to put pen to paper. Added information was also provided that Russia’s MosMetrostroy has been selected as the major contractor, having extensive experience in building and rehabilitating railroads across the vast stretches of Russia. They, too, will financially back the project. “ In a related development, it was also learned that the New Sudan Foundation, alongside the building of the railroad, will also develop complementary projects like access roads, depots, freight terminals, power stations, and hotels, among others, along the railroad in Southern Sudan, bringing much needed extra infrastructure to the Southern Sudanese region. As previously reported, the Southern Sudanese population will vote in a referendum in early January next year, where they are expected to vote for independence from the North to become Africa’s youngest nation. TANZANIA MTWARA RAILWAY PLAN During the years that followed World War II, the British colonial government initiated a so-called Groundnut Scheme to stimulate the economy in the south-east of what was then Tanganyika. A railway was built inland from the small port of Mtwara, about 35km north of the border with Mozambique. It extended around 190km westwards to Nachingwea, with a 40km branch south to Masasi. AFRICA UPDATE PORT HARCOURT MONORAIL Work has begun on the Port Harcourt monorail project. N11 billion has already been released as part of the Rivers state government’s equity for the construction of the system which is being built under a public private partnership arrangement. The monorail will be the first of its kind in West Africa. Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, Governor Amaechi’s media adviser and publicist David Iyofor stated that the monorail will provide mass transport within the Port Harcourt metropolis, decongest the roads in the city, provide a competitive mass transport solution to the city and create job opportunities. The project has a projected cost of $US318 million, with an equity division of 20% to the Rivers state government and 80% to TSI Holdings Ltd. The first phase of 19.5km is expected to be completed two years from the day of its foundation-laying ceremony performed by President Goodluck Jonathan during his official visit to Rivers State in May. The proposed routes for the first phase are “Aggrey Road through Station Road- Azikiwe Road and Aba Road to Water Lines Junction.” “It is intended to use the electrically driven Intamin P30 Monorail Train, designed and most suitable for commuter services in cities as seen in some parts of Europe,” Iyofor said. FIRST CLASS IN NIGERIA The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has introduced first class coaches on trains running in Lagos. According to NRC managing director Adeseyi Sijuwade: “The introduction of these coaches will go a long mileage in correcting the impression that the train is an exclusive means of transportation for the poor. It will also reduce the number of vehicles on the road as more vehicles owners will embrace the train service which is as good, safe and pocket-friendly as other means of transportation, while they park their cars at home.” NRC is undertaking a total modernisation of its infrastructure. It has resumed train services in Kano and hopes to do the same in other cities such as Port Harcourt, Jos, Enugu and Maiduguri. RWANDA RWANDA RAIL PLANS ON TRACK Bujumbura TangaMuheza Kilosa Manyoni Singida Kaliua Mpanda Moshi RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201026
  25. 25. AFRICA UPDATE In the words of a recent press report quoting a local resident, “residents of Mtwara and Lindi regions are suffering from a government decision made after independence to uproot a railway line built by colonialists from Nachingwea to Mtwara harbour. It is now history that the southern regions had a railway line. We are using it to show our grandchildren the route that the railway line passed through.” Aspirant political office-bearers are currently promising to press for the building of a new railway to Mtwara, to facilitate imports and to export iron ore from Ruvuma and coal from Mchuchuma. The plan would boost development in the region and enhance economic activities. TANZANIA ZAMBIA LET’S INVEST IN RAIL – TAZARA There is urgent need to invest in railway infrastructure to complement the road network, Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) managing director Akashabatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika told Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of diplomatic missions in Zambia during their recent visit to rail facilities in Kapiri-Mposhi and Mkushi. A reliable railway, he suggested, is the only means for a country to attain optimum economic development. Tazara’s average annual freight figures, Mbikusita-Lewanika explained, averaged around 600,000 metric tonnes at one