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    NEW KENYAN RAILWAY “ON COURSE”
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AFRICA UPDATE                                                                                                             ...
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  1. 1. Railways Africa PUBlIShER CONTRIBUTORS SUBSCRIPTIONS Phillippa Fox Richard Ågren Rates for 10 issues per annum (2010) South Africa R375-50 (incl VAT) Eugene Armer EDITOR Africa R379.50 Rollo Dickson Peter Bagshawe International R946 (incl. Foreign Malcolm Bates Exchange) DESIGN & lAYOUT John Batwell Send a cheque or money order to: Craig Dean Dietmar Fiedel Railways Africa Richard Grönstedt PO Box 4794 ADVERTISING RANDBURG 2125 Jacque Wepener Phillippa Fox RSA SUBSCRIPTIONS Or send an email to Kim Bevan stationmaster@railwaysafrica.com ISSN 1029 - 2756 Rail link Communications cc The copyright on all material in this magazine is expressly reserved and vested in Rail link Communications cc, P.O. Box 4794 Randburg 2125 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 Tel: +27 87 940 9278 link Communications unless otherwise stated. E-mail: stationmaster@railwaysafrica.com Twitter: railwaysafrica Website: www.railwaysafrica.com Affiliated Associations & Societies
  2. 2. Comment Towards the end of 2009, South Africa’s Among facts of life that few seem to grasp, ever-vacillating Department of Transport traffic once lost to the road is extremely (DoT), having only recently relaxed difficult to win back. Were DoT serious maximum permissible vehicle mass in its intent, an instant embargo should regulations, announced sweeping new have been placed on further branchline strategies to limit the conveyance of closures. commodities by road. The broad objective is to force the use of rail instead. The No such luck. After a Transnet Freight country’s roads, apparently, are in such Rail working on 18 January 2010 to clear poor shape that some may fall apart remaining rolling stock, we are told, there within five years, due to lack of funds for was to be no further activity on the line maintenance. running south from Pietermaritzburg to Donnybrook. The condition of many branch lines, unfortunately, is little better. Few of those Extending 302km to Matatiele not all closed during recent years are candidates that long ago, with its own branches for revival unless virtually rebuilt from to Underberg and Kokstad (and not scratch. From the moment when trains forgetting the former narrow gauge east stop running, the vandals and thieves of Donnybrook), this too appears to have Cover: Class 39-200 move in, helping themselves to sleepers joined the growing list of minor lines in Photo: Craig Dean and station roofs, cutting rail into stealable South Africa that have seen their last train. lengths; not infrequently burning or smashing anything they cannot cart away. Contents Opinion: Pete the Pundit 2 Africa UpDate 6 SA RailNews 14 Gautrain Construction UpDate 22 Railway Signalling & Interlocking 28 Mishaps & Blunders 30 Home truths on gauge Rift Valley Tunisia: Electric for Middle East UpDate 35 > Page 2 developments diesel > Page 6 > Page 12 End of the Line 36 First train reaches Simon’s Town line Gautrain construction Chipata closed > Page 22 > Page 12 > Page 16 www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 1
  3. 3. opinion PETE THE PUNDIT shares one or two home truths on GAUGE With the obvious exception of North Africa - notably the alternative of transport could transport as much as possible western bit - most of the once-proud railways on this continent from the colonies for the comforts of the mother country are in a sorry state. Someone has to bear the blame for this, markets, and colonial defence, the rationale of colonisation and the politicians have lost little time finding scapegoats. was adequately served.” In Kenya and Tanzania, in addition to concessionaires who – in three whole years or less - failed dismally to resurrect In other words, the 1,067mm gauge was chosen as the thousands of kilometres of totally run-down track, broken cheapest means of pirating the wealth of the Western Cape locomotives and decrepit rolling stock, the metre-gauge (where the 1,067mm gauge in South Africa began), and is currently the favourite culprit. Everything, well-heeled shipping it back to Britain. ministers explain to the gullible poor, will now have to be rebuilt on “standard gauge”. Nigeria, attributing its 3,505km Another version of this story - one which happens to be of almost completely inoperable (by 2006), derelict railway historical fact as distinct from politically correct claptrap – to the burden of “Cape gauge”, bravely decided to rebuild sees matters somewhat differently. The original lines – to completely on 1,435mm. Wellington via Stellenbosch in 1863 and to Wynberg in 1864 – employed the 1,435mm (4’8½”) gauge that DoT favours. But in 1873 in Cape Town, a Parliamentary Select Committee of three decided by 2 votes to 1 that the gauge should be changed to 1,067mm. The dissenting vote came from C Abercrombie Smith, chairman of the committee, who was the Colonial Commissioner. Abercrombie – the colonialist - was the one wanting to retain 1,435mm. The amazing Landwasser viaduct, one of the major engineering achievements Cape Town’s station in the 1870s. The colonialists built the impressive on Switzerland’s Rhatische Bahn – an all-electric metre-gauge system that structure and laid the rails to 1,435mm gauge – not exactly evidence of crosses the Alps into Italy. frugality in outlay. Even South Africa, which should know better, has climbed The reasons for changing the gauge were based on hard on this ill-informed bandwagon. At the 2005 Africa Rail facts, limited availability of funds and similar practicalities. conference, former transport minister Jeff Radebe – keen to To extend the line into the mountains beyond Wellington, make his name saving South Africa’s crumbling railway from planning engineer R Thomas hall recommended 1,067mm extinction - proposed a dramatic, home-in-one solution: a because it would cost far less in terms of earthworks, change in gauge. tunnels, etc. “Policy pronouncements of this magnitude are areas of Admittedly the objective of pushing the line through strategic insight and visionary competence reserved for a to Kimberley had a lot to do with exporting precious few,” the Department of Transport (DoT) was quick to point stones. To diamonds however, one railway gauge is much out in an admiring, 90-odd-page follow-up “discussion the same as another. document”.* The new-look history lesson from DoT didn’t stop with Radebe didn’t touch on the reasons for South Africa choosing the colonialists: “The inheritors of the Colonial State, the 1,067mm gauge in the first place, an omission which his Apartheid State, did not concern itself with changing the department was quick to rectify: gauge as the interest of the apartheid state fed off the carcass of the colonial one. Both had no concern for the “In the true tradition of colonial extraction and control, there general public and broader national economic goals. The was no concern from the British colonialist to construct gauge therefore continued, to the detriment of technology expensive rail systems in colonies. As long as the cheapest advancements and changes.” *Ten years earlier the same minister (then responsible for Public Enterprises) somewhat less visionarily disregarded warnings that failure to build more power stations would land Eskom and the country in huge trouble by 2007. 2 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  4. 4. Committed to our clients’ success • Rail Planing • Turnout Replacements • Ballast Tamping, Open Line and Turnouts • Track Condition Measuring and Recording • Ballast Cleaning, Open Line and Turnouts • Track Condition Evaluation and Analysis • Formation Rehabilitation • Track Construction • Ballast Profiling • Track Renewal • Rail Welding 20 Lautre Rd, Stormill, Roodepoort PO Box 103 Maraisburg, 1700 Tel: (011) 761-2400 Fax: (011) 474-3582 Email: plasserail@plasser.co.za
