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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
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.
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
PETE THE PUNDIT shares one or two home truths on
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.
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
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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:
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
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)
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
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 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
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
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.”
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
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
L’UNITÉ DE CONTRÔLE “SUPÉRIEURE” DE LA
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
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.
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
SYSTÈME DE COMMUNICATION DIGITAL
AVEC UN PROTOCOLE OUVERT CONTRÔLE D’ADHÉSION ET PROTECTION DES
CONTROL COMPLET DE MOTEURS DE TRACTION
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
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 ]
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.
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.
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
www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 11
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
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
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
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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
[ 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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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
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.
Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540
RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA
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
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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Eliminates approximately 85% of relays in Electrical
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MU, Control Stand, in engine room located sensors and
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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
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 .
[ 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
18 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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TRANSITION BEAMS FOR ORE LINE
A second-generation transition beam has been designed and
developed by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and Infraset Railway
Products. Transition beams smooth out the difference in
resilience between normal ballast-mounted rail track and the
concrete-mounted track found in tunnels.
The new beam represents a
substantial advance over its
jointly developed by TFR and
Infraset for the Richards Bay
coal line nine years ago, being
much easier to produce and
simpler to install. Two beams
(four in all) have been placed
at each entrance to the only
tunnel on the Saldanha/Sishen
ore (Orex) line, near Elands
Bay on the West Cape coast.
Transition beams comprise
individual sleepers which are
post-tensioned to form a single
ladder-shaped beam. Rails
are secured to the beams with
Pandrol fastenings. Because
they rest on ballast, the beams
provide intermediate resilience,
Class 9E (50kV AC) locos heading
approximately 50% less than
a loaded ore train out of the 787m
normal ballast-mounted track
Bobbejaansberg tunnel at Elands Bay,
just under 90km north of Saldanha.
and 50% greater than the
concrete-mounted track found
Josia Meyer, senior engineer track technology at TFR, says the
net effect of stepping resilience up or down – depending on
the direction of the train - is that the frequency of maintenance
required at tunnel entrances is reduced from three times
to once annually. This in turn minimises line closures and
improves overall productivity.
“Track assemblies at tunnel entrances, which are not
protected by transition beams, are less able to withstand the
additional vertical and horizontal forces generated by trains
as they move from concrete-mounted to ballast-mounted
track, and vice versa. These additional forces accelerate
ballast deterioration by a factor of three – hence the higher
maintenance requirement,” Meyer explains.
Sizwe Mkhize, product manager of Infraset Railway Products,
says the joint development of a local transition beam first began
in 1999 when Transnet decided to replace a Japanese beam,
which precluded tamping of the ballast situated immediately
Reduce speed now! (From a photo by Jacque Wepener).
20 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
GAUtrAin rApid rAil link
GAUTRAIN CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
PARK TO ROSEBANK ROSEBANK STATION
PARK STATION Construction of the concourse and roof slabs are both
Construction of the platforms and concourse slab were complete, with waterproofing of the roof slab well
approaching completion at the end of November 2009. advanced. Platform structures, brickwork and plastering
Internal brickwork and plastering continues at both concourse are all substantially complete. Painting and plumbing are in
and platform levels and mechanical and electrical (M&E) progress at both platform and concourse levels. Elevators
installations are in progress. At the parkade structure, the have been positioned within the station box and M&E
first floor deck has been cast and construction of the second installations continue.
floor deck is in progress. Reinstatement of Wolmarans Street
to its original configuration is well advanced. At the parkade structure on the corner of Oxford Road
and Baker Street, work on pile caps and foundations
Tunnel excavation from Park station is complete, with continues, as well as columns and beams to the first floor
breakthrough to the tunnel from shaft E2 achieved on 11 of the parking deck.
September. This significant milestone marked the completion
– in 2½ years - of almost 16km of tunnel excavation on the Inside the tunnel bored by the tunnel boring machine (TBM)
project. Civil works in this section of tunnel continue. from the south end of the station, the invert slab is finished
and casting of walkways was completed towards the end of
September 2009. Invert slabs and walkways within the drill-
and-blast (D&B) tunnel from the north end of the station to
shaft E5 are also complete.
Construction continues in the cut-and-cover sections at either
end of the station. These link the station box to the tunnels.
Construction of the parkade and reinstatement of Wolmarans street at
Johannesburg Park station.
The tunnel between the Park and Sandton stations is being Installation of the heating and air ventilation duct on platformlevel at
provided with seven access shafts for use by emergency Rosebank station.
services personnel. Some have safe havens where
passengers can gather in an emergency. ROSEBANK-SANDTON-MARLBORO
Emergency shaft E5 (Dunkeld, Rosebank):
Emergency shaft E1 (Hillbrow): Invert slabs and walkways within the 745 metre Drill & Blast
Excavation and shaft lining at shaft E1 (80 metres deep) has (D&B) tunnel from the north end of Rosebank station to
been completed, as well as the safe haven at the bottom, emergency shaft E5 are complete. Civil works continue in
where civil works continue. the safe haven at the bottom of shaft E5. Casting of the invert
slab in the tunnel towards shaft E6 is in progress.
Emergency shaft E2 (the Wilds, Houghton):
Excavation of the shaft to its final depth of approximately Emergency shaft E6 (Illovo):
50 metres is complete, as is the 236 metre adit (cross This 73 metre deep shaft was constructed within the past
passage). Tunnelling from the south face broke through into few months using “raise boring” methodology. This entailed
that working northwards from Park station on 11 September. drilling a pilot hole downwards and then boring a large
Tunnelling from both faces at shaft E2 is now complete. Civil diameter shaft from the bottom up towards the surface.
works within the tunnels, as well as the safe haven at the The shaft collar at ground level and shotcrete shaft lining
bottom of shaft E2, continue. have been completed, as has excavation of the safe haven.
Underground civil works are in hand.