time but these had dropped to only 300,000. The company had faced “some challenges” in recent years “because of dynamism in local, regional and global economies and the politics and philosophies that evolved with time.” Economic activity, notably in the mining sector, is growing rapidly, he said, and rail infrastructure requires improvement to accommodate this. Management is determined and confident of turning Tazara around “through focused innovation.” SADC’s diplomatic chairman Salomon Witbooi (who is the Namibian High Commissioner to Zambia), travelled by train with the other diplomats from Kapiri Mposhi to Mkushi. Chingola Lumbo DODOMA Copperbelt Lake Tanganyika LakeMalawi Cabora BassaZambezi River Kafue River Signals Chinese style on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. Photo: Richard Grönstedt. November 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA
  26. 26. AFRICA UPDATE Other envoys included South African High Commissioner to Zambia Moses Chikane, Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Zambia Lovemore Mazemo, Botswana High Commission representative Tebelelo Bareki and the Tanzanian High Commission’s Samuel Munatta. ZIMBABWE NRZ TO LAY OFF THOUSANDS The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is contemplating reducing its workforce from 9,000 employees to “at least” 5,000, general manager Air Commodore (retd) Mike Karakadzai told stakeholders at the annual consultative workshop in Gweru on 7 October. “As a parastatal, we acknowledge that the volume of the human resource base does not tally with the business we are handling at the moment and there is really need to right size our human resource base,” The Chronicle quoted him saying. Management is talking with stakeholders “to find the best way forward”. He said the issue of staffing is sensitive and has to be handled with care. Karakadzai said the parastatal is working on a number of programmes aimed at improving efficiency. “Our thrust as an organisation is to try and increase the volume of business we are handling while at the same time improving on our efficiency. This will cut on costs and create a bigger cake that can sustain the existing work force,” he said. There are indicators from the business perspective that the economy is improving,” Karakadzai continued, “ and as NRZ we want to take advantage of this positive development to increase both our passenger and freight volumes.” Meanwhile, says The Chronicle, “NRZ is reportedly facing a critical shortage of wagons at a time when there is a very high demand for wagons from businesses that are either exporting or importing goods through rail. Air Commodore Karakadzai said out of a total of 9,000 wagons, only 3,600 were working, causing serious deficit challenges. He said the parastatal needed about 5,600 for it to satisfy demand. ‘The wagons we have cannot cope with demand hence this consultative meeting with our stakeholders to try and find how best to address the problem,’ he said.” There is high demand for wagons from businesses that export ferrochrome and other products. According to Karakadzai, “There has been a sharp increase in mining activity within the country and products such as ferrochrome are being exported through Maputo and Beira by rail. There is also an increase in imports such as fertilizer.” Among issues raised by stakeholders at the workshop was the theft of goods in transit and NZR promised to improve security. Steam trains remain popular with both the local public and tourists in Zimbabwe (NRZ). Photo: Geoff Cooke. Tel: +27 11 794-2910 | Fax: +27 11 794-3560 | Email: | Web: RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201028
  27. 27. Specialists in the manufacturing and refurbishing of all types of railway wheelsets for the Southern African region, using the latest technology in wheel-profiling portal lathes and laser measuring equipment. WHEEL BUSINESS Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: GM517_TREPresslink
  28. 28. SA RAIL NEWS SHOSHOLOZA MEYL: THE MINISTERS INTERVENE The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), being a division of the national Department of Transport, means it is the responsibility of public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan. Transnet on the other hand reports to transport minister Sbu Ndebele. On 22 October, both ministers jointly called a high-level meeting with acting Transnet CEO Chris Wells and Prasa CEO Lucky Montana. After the meeting, minister Ndebele said the differences between Prasa and Transnet had been “ironed out.” The two, he added, “are working on a plan to ensure that Shosholoza Meyl is back on track as soon as possible.” Following the recent transfer of the long-distance passenger train service Shosholoza Meyl from Transnet to Prasa, it was intended that Transnet would continue to maintain the