  5. 5. opinion Fortunately for everyone, “The end of the apartheid “NIGHTMARE” PROBLEMS state ushered in a Democratic State which has access to DoT’s document succinctly sums up problems that arise international markets’’. This was great news – but something where different gauges come together: “linked to the in the new order must have gone badly wrong. The standard system, Cape gauge has break-of-gauge Department conceded: “The rail network system in South nightmares such as transhipment delays and costs Africa [at present] is in a serious state of decline....There related thereto; Break-of-gauge has related break-of-loads has been no investment in new infrastructure for the past 20 nightmares, where loads that were on wide gauge wagons years.” [ie since 1986]. cannot fit into the smaller wagons, or if the trip is from wide gauge to narrow gauge, wagon space is wasted.” This of course is more nonsense. In 1988, a brand-new railway was opened to Cape Town’s Khayelitsha and new True indeed, though this is not a problem confronting high-tech, stainless steel commuter trains were introduced South Africa - not now, not in the past, not in the future soon afterwards. In 1987, a large order for class 11E 5,850hp either, assuming that neighbouring Botswana, Zimbabwe, electric locomotives arrived, followed by the first advanced Mozambique, Swaziland and Namibia, who all use dual-voltage 3-phase locomotives (the class 14E) in 1990 “Cape gauge” too, are not talked into doing something and the first dual-power electro-diesels (the class 38) - in silly. Not only is there 100% gauge compatibility at 1992. During this time, 125 new class 10E, 10E1 and 10E2 present, permitting unobstructed through-running locomotives were placed in service, and continuously between these five neighbouring countries and South welded rail was completed on all main and suburban Africa: unhindered running of rolling stock without cargo commuter lines. By 1987, 6,000 route km of line were under transhipment is possible to many places much further sophisticated, centralised traffic control (CTC) signalling. In on, eg Kabwe in Zambia, Tanzania’s Dar-es-Salaam and 1989 a world record was established on the internationally lubumbashi in the DRC. acclaimed Sishen-Saldanha line by running the longest and heaviest train ever. Admittedly, since 1994 (does that date ring a bell?) barely 4.5km of new commuter lines have been constructed, and no new locomotives or passenger trains have gone into service. Now which government must take responsibility for that? South African proposals for track widening threaten the current uniformity of gauge which makes through-running possible in the whole of Southern Africa – such as this Rovos Rail excursion seen in Zimbabwe, en route from Cape Town via Botswana and Zambia to Dar-es-Salaam on Tanzania’s east coast. Photo: Richard Grönstedt Ironically, changing our gauge would immediately give rise to all the “nightmares” that DoT fears. Gauge widening throughout the whole of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Namibia and the DRC – if this is what the department actually has in mind - would be a truly “More locomotive power needed for the Cape gauge to negotiate steep terrains,” unimaginable undertaking with formidable implications – says DoT - but these Transnet class 11E locomotives are more powerful than even for the World Bank, generally careful with its money but anything operated on standard gauge in England today. A fleet of these entered known to do foolish things in Africa. service in 1987 – ie well within the “nil investment” period DoT claims for the years after 1986. The Umfolozi viaduct is every bit as good as any in the world On another tack - it would be disastrous if an ambitious, on 1,435mm gauge. countrywide South African gauge-changing project were to be started, run out of money halfway, and be left half-done. South Africa’s railways in 2009 were characterised by the lamentably deteriorating service, dissatisfied customers, As for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, clarity is yet to emerge under-maintained trains, badly vandalised stations and a on the likely cost of their planned change to 1,435mm and disconcerting accident record – a sorry list of phenomena exactly how the billions of dollars needed are to be found. largely attributable to inadequate funding and management, Also, the preliminary estimates of cost appear to concentrate and nothing at all to gauge. on infrastructure. how much, one wonders, will completely new 1,435mm gauge locomotives and rolling stock dent Incidentally the term “Cape gauge”, used uncomplimentarily financial resources? in the DoT document, did not originate in South Africa and had nothing to do with colonialism. It derived from Will the dreams take knocks like that in Nigeria, whose the initials of Carl Abraham Pihl, chief engineer of the envisaged new 1,435mm gauge network (with a contract Norwegian State Railways, who used 1,067mm for a line worth $US8 billion already let) was summarily scrapped, 100km north of Oslo in 1862 – to save on cost. South Africa once reality surfaced? was the sixteenth country to follow his philosophy of using an economically modest formula. Today we continue to use To paraphrase a well-known politician from the colonial “Cap gauge” in good company, for example: New Zealand, era: “By blaming mismanagement, failure to maintain and Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, much of Japan and two general incompetence on gauge, politicians can fool some states in Australia. of the people some of the time, but they can’t fool all the people all the time”. 4 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  6. 6. Yale. Your competent partner for ROBEL. www.robel.info Yale Engineering Products (Pty) Ltd P.O. Box 4431, Honeydew, 2040, 12 Laser Park Square, Zeiss Rd, Honeydew, Johannesburg, South Africa E-mail: info@yalejhb.co.za Tel: +27(0)11-794-2910 Fax: +27(0)11-794-3560 www.yalejhb.co.za ROBEL Bahnbaumaschinen GmbH · Industriestraße 31 · 83395 Freilassing · Germany Tel: +49 (0) 8654/609-0 · Fax: +49 (0) 8654/609-100 · E-mail: info@robel.info