Emergency shaft E3 (Riviera):
Civil works within the shaft are substantially complete. Casting of invert slabs and walkways inside the tunnel
Construction of the head house on the surface continues, towards shaft E7 is in progress.
with the roof structure finished. Being a shallow shaft, 21m
deep, with direct access to the surface, there is no safe haven Emergency shaft E7 (Rivonia Road, Sandton):
necessary at the bottom. This is located on the western side of Rivonia Road, opposite
“The Inandas” townhouse complex. The shaft collar has been
Emergency shaft E4 (Houghton): constructed and excavation to the final depth of 69 metres is
Civil works within shaft E4 and construction of the head finished, with shaft lining is also complete. Excavation of the
house structure on the surface continue. Being a shallow 170 metre connecting adit from the bottom of this shaft to the
shaft, 16m deep, with direct access to the surface, there is main rail tunnel is finished.
no safe haven necessary at the bottom.
22 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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Civil works within the adit are in progress, together with
casting of invert slabs and walkways within the tunnel
At 45 metres (15 storeys) below ground level, Sandton station
is Gautrain’s deepest. Underground station construction
continues in the cavern section between the south and north
shafts, as well as inside the shafts themselves. These works
include the base slabs for the tracks, construction of the
various platforms, technical rooms and operational rooms,
as well as the escalator and lift shafts and stairways located
within the shafts. Construction of the three-level underground
parkade is progressing well, with the multiple parking decks
visible from the surrounding buildings. Piling, foundations,
column construction and casting of the suspended slabs
for the parkade structure continue. The escalators linking
the station entrance to the underground platforms will be
Installation of the overhead catenaries and electrification masts at
installed in the north shaft shortly. Track is currently being
Marlboro station with the N3 underpass in the background.
laid in the station.
MARLBORO PORTAL EASTWARDS
The 1.135km tunnel (from the southern end of the station Viaducts 1A and 11 crossing the Jukskei River and Far East
to just past the point where the shaft E7 adit joins the main Bank Drive are both complete, with track and catenary
tunnel) is complete. masts in position.
Between Marlboro Portal and the N3, the various culverts,
retaining walls, the three bridges over Zinnia Drive and
final layerworks are all complete and track has been laid.
Drainage and finishing works adjacent to the alignment in
this area are approaching completion.
At Marlboro Station, internal finishes - including floor and
wall tiling and painting - are in hand. Glazing of the external
walls of the concourse and over-platform links is in progress.
Externally, works at the bus terminal area are under way.
Track has been laid through the station and associated
equipment is being installed.
Track laying through the underground Sandton station.
Construction and backfilling has been completed on a series
MUSHROOM FARM PARK of underpasses where the two pairs of railway tunnels cross
The temporary shaft at Mushroom Farm Park was provided beneath the N3 highway alongside the Marlboro Drive bridge
to give access for tunnel construction in both north and - just to the north of Marlboro station, Both carriageways
south directions. All work carried out from this shaft has of the N3 have been reinstated to their original positions.
been completed and site establishment facilities have been Reinstatement of temporary access ramps and landscaping
removed. Backfilling of the shaft has been completed. remains to be completed.
Reinstatement of the community park is in progress and will
be completed early in 2010.
Tracklaying is in progress, both southwards in the completed
tunnel from the Marlboro portal towards Sandton, and north-
eastwards on the surface through Marlboro station towards
the N3 crossing. Associated infrastructure is being installed,
including signalling and communications.
Along the above-ground sections of route, the rails are
supported on concrete sleepers and conventional ballast.
Track construction inside the tunnels utilises a “state-of-the-
art” system, specially developed for this type of application,
consisting of precast concrete blocks to which the undersides
of the rails are attached. Each block is surrounded by a
resilient “boot”, cast into the concrete track slab.
The temporary flash butt welding facility that was established M&E works on the platform of Marlboro station.
adjacent to the portal has completed its operations and has
been dismantled. here, rails for the first section of tunnel MARLBORO-DEPOT-MIDRAND
were welded into 216 metre long lengths prior to installation Viaduct 2 over the Modderfontein Spruit and two adjacent
inside the tunnel. Rails for the balance of the underground bridges over the future Frankenwald and Maxwell Roads are
section are being welded at the flash butt welding facility at complete, together with the erection of noise barriers along
the Midrand depot, from where they are transported by train this section. Track is in position on all three structures.
www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 23
GAUtrAin rApid rAil link
MIDRAND DEPOT MIDRAND-CENTURION-PRETORIA
The administration buildings for both train and bus depots VIADUCT 3
are finished and the installation of equipment for the North of the depot, Viaduct 3 over Allandale Road and the
operations control centre in the train depot administration adjacent bridge over the future K60 road are both complete,
building has been completed. This will manage signalling, as are all other bridges, construction works and railway
telecommunications, automatic fare collection, traction installations up to Dale Road in Midrand, with only minor
power and overhead distribution, cctv cameras and finishing works outstanding.
maintenance, using high technology systems. The train
maintenance workshops, including electrical and mechanical MIDRAND STATION
installations, are all complete, as are other depot facilities, At Midrand Station, station building works, including the
including the washbay for cleaning the trains, sand-filling structural steel platform and concourse roof structures,
equipment, stabling platforms, level crossings, track lighting are substantially complete and roof cladding is in hand.
and entry gates. Platforms are substantially complete and the track formation
through the station was completed during October. Retaining
Construction is in progress on the bus maintenance depot, walls, earthworks and drainage for the parking areas are well
located in the area previously occupied by the precast yard advanced and layerworks and surfacing have commenced.
(now dismantled). Construction of the workshop, canteen,
vehicle wash facility, fuel bay and apron slabs is in hand, From the Midrand area northwards, civil construction up to
together with refurbishment of the bus administration building the Technopark area at Centurion is approaching completion.
- previously used as site offices for the precast yard. Drainage, layer works, duct installation, catenary mast bases,
noise barriers and fencing continue. All these works are well
TRACKLAYING advanced along extended lengths of the alignment.