rolling stock and locomotives. But Montana, who stopped all intercity operations abruptly in mid-August, complained about the quality and price of Transnet’s service. Indignantly denying the alleged shortcomings, Transnet said the “real issue” was a sum of R1.3 billion owed to it by Prasa. UNIONS CONDEMN TRANSNET-PRASA DISPUTE Some long-distance train services suspended by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) in August are still not running, the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) told Sapa on 17 October. “In a few short weeks South Africa has been plunged from its World Cup euphoria to a country without an intercity rail service,” Utatu general secretary Chris de Vos said in a statement. “With only a 10% main-line service now running, thousands of passengers must rely on alternative, more expensive transport.” He blamed government for the problems “crippling” the country’s rail system. “Prasa announced in August it would suspend its Shosholoza Meyl long-distance service and blamed Transnet for the problem. Transnet accused Prasa of non- payment of around R1.3bn for maintenance work performed, while Prasa’s CEO Lucky Montana accused Transnet of charging too much and doing a “lousy job” in maintaining their locomotives. ‘We have said everything we’ve needed to say,’ Transnet spokesman Mboniso Sigonyela told Sapa on 17 October. In a statement posted on Transnet’s website in August it said Prasa had discontinued its long-distance passenger train services without consulting Transnet. ‘This was for reasons that were within Prasa’s operational control and despite numerous attempts by Transnet to warn Prasa of the impending impact on service delivery,’ the statement said. ‘it should be noted that the company [Transnet] has set out constructive ways, including specific proposals, to assist Prasa deal with some of its difficulties.’ “De Vos said President Jacob Zuma needed to step in to resolve the problem. ‘[Zuma’s] inertia is creating fertile ground for the rail executives that have placed their own interests and egos ahead of the national need.’ Utatu said Prasa and main-line rail travel was ‘imploding’ and key rail services and jobs were disappearing. De Vos said the continued deadlock would make it more difficult to normalise the situation as staff lost their operating licences after a specific period. Fifteen train drivers had already resigned, he said. The union said the only ‘sign of hope’ was the call by the portfolio committee on public enterprise’s chairman Vytjie Mentor for government to intervene. “Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) shared Utatu’s views and concerns and had written to Zuma calling for his intervention. Fedusa general secretary, Dennis George said: ‘We, as a nation, should become more serious about bringing to boot managers of parastatals who neglect the public services they are paid to provide.’ Prasa was not immediately available for comment,” the Sapa report concluded. MINISTER HINTS AT PRIVATE HELP FPR PASSENGER RAIL In a written reply to a parliamentary question from Mannie de Freitas of the Democratic Alliance, transport minister Sibusisu Ndebele said an amount of “about” R1.3 billion which Transnet says it is owed has been the focus of major engagement by the two parties for several months.” Prasa had proposed the appointment of a mediator to “sort out” the issue, with “serious concern” being raised about Transnet taking months to substantiate its claims. The issue arose from the moving of passenger rail entities – in particular Shosholoza Meyl – out of Transnet and their consolidation into Prasa. Meanwhile, Prasa CEO Lucky Montana has emphasised the entity’s precarious financial situation repeatedly, warning that intercity services will suffer total collapse in the near future if drastic measures to improve financial support are not forthcoming. FREE RIDES ON GAUTRAIN BUSES October is officially “transport month” in South Africa. On 20 October, when “car-free” day was celebrated, everyone was encouraged to leave private cars at home and use public transport instead. All rides on Gautrain buses were free on 20 October, with no limit on the number of journeys taken. FIRST GAUTRAIN BREAKDOWN Gautrain was forced to break its own curious rule – no passengers carried between Rhodesfield and the airport – when its futuristic trains went on the blink west of Rhodesfield in the afternoon peak on 20 October. Buses filled in for trains along the section Sandton-Marlboro- South African Rail News Uneasy bedfellows: purple Prasa loco and orange Transnet loco hauling a Shosholoza Meyl train on TFR track. Photo: Eugene Armer. According to an I-Net Bridge report, the minister agreed in his reply to de Freitas that there is a role for the private sector in funding rail passenger transport. RAILWAYS AFRICA November 201030