  7. 7. AfricA UpdAte ALGERIA mines envisaged in Namibia and Botswana, and other bulk ALGERIAN CONTAINER ROUTE LAUNCHED freight. The development, to be implemented through the Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviares (SNTF - the Spatial Development Initiatives, will link Walvis Bay in Namibia state railway of Algeria) has launched container transport by through Botswana to the industrialised Gauteng region in rail between the Port of Algiers and the dry port of Rouiba, South Africa. It will offer a major rail transport alternative about 20km east of the capital. Railway lines in the harbour to trans-Atlantic markets for Gauteng and Botswana, at the have not been used for many years, and this is the first same time increasing regional integration and economic time that container trains have been operated in the area. growth for the three countries. Accompanied by executives, transport minister Amar Tou watched the first loaded departure. ERITREA An early (1950s) Algerian diesel- hydraulic loco, Belgian-built. BOTSWANA TRANS-KALAHARI MEETING The transport ministers of Botswana (Frank J Ramsden), Eritrea’s unique railway was begun in 1888 on 750mm gauge, then changed to Namibia (helmuth K Angula), and South Africa (Sibusiso 950mm. In addition to the remarkable pre-World War II (1938) 0-4-4-0 Mallet Ndebele), issued a joint communiqué on 13 December, steam locos, an elderly Littorina passenger railcar dating from the mid-thirties following a meeting in Windhoek to discuss the proposed is still serviceable. A second similar vehicle has been stripped for spares. $US1.4 billion Trans-Kalahari railway. Three companies Photo: Richard Grönstedt interested in the project made presentations at the meeting, where it was agreed to await the outcome of the pre-feasibility ETHIOPIA study scheduled for completion by May 2010. Pointing out LIGHT RAIL FOR ADDIS ABEBA that the concept was first mooted nearly a century ago, The Ethiopian ministry of transport and communications is the ministers said they “appreciated the initiatives taken by planning a light rail network in the capital city, Addis Abeba. the private sector and assured our governments continued It was announced on 1 January that a memorandum of commitment to private sector involvement in the project”. understanding (MoU) has been signed between the ministry and a foreign company which is to lay rails in selected streets A call for expressions of interest will be published to allow of the metropolis. No further details were provided, except bidders to compete in accordance with the best international that a total route distance of 30km is envisaged. practice. The line will be used for transporting coal from The railway station in Addis Abeba. Service along the metre-gauge line is currently suspended. Photo: Dietmar Fiedel KENYA RIFT VALLEY DEVELOPMENTS On 15 January, according to Jaindi Kisero in the Saturday Nation (published in Nairobi), a new shareholders’ agreement was discussed at a lively board meeting of Rift Valley Railways (RVR). In the previous week, the governments of Kenya and Uganda reportedly directed the company “to get its house in order” following reports that Egyptian-based Citadel Capital had bought 49% of South African-based Sheltam’s 35% interest in RVR. In terms of timelines set down by the two governments, shareholders were required to recapitalise the company by putting in at least $US10 million by 25 January. 6 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  8. 8. AfricA UpdAte It is understood that a meeting to decide whether to “last month, the london-based private equity fund helios cancel RVR’s concession was scheduled for 27 January Capital also jumped into the fray saying it was ready to pump in Kampala. $50 million into the concession. In a letter by its managing director, helios said it - together with its technical partners, In the event of the concession being cancelled, Kisero America latina logistica of Brazil - had successfully writes, the Transcentury group risks losing an estimated $9 conducted a commercial and financial due diligence and million it spent on acquiring its 20% stake in RVR as well as developed a detailed turnaround plan for RVR. helios also shareholder loans it has extended to the consortium in the said that it had engaged with both the IFC and KFW and that last two years. it was prepared to invest the money.” Kisero continues: “According to the government directive, the shareholders must sort out their differences within 14 days or face termination of the problematic railway deal. They must migrate all their shares to a new special-purpose vehicle known as the Kenya Uganda Railway holdings (KURh) registered in Mauritius. In addition, they have to recapitalise the company to a level that will give two international lending institutions, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and KFW of the Netherlands the comfort to release some $100 million they committed to the concession several years ago. “According to the legal document that has been prepared to make it possible for the migration to KURh - so called ‘deeds of amendment’ - all six shareholders must raise capital in KURh in proportion to their shareholding in RVR.” The other shareholders of RVR are Centum of Kenya (10%), Mirambo ltd of Tanzania (15%), and Prime Fuels ltd of Kenya (15%). “The Egyptians have said they are ready to inject the required $50 million in the concession. Transcentury has also said it is ready to fork out the needed cash. Kenya freight train hauled by class 93 GE-built loco, dating from 1978. www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 7
  9. 9. AfricA UpdAte NEW KENYAN RAILWAY “ON COURSE” Kenya’s planned new standard gauge railway is “on course”, Yakunin points out that Russia has more than 170 years’ transport minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere says. Evelyn experience building railways in harsh environments, Njoroge of Nairobi-based Butterfly News quotes him “through tundra and desert, across mountainous areas explaining that the agreement with Rift Valley Railways and the broadest rivers.” The China Railway Construction (RVR) initially blocked the proposed development. It Corporation holds a series of contracts covering the stipulated that the two governments could not construct 625km section of the coastal railway west from Surt to a line within 35km on either side of the existing railway. Al Khums, Tripoli and Ras Ejder on the Tunisian border, Eventually agreement was reached that a new line may be and an 800km link running inland from Misratah to iron ore constructed without restrictions. deposits near Sabha. It had been hoped to start building the new line in MALAWI June 2009, “after the government pledged to fast-track JAPAN TO AID MALAWI the signing of the bilateral agreement with Uganda to The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica), ensure that it becomes operational in the next two to together with Malawi’s ministry of transport and public three years,” Njoroge writes. Mwakwere, she added, is infrastructure, are to appoint consultants to undertake a confident that the project is “on schedule”. Some three feasibility study on reinstating the long-inoperable connection months ago, advertisements had been placed, inviting from Mozambique’s Sena line to the railways of Malawi. companies to submit expressions of interest, and bids are There have been no trains on this line since 1983, when the currently being evaluated, Certain firms, the minister said, Mozambique civil