The laying of stabling sidings at the depot, including the
erection of electrification masts and all associated railway
installations, such as the overhead catenary and signalling
system, is complete, energised and operational. Main-line
tracklaying and ballasting, together with catenary installation,
is proceeding outwards from the depot in both directions,
using specialised, highly mechanised equipment. Rails are
welded into 216 metre lengths at the depot and transported
on specially equipped wagons. Once placed in position
on concrete sleepers, they are welded together to form a
Following a specialised construction and assembly process
at Bombardier Transportation’s facility in Derby, UK,
Gautrain’s first shipment of two completed rail coaches
arrived in Durban on 29 November 2008. After further Midrand station showing platform construction.
deliveries, testing of the first complete four-car trainset began
during February 2009. VIADUCT 4
Viaduct 4, which crosses Rietspruit and Olifantsfontein Road
The first 15 coaches, together with body shells and major South, is complete and awaiting installation of track and
components for the rest of the fleet, were manufactured overhead catenary.
in Derby, and all have been despatched to South Africa.
Following a successful skills transfer programme, local
technicians are working on the assembly of the remaining
81 coaches at the Union Carriage and Wagon Partnership
in Nigel. By the end of November, 44 vehicles had been
delivered to the Gautrain depot.
Construction of Centurion station at viaduct 5.
24 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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CENTURION AREA PRETORIA STATION
VIADUCT 5 OVER THE N1 & BEN SCHOEMAN At Pretoria Station, concrete and building works, as well as
Viaduct 5 carries the elevated line through Centurion, the platform and concourse roof cladding, are substantially
forming the link between the balanced cantilever viaducts complete. Curtain wall framing is well advanced, curtain
crossing the N1 highway at John Vorster interchange in the wall glazing is in progress and internal finishing works have
south and the Ben Schoeman highway at the Jean Avenue commenced. Demolition of the adjacent McCarthy building
interchange in the north. It supports the elevated Centurion has been completed and preparations for parking area
station platforms, located approximately midway along its construction in this area are in hand.
length. The deck spans of this viaduct comprise precast
concrete segments which are erected using purpose-built
steel launching girders and then stressed together to form
the deck spans. By the end of November, approximately
85% of the deck spans had been erected, with parapets in
position on many.
Construction of supporting piers and abutments at both the
John Vorster and Jean Avenue balanced cantilever viaducts
is complete. Work on the in-situ balanced cantilever deck
sections on top of the piers at each of these viaducts is in
progress. With the first spans at both of these viaducts now
substantially complete, the graceful arched forms of these
exceptionally long deck spans are clearly identifiable.
The elevated Centurion station platforms are located on
Viaduct 5, immediately adjacent and parallel to West Street.
The concourse buildings and parking area are at ground Aerial view showing viaduct 7 and Pretoria station.
level. The viaduct piers and deck spans on which the station
platforms are being constructed have been completed.
Installation of platform parapets is well advanced and PRETORIA-HATFIELD
erection of the platform canopy structure has commenced. VIADUCT 7
At ground level, work continues on foundations, concourse The deck section that will carry the Gautrain lines across
and technical room building works and platform access stair Nelson Mandela Boulevard is well advanced and parapet
construction. Dynamic compaction of the parking area is in erection is in progress. Pier and trestle beam construction
progress. continues on the remaining sections of this “Y-shaped”
structure that crosses above the existing Metrorail tracks.
VIADUCT 6 OVER EEUFEES ROAD Placing of M-beams on some sections has commenced.
At Viaduct 6, three of the six spans of precast deck segments
have been installed using a launching girder. Between Gautrain’s Pretoria and hatfield stations, a number
of road bridges crossing the existing Metrorail railway are
SALVOKOP AND PRETORIA being lengthened, to accommodate the new tracks which will
Near Salvokop at the approach to Pretoria, a cut-and-cover run parallel. The Cilliers Street bridge has been completed
structure crosses beneath the Ben Schoeman highway. and the road reopened to traffic. Construction is proceeding
Construction work here is complete and reinstatement of the on the extension of bridges at Walton Jameson Road, Bourke
northbound carriageways is in progress. Street and lynnwood Road, as is work on new road-over-
rail bridges at Ridge and Grosvenor Roads. Extensive lateral
Construction of the u-sections in the military support works, to enable the existing railway cutting to be
area between Pretoria and Centurion. widened, are in progress.
26 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
GAUtrAin rApid rAil link
The Metrorail tracks at and approaching Rissik station have VIADUCTS 13 & 14
been deviated to accommodate Gautrain tracklaying. Viaduct 13 over Centenary Way in Modderfontein and Viaduct
14 over Zuurfontein Road are both finished, with trackwork
HATFIELD STATION and catenary in position on both.
Foundations and structural works for the concourse and
platforms are progressing well. Column construction, casting VIADUCT 15 & RHODESFIELD STATION
of suspended slabs and parapet installation at the parkade At 1.5km, Viaduct 15 – now complete - is the longest on the
building continue, with work in progress on all eight levels of east-west line. It supports both the Rhodesfield and airport
this structure. station platforms and will carry the double track over the
R21/R24 road network. Track and overhead catenary are
lateral support and excavation of the southern embankment being installed.
is complete, enabling construction of the station proper to
commence. Foundation construction and structural works The Rhodesfield station platforms are elevated, located
for the concourse and platform areas are well advanced. approximately one third of the way along Viaduct 15, directly
Column construction and casting of suspended slabs at the above the existing Metrorail lines running between Isando
eight-level parkade structure continue. The four lower level and Kempton Park.