war began. The Japanese government is “had volunteered to conduct the feasibility study and design to provide a grant of up to $US2.5 million for the study which at their own cost.” is to include repairs to the flood-damaged Chiromo Bridge in the district of Nsanje. According to Njoroge, the government is seeking “a private partner to help it raise the Sh196 billion (about $US2.5bn) Rehabilitation of the line will restore Malawi’s access to the it requires to fund the new railway whose total construction port of Beira. costs are estimated at Sh300 billion (about $US4bn).” Mwakwere said that the line will initially be diesel-electric powered but this would be switched to a fully electric line once the country’s energy capacity and supply is reliable. “The line will also extend from Kampala to the north past Gulu and into Southern Sudan and to Kigali, Rwanda and Bujumbura to the west.” LIBYA LIBYAN RAILWAY President of Rossiiskie Zheleznie Dorogi (RZhD – the Russian State Railway) Vladimir Yakunin visited libyan Railways chairman Said Mohammed Rashid on 5 December to inspect progress with building the new 554km Surt- Banghazi railway. Altogether a workforce of 3,500 from libya EMD diesel loco ex Taiwan in Malawi. and Russia is involved in the four-year construction phase, and housing for more than 400 is nearing completion at the MOZAMBIQUE future Ras lanuf station. Some of the heavy construction SENA LINE ALMOST COMPLETE and railway equipment has been delivered, including a track- Reconstruction work on the 574km Sena line from the central laying machine, flat wagons and a 100 tonne crane. Mozambican port of Beira had reached a point only 24km from the Moatize coal basin in the western province of Tete by the The route parallels the Mediterranean coast, with six major end of December 2009. The Maputo daily “Noticias” quoted and 24 minor stations. The double-track line is to be operated Tete provincial transport director Paz Catruza saying that, initially using 16 diesel locomotives currently being built by despite a slight delay caused by a number of “technical and GE Transportation, but it is intended to electrify eventually, to material constraints”, the reconstruction teams would reach permit speeds of 250km/h. Moatize municipality during January 2010. Rehabilitation of the stations at Nyamawabue, Sinjale, and Doa in Mutarara district, as well as Cambulatsitse, Cateme, and Moatize itself, in Moatize district, is included in the project. Early resumption of both passenger and goods traffic is expected. The revised deadline for completion of the line was extended from December 2009 to the end of January 2010. According to Director of the Sena line Reconstruction Brigade Candido Jone, quoted in “Noticias”, the contractors - Indian consortium Rites and Ircon International - ran out of material and the target of 1,400 metres a day was not met for some time. The production of reinforced concrete sleepers in factories at Dondo and Sena fell behind because of a shortage of steel, which is imported from India. 8 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  10. 10. SAL L’UNITÉ DE CONTRÔLE “SUPÉRIEURE” DE LA LOCOMOTIVE  Le système SAL s’installe sur n’importe qu’elle locomotive  La quincaillerie subordonnée est échangée en moins de construites tel que GE, GM, Alstom, Bombardier & autres. 5 jours.  L’interface Homme Machine (MMI) sera programmée pour  Applicable à tous les technologies de Locomotive Moteur- afficher n’importe quel langage. Multi (Groupe électrogène).  L’installation du système sera adaptée et dessinée  Le SAL est le système le plus avancé et complet, et à spécifiquement aux demandes du client. coût effectif de système de surveillance intelligent de locomotive par microprocesseur et Télémétrie avec GPRS  Installé dans les Chemins de fer de Classe 1 sur des sur le marché aujourd’hui! locomotives EMD & GE il fonctionne avec succès.  Il élimine approximativement 85% des relais. (Selon le manufacturier de la locomotive)  UM, pupitre de commande, des capteurs pour la chambre du moteur, des dispositifs et les ensembles de filage sont fournis.  Les transducteurs et la quincaillerie requis pour le montage sont fournis en ensembles.  Un système de support complet par téléphone, conférence web ou sur place avec notre ingénierie. GM321_AP Presslink  Un support total de 20 années. MESURE DE LA VITESSE ET LIMITATION UTILISANT GPS TÉLÉMÉTRIES PAR GPRS LE CONTROL LOGIQUE TOTAL DÉCROIT LE NOMBRE DE RELAIS JUSQU’À 85%* ET/OU UN GÉNÉRATEUR D’ESSIEUX * SUJET AU MANUFACTURIER DE LA LOCOMOTIVE CONTROL D’EXCITATION DIGITAL (DURANT LA CHARGE ET LE FREINAGE RHÉOSTATIQUE) SYSTÈME DE SURVEILLANCE INTELLIGENT COMPLET PAR MICROPROCESSEUR. PROTECTION COMPLÈTE DE SURVITESSE DU MOTEUR, SURVEILLANCE DE LA TEMPÉRATURE ET DE LA PRESSION INTERFACE HOMME - MACHINE PROTECTION COMPLÈTE DES GRILLES DE FREINAGE RHÉOSTATIQUE zeit ENREGISTREUR D’ÉVÈNEMENTS SYSTÈME DE COMMUNICATION DIGITAL AVEC UN PROTOCOLE OUVERT CONTRÔLE D’ADHÉSION ET PROTECTION DES CONTROL COMPLET DE MOTEURS DE TRACTION LA PUISSANCE ALTERNATEUR D’ESSIEU MESURE LA CONSOMMATION RÉEL DE CARBURANT DIESEL PROTECTION ET CONTRÔLE DES ÉQUIPEMENTS AUXILIAIRES, (COMPRESSEUR, VENTILATEUR, GÉNÉRATEUR AUXILIAIRE, ETC) Tel: +001 (450) 424 4112 Fax: +001 (450) 424 4026 730 Cite des Jeunes Saint Lazare PQ J7T 2BS Canada info.rmr@railroadbusiness.com www.railroadbusiness.com
  11. 11. AfricA UpdAte After the relaid line reaches Moatize, finishing touches to According to comment in the Rwanda press, “whereas we track alignment, the drainage system and the rehabilitation welcome the step that our respective Infrastructure ministers of bridges will continue throughout 2010, Jone explains. have reached, there’s need to re-emphasise the imperative for a speedy implementation of each step agreed upon. If the private sector is shying away from the project, our respective governments should not be held hostage but rather mobilise resources to kickstart the initiative.” [ Old Chinese proverb: Consultants’ promises of profitability sometimes burn investors’ fingers. - editor ] SUDAN RED SEA TO THE ATLANTIC A new rail project has been launched to link the Red Sea at Port Sudan with the Atlantic Ocean at Dakar in Sénégal. Secretary- General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is quoted saying that the political will behind the project was confirmed during the first ministerial meeting on the scheme at Khartoum, Sudan, in December 2009. Cooperation activities by OIC in Turkey and Islamic countries, he added, increase trade potentials, while the OIC Economic Summit hosted in Turkey “opened new horizons”. New projects aimed at creating common trade areas and boosting cross border trade, are “on the way”. Since the 6mta capacity of the rehabilitated Sena line will be insufficient to meet export coal requirements in the near future, a connecting link from Moatize to Malawi is planned, to provide access to the northern port of Nacala by 2015. An additional new railway is envisaged from Mutarara to the Nacala line, bypassing Malawi. NIGERIA LAGOS MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY According to the lagos state government, the design for the city’s N170 billion ($US1.2bn) mass transit rail project has been completed. Enjoying