decks have been completed and work is progressing on the
upper levels. Parapet wall installation to the perimeter of the The platform structure, concourse and platform roof at
structure is in progress. Rhodesfield are complete and track has been installed
through the station. Platform access-ways and the erection
of the structural steel concourse roof are substantially
complete, escalators have been positioned and installation
of equipment in the technical rooms is in progress. Roof
cladding to the concourse is complete, floor and wall
tiling within this area are well advanced and installation of
the glazed facades is in hand. Work on the parking area
continues and construction of the stormwater attenuation
pond is in progress.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has begun
foundation construction and columns for a new Metrorail
The existing Metrorail line as diverted past Gautrain’s Hatfield station site. station, immediately adjacent to the Gautrain facility. This will
provide commuters with a convenient transfer link between
MARLBORO-AIRPORT the Gautrain and Metrorail systems. laying of track and
By the end of November, installation of twin-track lines was in ballast is in progress.
progress along the entire length of the East-West route from
behind linbro Park to the airport station. O R TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT STATION
Finishing works within the station concourse shell are
Civil construction work is substantially complete along approaching completion and electrical and mechanical
the whole of this section which includes eleven bridges, installations are well advanced. Ticket vending machines
three viaducts and a number of other structures, including and fare gates have been installed and are being tested.
the platforms for a future station at Modderfontein. Erection The platform structures, structural steel platform canopies
of the 2.4 metre high concrete palisade fence along both and roof cladding are all substantially complete with
sides of the rail reserve is in hand, as are topsoiling, finishing works, including the installation of tinted glass
hydroseeding of embankments, landscaping and other closure screens, currently in progress. Construction of three
minor finishing operations. Vegetation growth on the emergency accessways at the ends of the platforms is in
embankments throughout the route is responding well to hand, and track has been laid through the station.
the summer rains.
The station concourse is located at the eastern end of
viaduct 15 and is directly linked to the departures level of the
O R Tambo International Airport station on viaduct 15. adjacent new central terminal building, one level below.
www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 27
Railway signalling & interlocking
Railway signalling & interlocking
ISBN 978-3-7771-0394-5 International compendium
hard cover 448pp, €58 The word “compendium” in the subtitle appropriately sums up the
extensive field covered in this authoritative publication. Editors Gregor
Eurailpress DVV media group, 2009 Theeg (Dresden University) and Sergej Viasenko (Siemens) have put
Postbox 101609 D-20010 hamburg, Germany together work by 23 authors – eight of them professors and 17 holding
email@example.com doctorates. The mysteries of most contemporary world practice in railway
signalling are succinctly documented and explained, with profuse use of
colour diagrams and photos. Basic technicalities such as axle counters
versus track circuiting are discussed, and the ramifications of modern
electronic wizardry have been comprehensively set out. Shunt signalling,
hump yard control and level crossing protection are among the many
related subjects covered. A useful glossary defines balises, “available
redundancy”, “transferred flank protection”, “degraded mode operation”
and the like.
historic background is rather less detailed than some might prefer. With
the railway as such originating in England, British signalling principles
were adopted in many countries, but the development of these is barely
touched upon. Names like Tyer, for instance, escape mention, though
Saxby and Farmer are there. Similarly, it is difficult to find more than
brief, passing mention of signalling procedures in the United States.
The USA, after all, introduced automatic block on impressive lengths of
single track 100 years ago, and this – together with multi-signal-head
speed signalling at facing points - is still prevalent across North America
today. (“Single”, as it happens, does not appear in the index - nor for that
matter do “United States” or “America”). German semaphore signalling
is illustrated, as well as Belgian – which was of course derived from
Britain, albeit somewhat modified. But arguably more space might have
been found for those curious French checkerboard semaphores, which
migrated to some Francophone colonies; also for one or two significant
current concessions to reality, such as the discontinuation of CTC in
several parts of South Africa where the extent of vandalism has overtaken
the capability to maintain infrastructure.
The book notes that position-light route indication at junctions – standard
on lineside equipment in the UK and many Commonwealth countries –
enjoys detail variation in South Africa, which uniquely includes a display
denoting points set for the main-line.
In the words of the cover blurb: The book “records the principles and
present situation on railway signalling throughout the world”. Obviously it
was not practicable to fully detail the quirks of every country’s individual
signalling niceties. For instance, while it is observed that double-yellow
generally means the next signal will be yellow - and the one after that, red
- in South Africa (though this is not stated) double yellow means “reduce
speed for a turnout set for a diverging route”.
The pervading theme being that of safety, the book should make
compelling bedside reading for South Africa’s Rail Safety Regulator,
especially following recent concerns over systems such as radio token
block, dependence on which is growing. Widely used internationally, it is
instructive to learn that this concept originated in Scotland.
Diagram explaining German semaphore & colour-light signals.
28 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
MiShApS & blUnderS
One objective of our regular feature reporting and commenting on rail mishaps is to provide information and object
lessons from Africa and abroad, in the hope that – in some cases at least - this might help avoid recurrences.
CORNFIELD MEET MIRROR IMAGE, 3 YEARS BACK
Shortly after 14:00 on Boon Boonzaaier recalls:
7 December, tourist
class train 71010 from “Almost exactly three years ago (26 December 2006) the last
Johannesburg to Cape Bushveld Trains Safari was stopped at Frederikstad to cross
Town was instructed by the [northbound] tourist class train from Cape Town.
radio to take the loop
at Frederikstad, 43km “Our driver dropped her assistant before entering the
north of Potchefstroom, station to change the [north end] points and parked the
in order to cross a train next to the platform on the main line, to wait for the
northbound train. When oncoming train (from Potchefstroom). With the oncoming
the driver reported train already in view the driver suddenly jumped off the
that he didn’t have the locomotive, ran towards the [south end] points and switched
“Chubb” key needed them just in time.
to unlock the points, he
was instructed to enter “She had suddenly realised, with her assistant at the
the station on the main- back of the train, that the points [at the southern end] were
line, and wait there. Economy class train 17007 from Cape still set for the main line and had to rush to switch the points
Town to Johannesburg was directed to change the points before the oncoming train ran into hers.
on arrival at Frederikstad, and to enter the loop to pass no
71010. Somehow this instruction was not received, or not “Of course the other driver reported the incident as an
carried out. The northbound train failed to stop at the points ‘avoided collision’ and both trains were delayed for six
and continued in on the main, where it collided head-on hours while investigators came from all over (Klerksdorp,
with the stationary express. A 24-year-old pregnant woman Johannesburg, Coligny, etc) ‘to find out what the problem
on train 17007 died in the crash and altogether emergency was’. Both crews were relieved from duties and the
services took 107 people to hospital. Four were reported passengers had to wait until the new crews arrived. We left
critically hurt, including a driver and a train manager. Seventy almost six hours later.
passengers with light injuries were discharged from hospital
the following day. “I felt sorry for the passengers on the main-line train as they
would only reach Johannesburg around midnight, while, in
Train 17007 had 494 on board, Shosholoza Meyl told our case, we would only be late arriving at Cape Town the
the press, the other express 159. Damage was estimated at next day as this was the beginning of an eight-day trip.
“Did the investigators learn nothing from this? It is a very lame
excuse saying a driver did not have a Chubb key to unlock
the points - almost like going to war without a weapon.
“On 7 December 2009, the passengers had to sit (under the
sun in the open veld) for more than six hours before bus
transport arrived (with nobody telling them anything). A large
bus company has branches in Carletonville, Potchefstroom
and Klerksdorp and most of these buses normally stand idly
Head-on collision at Frederikstad: the focal point. on weekdays as they are mainly used for trips over week and
month ends. Surely the second action (after dispatching
After the crash, a tourist class train from Cape Town was ambulances) should have been to look after the passengers
diverted via Vereeniging, arriving in Johannesburg more than and to get buses to them as soon as possible - or do we
three hours late. Similar diversions enabled other trains to expect too much?”
bypass the affected section, but meant that scheduled station
stops at Oberholzer (for Carletonville) and Krugersdorp had RSR UNHAPPY WITH RADIO CONTROL
to be left out. “The South African Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has
determined that a significant shortcoming exists in the
[ On 8 December, the Johannesburg Times quoted operating procedures for Radio Train Order [RTO] controlled
spokesman lawrence Venkile for the Railway Safety sections,” spokesman Carvel Webb was quoted saying,
Regulator saying measures would be put in place to prevent following investigations into the cause of the 7 December
similar collisions. – editor ] collision at Frederikstad. Webb said that problems with the
30 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
MiShApS & blUnderS
radio control system had a “direct bearing on the accident” finding that he failed to keep a proper look-out, was travelling
and that an “improvement directive” had been issued to all too fast and failed to stop where required. A fine of R300 was
operators using the system. human error may have been a imposed, but as the driver earned only R160 per month, he
contributory factor, he said, but might have been prevented was permitted to pay it off at R25 per month.
had the necessary procedures been in place.
According to press reports in which Webb was quoted, In a bizarre
“the RTO is a radio system used by train drivers to obtain postscript to the
authorisation from a central control before proceeding along Klington accident,
a certain section of track. It has replaced the coloured signal- the Johannesburg
light system, which operated in South Africa for decades, Star reminded
but in recent years has become vulnerable to vandalism readers that four
and cable theft.” people had been
killed and 56 hurt
on the same line
only nine days
previously. On 26
September 1962, a
train had crashed
into a flour truck
at a level crossing
derailed. The train
driver – who died in
the collision - had
Colour-light signalling was never installed at Frederikstad. The station, seen here
been due to receive
in 1993 (today no sign of it remains), was closed - the train control personnel
a gold medal for 30
and full semaphore signalling removed, and the well-tried and effective van
Schoor system of single-line control dispensed with. Except for a short section
on the footplate.
of CTC at Oberholzer, signal cabins at all stations between Randfontein and
Cachet, near Potchefstroom (110km), have been closed, with signals removed
and points reverting to local manual tumblers, worked by train personnel under
remote radio direction (from Coligny, 100km to the west and nowhere near the
Cape main-line). This is the only section currently operated this way on the NAMIBIAN CRASH
entire line. According to New Era, published in Windhoek, the driver
of three locomotives that left Mariental station shortly
KLINGTON FATAL COLLISION ONLY 14KM AWAY after 04:00 on 7 December, en route to Keetmanshoop,
Barely 14km south of Frederikstad, there used to be an discovered after travelling some distance that he had left his
interloop named Klington. On 5 October 1962, a multiple- train behind. Setting back, he allegedly misjudged matters
unit suburban passenger set from Johannesburg to and crashed into the coaches. One locomotive and two of
Klerksdorp entered the loop, colliding head-on with a class the four passenger vehicles – which were badly damaged
5E locomotive heading a stationary goods. The incident - derailed. A tankcar full of petrol, the New Era report said,
bore many similarities to the two incidents at Frederikstad, was not affected. A 14-year-old boy was killed in the collision
but had more serious consequences, with eleven passengers and 41 passengers were taken to hospital, one in a serious
killed and 34 injured in the timber-bodied second coach, condition.
which telescoped over the leading 2M steel motor coach.
The paper wrote: “TransNamib’s Senior Controller of
Passenger Services, Gideon Eiseb, said the accident will cost
the company millions of Namibian dollars. TransNamib hired
two luxury buses from Windhoek to take the passengers to
their respective destinations and also provided meals and
refreshments to the passengers. ‘We are a responsible
corporate citizen and want to make sure that our customers
are satisfied with our service,’ he said.”
The October 1962 collision at Klington, only 14km south of
Frederikstad, where 11 passengers lost their lives.