World Bank financial assistance, it will include a 7.75km viaduct, a 3km coastal The proposed line from Dakar on the Atlantic coast in Sénégal to elevated track and a 610m bridge over sea water. Trains are Port Sudan, some 6,000km distant on the Red Sea. to run at 100km/h. TANZANIA It is hoped to complete construction, providing jobs for RITES CONTRACT TO BE REVOKED about 4,000 Nigerians, in three years. State governor The 25-year railway management agreement between Babatunde Raji Fashola says the Chinese Civil Engineering Tanzania and Rail India Technical and Economic Services Construction Company (CCECC) is ready to begin work. (Rites) is to be officially revoked in February, Permanent The first construction phase, he told journalists, will be the Secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of Infrastructure 27.6km Blue line from Okokomaiko to Marina, adding that Development Omari Chambo has told the parliamentary Nigerians working on the london underground were keen committee on public accounts in Dar-es-Salaam. In the three “to come back home and run an efficient rail system”. years since taking over operations, the government says, the company has “underperformed”. With regard to the proposed Red line rail, the state is waiting for Federal Government agreement to use its UNIVERSITY RAILWAY existing rail corridor to link Iddo through Agbado and Ijoko Following “extensive planning”, the University of Dodoma in Ogun State. (UDom) has announced its intention to construct a railway network to shuttle students and visitors both on and outside RWANDA its campus. The proposed system will link all five schools “RWANDA NEEDS FAST-TRACKING” within the university campus to the main rail station near Ministers of Infrastructure from Tanzania, Burundi and the centre of Tanzania’s capital city. UDom vice-chancellor Rwanda agreed at a meeting in December to establish a Professor Idris Kikula told the Dar-es-Salaam Daily News “roadmap” of legal and regulatory framework to govern on 27 December that lines are to be constructed alongside the proposed railway construction project linking the roads already in place on the campus as well as beside a three countries. 6km stretch outside the university. A feasibility study carried out by an American firm concluded According to Kikula, the idea was prompted by the that the proposed new 1,700km standard-gauge line from university being an “expansive area”, and the fact that the Dar-es-Salaam is both economically and financially viable, current student enrolment of 14,000 is projected to reach at an estimated cost of $US3.5 billion. “Donors”, it is said, 50,000 in the not too distant future. The institution covers “have equally endorsed the initial findings.” The three an area of about 6,000 hectares, on which residential countries intend to engage “strategic partners”, mainly from halls, lecture rooms, hospital, administration and other the private sector to invest in this “profitable project.” areas are widely spread. 10 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  12. 12. AfricA UpdAte www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 11
  13. 13. AfricA UpdAte Kikula is optimistic that investors who have been ZAMBIA approached will sell the proposal to the banks who would FIRST TRAIN REACHES CHIPATA advance loans. “We are currently focusing on external The first train has arrived in Chipata (formerly Fort Jameson) investors but even local people can partner up to invest in in Eastern Zambia, carrying ballast. There was excitement the project,” he told the Daily News. among the local population which gathered 6km from the Malawi border to witness the event. The line has been under “But because it is primarily targeting students, it would construction for 27 years. be a low cost means of transport,” Kikula told the paper, adding: We’ll be happy if groundwork starts in 2010.” The extension west of Mchinji in Malawi to Chipata was conceived in 1982 as a bilateral two-year project between Zambia and Malawi. The portion from Mchinji to the border was completed in 1984, but the Zambian government lacked the necessary resources to complete its part of the work, and only 3.5km of track was laid. When the project was revived in 2006, it was found that the construction was inadequate and the rails were lifted. Unsuccessful endeavours were made to interest the private sector and in the end the Zambian government provided the necessary funds. Zambia’s Eastern Chamber of Commerce (ECCP) has urged government to speed up the acquisition of land for a dry port at Chipata. ECCP chairman Timothy Nyirenda stresses Dodoma University plans a campus railway the urgent need to construct a dry port for the storage and transport of heavy-duty goods. TAZARA The first train CHINESE LOAN FOR TAZARA from Malawi The Chinese government is to lend $US39 million to the reaches Tanzania-Zambia railway, known as Tazara, to help it out Chipata, of its financial crisis. Tanzania’s infrastructure development Zambia. The minister Shukuru Kawambwa told the press: “China spent 30km line has about $US500 million to build Tazara’s infrastructure in the been under 1970s, so it has agreed to extend the loan to rehabilitate it.” construction for 27 years. ZIMBABWE MASVINGO PASSENGER TRAIN RETURNS Passenger train service between Gweru and Masvingo Impressive semaphores are to be seen at Tazara’s vandalised stations, says (197km), suspended the past six months for $US35,000’s Richard Grönstedt (who took the photo), but they do not work. worth of coach refurbishment (six vehicles) and track rehabilitation, resumed on 11 December 2009. The timetable makes it possible for people to travel from Gweru in the TUNISIA morning, do business in Masvingo, and return the same From October 2010, new electric trains will gradually phase day. Travellers from harare or Bulawayo connect with the out diesel traction between the main railway station in Tunis’ restored branch-line service at Gweru. According to National Place Barcelone and hammam El Chatt, 17km south of the Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) public relations manager Fanuel city. Sets with a capacity of 2,500 are to be introduced by Masikati, quoted in The Chronicle, rails imported from China Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT are being used for track renewal and slippers (sic) are being - the Tunisian National Railways). They will be capable of manufactured at Fort Concrete in Gweru. 120km/h. Trains are to run at a four-minute frequency in peak hours, covering the journey in about two-thirds of the present time. Many road bridges have been built to eliminate level crossings. Diesel-hauled train from Gabès to Tunis (422km) at Bir Bou Regba, junction for a branch running via Hammamet to Nabeul. Photo: Richard Ågren Dieter Fiedel photographed the Gweru-Masvingo mixed train in 2007. 12 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  14. 14. Get on track The transport solution to your distribution challenges Streamline your transport with TransNamib’s rail and road services to almost anywhere in Namibia. We offer a daily door- to-door service for the transport of heavy and mini containers, plus our new rail extension to Northern Namibia means more competitive rates for you. Fast track your freight through the Port of Walvis Bay. We supply bond and customs and excise services free of charge on our premises in Windhoek to streamline the movement of your freight even further. Our transport routes link the interior of Africa to the western coast through Walvis Bay and to and from the world markets. From personal belongings to industrial goods for export or import, containers offer you a versatile, practical and cost-effective way to move your world and stay ahead of the competition. Walvis Bay on the map Contact TransNamib Marketing and Sales Tel + 264 61 298 2324/2301, Fax: +264 61 298 2277/2053 E-mail: marketing.sales@transnamib.com.na www.transnamib.com.na Transporting Namibia’s success