The passenger train was supposed to have had a clear run
through on the main-line. Why the points at the northern
end of Klington had been set for the loop is inexplicable –
the freight had entered the siding from the south. Following
court proceedings the following month, the passenger train
driver was found guilty of culpable homicide, the magistrate Photo courtesy Die Republikein.
www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 31
MiShApS & blUnderS
KEY TANZANIAN BRIDGE COLLAPSES heideveld high School children cross the tracks. They say
In floods which broke a prolonged drought in Tanzania, a the alternative route is too far away.
key bridge on the central railway line linking Dar-es-Salaam
to the capital Dodoma was washed away. According to Pupil Sikho Ndlazulwana told a Cape Argus reporter that his
The Citizen, published in Dar, “That this line could remain seven-year-old sister had died while crossing the tracks on
closed for several months is horrendous news, considering 17 December 2008 but “the Metrorail people said it wasn’t
its vital role in the ferrying of passengers and goods across their problem, that there was a sign that says ‘no crossing’,
the regions. Flooding has also forced the suspension of and we should talk to our government about it.”
rail services to Mwanza [on lake Victoria], Tabora and
Kigoma [on lake Tanganyika]. The bridge collapse is [ Interesting to see the word “pupil” still exists. We thought
going to significantly raise the cost of doing business and “learner” was now more politically correct. – editor ]
inconvenience thousands of travellers.
“The flooding may be a natural phenomenon, but we
know that the railway infrastructure is in an appalling state
of disrepair and needed only the trigger of the deluge to
crumble. It will be a herculean task to raise the Sh4 billion
required to repair the damaged section and restore services
to save the country huge losses.
Typical four-track Metrorail formation. Note unofficial
foot-crossing in foreground.
RAIL SAFETY REGULATOR TO INSPECT IN CT
South Africa’s Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) was to
undertake a second series of inspections in Cape Town
during February, with specific reference to lines in Philippi
and Nyanga. The work forms part of endeavours to ensure
that Metrorail adheres to a directive in respect of train safety.
Two previous audits in October and December 2009 followed
the death of 22-year-old Nomveliso Blayi and her six-year-old
daughter Zimkita while attempting to cross the line.
Metrorail’s Riana Scott is quoted saying that residents
in informal settlements next to railway lines vandalise or
steal fencing. “From bystander and employee reports,
the circumstances of the mother and baby incident are
consistent with suicide. Pedestrians accessing rail reserves
remain a perpetual challenge.” Research by the Medical
Research Council (MRC), she said, indicates that the
“No efforts should be spared because continued closure majority of accidents are entirely preventable. “Our efforts
means companies and business people using Dar-es- continue unabated and we submit regular progress reports
Salaam Port may have to shun it in favour of its competitors to the RSR.”
in the region, including Mombasa. And this will not only
hurt the railway company, but also deny the country much THREE DEAD IN INDIAN COLLISION
needed revenue.” Three people were killed and more than a dozen injured when
two trains collided near Tundla, 30 km from Agra in India.
METRORAIL & FENCING The accident occurred in thick fog when the Kalindi Express
Railway operators should be forced to fence off railway lines from Delhi ran into the stationary Shram Shakti Express,
properly near residential areas, says Cape Town mayoral badly damaging the coach reserved for women and children.
committee member for social development Grant Pascoe. Two women and a child were killed. The injured included the
he has written to minister of transport Sibusiso Ndebele, driver of the Kalindi Express and the guard of the other train,
asking him for legislation requiring railway operators to according to the Times of India
provide fencing and make them more vandal-resistant.
4 TON LOCO MISSING IN OMAHA
In 2007, 227 people died on railway tracks across the country According to an Associated Press report datelined 18 January,
- 80 of them in Cape Town. The situation cannot be allowed police were looking for a 4 ton Union Pacific locomotive
to continue, Pascoe says, despite pedestrians putting valued at $45,000, last seen in an Omaha (Nebraska)
themselves at risk by using illegal crossing points. yard shortly before Christmas. The General Electric diesel
“was discovered missing by employees of Rail Sciences, a
Metrorail says most deaths are due to people crossing lines consulting firm contracted to diagnose and fix problems with
illegally, but those who live near unfenced tracks say they Union Pacific equipment.”
fear for their safety.
AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS
The four Metrorail tracks at New Rest, Guguletu, separate On 23 January, the leading locomotive of an Amtrak
the township from heideveld where a majority of New Rest passenger train carrying 712 passengers derailed in Fairfax
children go to school. In the early morning, hundreds of County, Virginia, just outside Washington DC. Several
32 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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hundred Palm Beach County (Florida) students on board STUDENT DIES AT YSTERPLAAT
were returning from a safety patrol trip in the city. Amtrak On 25 January, an 18-year-old college student was killed
spokeswoman Vernae Graham said several passengers and when struck by a train as he crossed the tracks at Ysterplaat
crew members suffered “minor bumps and bruises”, but station, a few kilometres from the Cape Town terminal. Press
no major injuries were reported and nobody was taken to reports quoted police saying that traffic was not seriously
hospital. The children arrived in West Palm Beach late the disrupted.
STUCK TRUCK STRUCK
Twelve people were hurt, two seriously, when a two-car
Braunschweig- Salzgitter express with about 60 passengers
aboard, travelling at 120km/h. ran into a truck stalled on
a crossing near Rüningen in the German state of lower
Saxony. The leading coach derailed and landed in a nearby
field. Reports from firefighters said that the coach did not
overturn in the accident, but large quantities of diesel fuel
leaked from the train, and the track was badly damaged.
A badly upset motorist who called in to Cape Talk Radio on 15
December reported an unnerving experience at Kenilworth.
She said the crossing booms, though not in the normal
completely open position, were by no means closed and
she drove through – “narrowly missing colliding with a train”.