  15. 15. SA rAilnewS South African Rail News NEW DIESELS FOR S A housing area, the lawns and GE Transportation has signed gardens are overgrown, a contract with Transnet in the streets potholed, the South Africa to supply 100 new houses drab with scrap cars diesel-electric locomotives. and junk in the driveways. Ten units are to be built in Erie It is disgusting. A number and Grove City, Pennsylvania. of houses appeared to be In addition, 90 locomotive unoccupied. kits - also manufactured in Pennsylvania – will be “In the early years Esselen Park sent to South Africa for was the pride and joy of the assembly to meet localisation railways. It was immaculate, requirements stipulated in the it had its own resident contract. The locomotives will horticulturist, complete with be built at the end of 2010 and a team of garden labourers. delivered in early 2011. It had a shop, barber, post office, library, bar, snooker GE’s model C30ACi, the first room, gym and a bioscope. AC diesel-electric locomotive “Oh good, we’ll be able to have tea on the journey. They’re putting in the milk”. All that is gone. to be introduced to sub- (A cartoon in Punch, 100 years ago) Saharan Africa, will have an engine that delivers 3,300 gross horsepower (GhP) using an electronic fuel-injection system that automatically supplies the exact amount of fuel needed for optimal engine efficiency. The locomotives will also feature GE’s unique AC propulsion technology and dynamic braking, aimed at lower life-cycle costs, improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. According to the GE Transportation announcement, “This contract is especially relevant in the light that South Africa has not placed an order for locomotives in approximately 20 years.” [ Not quite. Some 75 new class 10E1 and 10E2 locomotives were placed in service in 1989-90, followed by the class 14E and 14E1 dual-voltage units after 1990, and 50 class 38 Esselen Park railway training college. Kaalfontein station is seen on the right. electro-diesels in 1992; not to mention the class 19E in 2009. It is true there were no new straight diesels during this time “In later years the horticulturist only looked after the college (GE was remiss in failing to make this distinction clear) – and gardens. The occupants of the staff houses were obliged to in fact even the 50 class 38s had diesel engines. – editor ] look after their own gardens and sidewalks. This place too was always neat and well kept. Esselen Park railway training college: the main building. “The residents’ recreation club had a restaurant/bar, bowling green, tennis courts, lapas etc. You must see it now - the Delivery of the 50 class 38 electro diesels- effectively 3kV DC building is in a state of neglect, broken windows etc. The electric units with on-board diesel engines – commenced in 1992. wire mesh around the tennis courts is missing and grass in growing in cracks in the paving; I did not even bother to get ESSELEN PARK out of my car to look at the bowling green which was hidden Retired railways communication technician William Smith by overgrowth. This place is fast beginning to look like most recently revisited Esselen Park Training College, formerly a wayside railway stations. prestige, showpiece complex that reflected the high standards of instruction it provided in countless rail-related fields, from “I once lived and worked there and was saddened by the locomotive-driving to trains operating and signalling. scene I was confronted with.” “I was shocked to see the condition,” he writes. “The once [ According to press reports, advanced plans by coach beautifully kept lawns and gardens were overgrown and Carlos Alberto Parreira to base the Bafana World Cup team at unkempt; the buildings looked drab and uninviting. The the “Esselen Park School of Excellence” have been shelved once immaculate swimming pool was half-empty and the due to the complex being so badly run down that it will take surrounding lawns and shrubs were overgrown. In the staff about R16m to renovate. - editor ] 14 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  16. 16. AFRICA UPDATE SA rAilnewS TRL director general Narasimhaswami Jayaram said that RVR commercial manager in Kampala, Geoffrey two goods trains comprising 23 wagons would be conveying Tindimwebwa says the rates will still be lower than those various commodities including cement from the Tanga charged by road freight hauliers. “Our rates have been Cement Company. steady since last October before the fuel prices rose and the price of steel spiralled,” he points out, whereas the truckers TAZARA raise rates every time the fuel price changes. “Also, we have TAZARA TARIFFS UPPED had a negative result from the weakening dollar as most of New fares applicable on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway came our rates are in that currency. It has been losing value, while into effect on 1 July. Ticket prices on ordinary passenger the prices of our inputs have been going up.” trains as well as the Tazara Express went up 20% while parcels and luggage rates rose 30%. Travellers from Dar- ZAMBIA es-Salaam in Tanzania to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia now pay RSZ TAKEN TO TASK 36.200 loco at Port Shepstone. Two similar units A GM SW1002, 1,120hp class Tsh72,600 ($US72) in first class on the Tazara Express, up In anbe converted for remote control operation. Photo: Peter Bagshawe. of are to editorial, The Times of Zambia takes Rail Systems from Tsh60,500 ($US60). Zambia (RSZ), the concessionaire running Zambian Railways, Esselen Park training college: the Railwayman’s Inn. Remotely controlled to task for buying “brand new motor vehicles worth $US1.4 To Makambako (Iringa) from Dar-es-Salaam now costs shunting locos, million”, while apparently falling short in service delivery. Tsh29,000 ($US29) instead of Tsh24,200 ($US24). To Rujewa commonplace in the “While the company has every right to purchase vehicles for (Mbeya) the fare is now Tsh29,900 ($US29) instead of USA, are not new to operations, we feel their priorities are misplaced,” the paper Tsh24,900 ($US24). writes. South Africa. This Hunslet at Namakwa Sands’ Koekenaap yard Tazara managing director Clement Subulwa Mwiya points “Gone are the days,” it laments, “when the railway network in the Western Cape out that the company’s policy is to adjust tariffs annually. was the most reliable mode of transport in Zambia. “It was so was photographed 15 High operational costs are being experienced, notably in the reliable and cheap, that the rail line was years ago. favourite Zambia’s wage bill and the continually rising cost of diesel. Tazara is mode of transport, offloading goods and passengers in upgrading its facilities at a cost of $US10 million, he says, remote areas where roads were inaccessible. and 18 locomotives are being rehabilitated currently Dr John Middleton of the World Bank in Washington DC, “The failure by private provide safety and reliability has visit to writing in his RSZ to capacity following a business forced UGANDA many Zambians to abandon rail 2009, refers to the 3,300hp South Africa towards the end of transport in preference for MAIN-LINE AT JINJA REOPENS the faster and more reliable road transport. at was hoped that class 39.200 series under construction It Koedoespoort The main-line to college: one of the restaurants, frequently Esselen Park training Kampala from Kenya, closed near Jinja on when Zambia Railways 39.201-207 had beento RSZ, on the Works, Pretoria. locos was concessioned on test things 14 May for receptions.the collapse of an embankment due to a hired out following would change for the better.” line “Where four of them are Belfast-lydenburg-Steelpoort blocked culvert, was reopened to traffic on 16 June. During producing better performance than five class 37s (3,200hp the fourAFRICAN DIESEL LOCOS SOUTH weeks that the line remained inoperable, freight was [RSZ inherited a sorely run-down was the which is taking a each). The unique 39.251, which system prototype for the offloaded hasIganga and taken forward by road. 75 class 34 Approval at been given for control upgrades of According great deal of time and money to put right. The rosy leasing 39.200 series, is believed to have been sold to past of to Rift Valley Railways75 class 37 GM diesels. Glenn Kleyn, GE diesel locos and (RVR) project manager The GEs will railways inRRl who are dates back to minedays when it was company the country using it on a the somewhere. It is be fitted with the Brightstar control system. Four class 36 quoted by New Vision (published in Kampala) a new three- called Northern TFR were – but nobody will want to which was rumoured that Rhodesia unhappy with this loco remember metre diameter galvanised ironcontrol operation. Two of the are being converted for remote culvert has been installed, that. – editor] 37.010 by a local consortium. In December, rebuilt from to provide adequate outlet for stormwater to drain anticipate GM 36.200 series are to follow. If successful, TFR into Lake 39.201-18 were sent to Richards Bay/Phalaborwa for working converting a further 40 locos. Victoria, about a kilometre downstream. through trains. This involves running under the wires, but frees up electric locomotives for use elsewhere. “ Kleyn said the repair work was being done at mile 323. In 4 - 6 March 2009 Cape Town addition, the company is investigating a structure at mile 289 SOUTH AFRICAN ELECTRIC LOCOS towards Busembatia. A package of upgrades is being done on class 7E locomotives. ZIMBABWE The traction motors have always been problematical and “It (mile 289) is not in any immediate danger but we are tests are being done with traction motors from both India NEW NRZ SERVICE investigating and drawing up designs,” he told the paper. The China. Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has introduced and National a new weekly passenger service to Chicualacuala, 500km UGANDA RATES INCREASE south-eastfor Bulawayo on the line 18E rebuilds has been Approval of a further 127 class to Maputo. The existing Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has increased freight rates granted. These will be in the 18.500-525 and 18.600- Wednesday train to Chiredzi has been rescheduled to leave between Mombasa and Kampala from $US80 per tonne to Bulawayo at The new number series is believed to Arriving 700 series. 14:00 on Wednesday instead of 21:00. indicate $110. Former managing director Roy Puffet explained in July: at 04:00 onless comprehensive at 05:00 to Mbizi junction, somewhat Thursday, it returns rebuilds as a cost-saving “The tariff adjustment was driven by continued upward costs and continues originalthere orders 18.001-18.425 involved a measure. The from 18E to Chicualacuala. Following a of energy, petroleum products and steel. The price of diesel 14:00 departure, it runs back tothe new batches are having complete stripdown whereas Bulawayo, arriving on Friday has SG108, 1,170hp class 36 shunting loco at Newlands, Cape Town. Two is A GE gone up by 24% in the last eight months and there less rigorous overhauls but still with the same upgrade morning. The Chiredzi-Bulawayo service retains its former double digit inflation36.102 - are currently being converted for remote similar units - 36.101 and as well as dollar revaluation”. timing on other days of the week. control operation Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540 www.thermitrex.co.za 18 www.railwaysafrica.com RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA www.railwaysafrica.com 15
  17. 17. SA rAilnewS package. On 25 October, 18.515 was noted ex-works at SIMON’S TOWN LINE CLOSED Koedoespoort. Old 6E1 shells marked up to 18.525 and 18.639 have been seen. All of the 18Es so far have been rebuilt from series 6-11 (E1646-2185). however, a few from these series have now been overhauled as 6E1 and repainted purple for passenger services (E1654/57/58 and 1950). Class 6E1 loco 1367 hauling Shosholoza Meyl express. Photo Jacque Wepener OUTENIQUA CHOO-TJOE Transnet spokesman John Dludlu is quoted by The herald online saying that reaction to the November call for expressions of interest from private bidders to operate the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe would be made public once the process has been completed. Western Cape finance, tourism and economic development On 4 December 2009, Metrorail advised on its website: “Train service between MEC Alan Winde told the herald he hoped 2010 would be Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town has been cancelled due to acts of nature, “The year that the Choo-Tjoe receives a new owner and is passengers will be conveyed by bus between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town given the chance to cement its iconic status”. he is confident in both directions. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. Thank you.” Malcolm Bates photographed the line (still closed) at Glencairn in mid-January the Choo-Tjoe will form part of Fifa World Cup visitors’ - rusty and largely buried in sea sand. tourism experience. “Transnet has prioritised the sale of the Choo-Tjoe’s operations between George and Mossel Bay, and assures us they will communicate with us as soon as GUARD’S VAN COMEBACK any milestones are reached,” Winde said. Guard’s vans bringing up the rear of every South African freight train were standard practice until the eighties, During a two-week period over the December holidays, when rows of them filled the “scrap” sidings up and down he added, the Choo-Tjoe was almost fully booked: “This the country. Their discontinuation had two significant is particularly remarkable since its usual thrice weekly consequences: rural passengers lost the facility of the timetable was doubled to accommodate holidaymakers.” passenger compartments provided for their use, and the The majority of travellers on the train were South African, fireman (now driver’s assistant) took over responsibility for which could indicate renewed enthusiasm for heritage rail intermediate shunting, points changing etc. in the country, he thinks. In addition, foreign visitors to the Choo-Tjoe provided positive feedback of their experience. The guard’s van – but without room for passengers – is currently making a comeback. It isn’t called a guard’s van The line between Knysna and George was badly washed and there is no guard. The purpose is to convey shunters. away in several places by floods in 2006, the damage being Apparently the drivers’ assistants are no longer entrusted aggravated by further heavy rains the following year. Initial with shunting duties and have reverted to more mundane estimates for repairs ran to more R100 million, a figure which tasks like making the driver’s tea. would be inevitably higher today. The current steam-worked service is running between George and Mossel Bay, though diesels have had to be used recently due to a critical shortage of water in the region. A steering committee has been set up to collate ideas on restoring the Knysna line. One proposal is to curtail the route to omit the badly damaged section at Kaaimans River, ie running trains between Wilderness and Knysna only. Unfortunately this would leave out the scenic bridge crossing the breakers at the mouth of the river, much photographed and known throughout the world. [ The tracks at Wilderness station were lifted recently by contractors upgrading the area sewerage system. It is Guard’s vans are back on goods trains. This one was tailing a load of mealies understood that the lines are to be reinstated on completion at Losdorings in the OFS. Photo: Jacque Wepener of the work. - editor ] 16 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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  19. 19. SA rAilnewS DüBS A - RESTORATION APPEAL HOLIDAY SEASON TRAINS Umgeni Steam Railway’s (USR) Dübs class A tank locomotive Rolling stock shortage prevented South Africa’s railways will be 118 years old in 2010. In 1985, she hauled a trainload from running anything like the number of special passenger of dignitaries from Durban to the Point to celebrate 125 years trains over the Christmas period compared with the situation of railways, so what better loco to celebrate 150 years of ten and more years ago. Many additional coaches that were railways in South Africa this year? pressed into service were criticised for being dirty, or having no water or lights. It is believed that the potential revenue Unfortunately the years have taken their toll on 4-8-2 “Umbilo” loss runs into hundreds of thousands. Ordinary scheduled (NGR no 88, SAR no 134). All her 187 boiler tubes need trains were filled to capacity. On the main-line through replacing (at R400 apiece), as well as much badly corroded the OFS, intending passengers were left behind at many platework. An enthusiastic team is eager to get this loco intermediate stations – a picture that was no doubt repeated running again, but funding of the necessary replacement on many other lines. components presents a major problem. FINANCIAL CHALLENGES FACE PRASA A donations board has According to a letter that we understand was sent to been set up at Inchanga employees of Prasa (the Passenger Rail Agency of South station, where the Africa), passenger services may be severely curtailed by names of donors will 2011 if substantial government financial assistance is not be recorded as well as received soon. Other sources warn of pending countrywide an indication of how cuts in Metrorail service early in 2010, due to serious the fund is progressing. “financial challenges”. Even a part sponsorship for a boiler tube would be appreciated. Donations may be deposited directly into USR’s Nedbank account 1301259314 (Musgrave Branch code 130126). Please ensure that donations can be clearly identified by putting DUBS FUND and your name in the reference section. WESTERN CAPE TRANSPORT PLANS According to a 14 January 2010 media briefing by Premier helen Zille and transport MEC Robin Carlisle, the Western Cape government has targeted 2014 for achieving a 10% shift from road haulage to rail freight and a 13% modal shift from private to public transport. This would result in a 60:40 private:public transport split into the central business district WESTLEIGH-VIERFONTEIN LINE of Cape Town, compared to the current 69:31. To realise The Wepeners reported on 15 December: these objectives, rail transport is to be promoted, rapid trunk “We paid a visit to Rustig station [29km west of Westleigh] routes for existing [road] public transport services are to be on the Vierfontein branch. As the name suggests, it was provided and the minibus-taxi industry is to be formalised. peaceful there, no sounds - and almost nothing left! The points to the loops have been lifted and only a through-line According to Carlisle, the province has R10 billion to R13 remains. A half burned-out fibreglass nameboard lies on the billion available for its plans, adding “ten to 13 billion buys a ground. Ruins of station buildings remain. A very overgrown lot of BRT [bus rapid transit] and it buys a lot of trainsets.” goods platform with rails marked ‘SAR 1919’ survives. The loops have trees growing between the sleepers and track. Zille admitted the targets were ambitious, but said she would Some wooden sleepers have gone missing. New ballast rather strive for the “near impossible” than set the benchmark was observed but weeds were already growing through it, too low. (late in 2009, Zille was forced to concede that the though the track looked shiny. Two pieces of rail that once cost of Cape Town’s planned “integrated rapid transport supported a gate were observed, marked Cape Government system” had been underestimated by more than 300%). Railways - 82 [1882]. [ Getting 10% of freight off the road and onto rail looks “Attie was visited next. A few buildings still stand, like a tall order. Virtually all the goods sidings along Cape vandalised. No mealie trucks were noticed in the silo area. Town’s suburban lines have been lifted and the council Someone has placed four beehives on the old waiting room has been allowing flats to be built where goods yards used roof. No trains. to be. – editor ] “Our next stop was at Gunhill yard, Kroonstad. This was full NEOTEL WOES of traffic for a change, although no shunting was observed.” A new underground fibre-optic cable has been laid between Welkom station and Whites on the OFS main-line, but has not yet been handed over by the contractor. For the present, communications continue to depend on the old Attie: The OFS cables which are suspended from cross-bars on the former main-line electrification masts. Parts of this infrastructure has been passes 15km cut down, presumably stolen for scrap, and this means that to the east, the cable sags almost to ground level, facilitating its own at Westleigh theft. Electrified originally in 1974, electric traction along the junction. branch was suspended in 2005. Photo: Jacque Wepener 18 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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