Cape Talk was unable to obtain comment from Metrorail at
[ The report is disturbing:
• Both the Up and Down colour light signals are wired
so that a red aspect is displayed until the gates
(worked manually from the adjacent raised cabin
which overlooks the crossing) are properly closed
and locked by the operator. Only then can a green Elaborate pedestrian bridges have been provided to link Ysterplaat station with
aspect be shown. the Paarden Eiland industrial area, which lies on the northern side. However,
• If the gates are not functioning normally, it is not there is no formal access to the important Maitland industrial and commercial
supposed to be possible for a green light to be complex on the south-east. During peak hours, workers stream across the
displayed. multiple tracks on foot, then dodge their way through heavy traffic on busy
• It is not supposed to be possible for the gates to be in freeways that converge into the Koeberg interchange.
any position except locked fully open unless the road
warning lights are flashing. TRANSNET PAYS 12-YR-OLD R16M
• The status quo, as we understand it, is repeated In February 2007, Adriaan Andrew, then nine years old,
visually on the track layout at the Windermere CTC lost both legs in an accident at Kalbaskraal station near
control centre. Malmesbury. his mother instituted an action in the Cape
high Court which has ordered Transnet to pay her R16 million
[ Possibilities – the gates developed a fault, the signal compensation. It is believed to be the single biggest payout
interlocking mechanism failed and/or the train driver ran to an individual for a railway-related injury.
through a red light – or the motorist drove through while the
warning lights were flashing. Not a nice story - editor ] Adriaan and his four cousins were walking to visit their
grandmother when their path across a level crossing was
blocked by a stationary freight train. The youngsters climbed
over the couplings between two wagons but Adriaan was still
on the train when it began to move. It ripped off one leg and
the other below the knee.
The booms at Kenilworth,
11.2km south of Cape “People should use level crossings where available, Spoornet
Town on the line to spokesman likhete Molotwane said at the time, “and be
Simon’s Town. aware of the dangers of railways. Stay away from moving
trains. Go to the designated areas to cross the lines.”
WHITEFISH CLEANUP DELAYED
A local resident reported an oily sheen on the river near a
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) fuelling facility
The Up starting signal at
Kenilworth in 1976, with
upstream from Whitefish, Montana, in 2007. Environmental
the lowered booms visible
officials determined that bunker fuel oil and weathered diesel
beyond. The original 1928 were trapped in sediment, beginning next to the railway and
signal was still in use, extending some 3km down the river. The Environmental
a new replacement CTC Protection Agency (EPA) ordered BNSF to carry out river
signal already in position restoration but the exercise took much longer than expected.
(above it and behind). however, the agency’s Jennifer Chergo hoped to see the
work finished by the end of December 2009. The pollution,
she said, was presumably deposited by a “century of
railroading”, and BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas confirmed
that the sediment dated from “many decades ago.”
34 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Middle eASt UpdAte
Middle East UpDate undertaking a feasibility study of the emirate’s proposed
tram system. The chosen consultant is to implement
FIRST SAUDI HIGH-SPEED CONTRACT an 18-month study into the planned Abu Dhabi light rail
Scott Wilson Group, the international design and engineering transit system, and help the department assess financial
consultancy for the built and natural environments, has won a viability, and prepare designs for the stations and other
£14.5 million ($US23.2 million) five year project management technical specifications.
contract on the 440km haramain high speed rail project in
Saudi Arabia. Scott Wilson is to provide technical, specialist RETAILERS TARGET DUBAI COMMUTERS
engineering and programme management support services More than 80% of retail space in the Dubai Metro stations
to the Saudi Railways Organistion (SRO), both at its has been taken up. The last of the spaces have just been
headquarters in Dammam and around the construction and released by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
commissioning sites. According to of RTA strategy and corporate CEO Abdul
Mohsin Ibrahim, “Contracts are being awarded through bids
This 320km/h railway linking the cities of Makkah, Jeddah, that witnessed intense participation in a way that reasserts
the new King Abdullah Economic City and Medina, as well the confidence pinned by investors in the economy of the
as the International Airport in Jeddah, is the first high speed emirate, and endorses the investment potentials created.”
rail project in the Middle East The Dubai Metro carried more than six million passengers in
the first three months of operation.
GULF REGIONAL RAIL TENDERS
A public tender for an ambitious $US25bn regional railway Official RTA figures show the trend for using the Metro
network project is to be floated in the first quarter of 2010, over cars and taxis is growing each month. In September
according to the secretariat-general of the Gulf Cooperation 1,198,699 passengers travelled on the Metro, in October
Council (GCC). Assistant secretary-general for economic 1,762,816 and November 1,904,956.
affairs Mohammad Bin Obeid Al Mazroui says that bidding
companies are to be assessed and a shortlist of three to CONTROVERSIAL ISRAELI TRAIN DEPOT
five selected. By 2017, the GCC states are to be linked by a Plans to build a depot for the Tel Aviv light railway on a
2,117km network. Initial work is to start in Kuwait and Saudi 14.75 acre site in the new herzliya industrial zone are being
Arabia, then extend to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab resisted by local landowners. The zone is occupied by many
Emirates (UAE). high-tech firms who think a train depot could affect property
prices. Similar concerns are being expressed in the adjacent
hof Tchelet (Blue Beach) residential area.
The landowners’ attorney, Advocate Anat levy, is quoted
saying: “This is moronic planning.” he says the depot
contravenes the provisions in the regional outline plan, which
stipulates that it should be built near the Glilot Interchange
on the Ayalon highway in south Tel Aviv.
The herzliya municipality said in response, “This plan
to expand the herzliya industrial zone has been in the
planning stages for several years, and has been approved
by the Tel Aviv regional planning and building commission.
Bringing the mass transit system to herzliya is a
Five DF 10DDB diesel locos have been supplied by China Northern for use on paramount mission to relieve traffic in the area and encourage
construction work in Saudi Arabia. The 12V240ZJD engines, rated at 1,880kW, the use of public transport.”
can attain 100km/h.
KAZAKHSTAN RAIL OVERHAUL
DUBAI RAIL TO EXPAND Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ – the Kazakhstan State
The Dubai Rail Agency is planning expansion of its rail project Railways) plans a $US36.5bn modernisation programme,
up to 2030, over and above the existing projects of Dubai which the government hopes will make the country a
Metro and Sufouh Tram. Mohammed Al Ruwaished, Director landbridge for transit freight between China and Europe.
of Quality, health, Safety and Environment Department at The project involves upgrading 14,500km of line as well as
the Rail Agency of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is the purchase of “thousands” of new locomotives, freight and
quoted saying: “Trains are among the best transport modes passenger vehicles and is due to be completed by 2020.
as they minimise the environmental pollution and conserve
the environment as much as threefold [compared to other] According to KTZ CEO Askar Mamin, economic performance,
vehicles and aircraft.” capacity and safety of the railway will be dramatically
improved, to meet international standards. Rail transport
Strictly prescribed standards of green buildings and speeds will also be increased. Freight train speeds are to be
sustainability are to govern all future rail projects in raised by 22% and passenger expresses by 82%.
Dubai. The minimising of waste in building projects, and
methods of saving power and water consumption are to be DB IN QATAR
emphasised. Germany’s national railway operator Deutsche Bahn AG
has won a $US26 billion contract to build railways in Qatar.
“The agency is also observing other stipulations such as According to business news website “handelsblatt Online,”
dust control, introducing preventive measures to prevent the the deal includes building a national network for passenger
blowing of dust, and safe disposal of waste resulting from and freight traffic, a local commuter system for Doha and
construction of rail projects,” Al Ruwaished says. a long-distance connection to neighbouring Bahrain. It said
that Deutsche Bahn and Qatar Railways are planning to
ABU DHABI TRAM create the joint cooperation “Qatar Railways Development
During January 2010, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport Company,” in which Qatar Railways is expected to hold 51%
was to hold meetings with selected bidders interested in and Deutsche Bahn 49%.
www.railwaysafrica.com February 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 35
end of the line
PROPOSED NEW RAILWAY - “LOOTING KENYA”
In the streets of Kenyan cities and townships you encounter
hawkers of every merchandise imaginable - clothes,
electronics, books, tools and hardware, bows and arrows,
firearms, medicines (both traditional and modern), drugs,
foods, etc. These hawkers believe they have everything you
need. And moreover you are under obligation to buy! The
hawker looks you straight in the eye and asks menacingly
to say what you want. Your failure to buy may be followed
by expletives but it is much better to pacify these fellows by
buying anyway (then why were you looking?).
In Kenya, the railways can also be hawked. A few individuals [ No significant geographic obstacles that we know of. The
working for themselves under the name of “Kenya Railways” route suggested in the map was pure surmise, based on our
have the talent. Kenya Railways was an honourable institution private brand of logic – occasionally known to differ from that
that closed shop in November 2006 after handing over the of, say, politicians. – editor ]
running of the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) to Sheltam. A small
group of former KRC professionals were left behind to help PURPLE DIESELS?
management dispose of non-railway assets such as land Dear editor
and buildings that RVR did not need. Not anymore. They We have seen purple electrics
have redefined themselves and formed a high-money clique for the passenger trains. Are
giving Kenyans anything they ever dreamt of in rail travel. there plans to paint some diesel
locos purple as well for the
Incidentally it is this same clique which hired Spoornet’s diesel routes ?
40-year-old locomotives (reclassed 95) in the mid 1990s - J & J Wepener
to supposedly boost motive power while leaving more
powerful newer locomotives to rot in KRC yards. It is the Purple electric – will they be doing diesels too? Photo: Eugene Armer.
same clique which concessioned the Kenya and Uganda
railways to Sheltam in still unclear but destructive terms for
the Kenyan taxpayer. Now Sheltam has fled they want to run BALLAD OF THE GAUGES
double-decker high-speed passenger trains from Mombasa
to Nairobi and on to Kisumu (dala-home!). Again remember Blame for the sorry current state of Africa’s unmaintained,
you are in the streets of Nairobi and the least you can do for broken-down railways - which concessionaires couldn’t
your own wellbeing is BUY whatever they are hawking! manage to fix in two-and-a-bit years - has rebounded on
colonialists allegedly cutting corners using non-World-Class
track. According to the politicians, the only solution is to
rebuild everything on standard gauge.
A railway improperly looked after
Is the scene of consecutive spills.
By deflecting the blame
One can stay in the game -
(Though it doesn’t help paying the bills).
Consultants engaged to turn troubles around
Are notorious for underperforming.
GE U26C ex-Spoornet class 34 400, reclassified KRC 95. Photo: J Ashworth Deflecting the blame
Is the name of the game -
Building a major railway line costing billions of dollars is a New excuses abound every morning!
major investment plan for Kenya and where to lay that line
will determine the future national development of the country. When locos break down and there aren’t any spares,
Such a project falls under the ministry of transport and the The cause lies at somebody’s door.
sitting government should first convince the population By deflecting the blame
(priorities, viability, affordability, etc) before tendering out One can stay in the game -
the work. Already some 400 bidders are being short-listed to When reasons explaining are called for.
give Kenyans what they want. Or is it which bidder will give
this clique what they want? how long will Kenya continue to When track falls apart and the coaches derail
The culprits need never be found.
be looted in broad daylight? Who is to stop this madness?
By deflecting the blame
- Thaddeus Mogire (Kenya)
One can stay in the game -
There’s always a scapegoat around.
“CHINA SIGNS NIGERIAN ABUJA-KADUNA RAIL DEAL”
Desperate measures are now de rigueur;
While this article talks about a line from Abuja to Kaduna, like, steam’s coming back on Zim shunts.
the map in RA September 2009, p12, shows a line (albeit There’s no cause for concern,
shorter) from Abuja to Minna. A connection to Minna is Wider gauge is the rage -
shorter if you want to reach to megacity of lagos, Kaduna And standard’s the flavour this month.
being a comparative whistle stop, though a junction at that.
Not considered here is the terrain; do any big mountains get - lRD
in the way of any “lines-drawn-on-maps” route?
- Shall Ford (Australia)
36 RAILWAYS AFRICA February 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Specialists in maintenance, repair, upgrade, conversion and manufacture of
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Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org