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issN 1029 - 2756
Transnet Freight rail CeO siyabonga Gama,
quoted by engineering News, says he is
reversing spoornet’s “quite perplexing”
rollo Dickson policy in the recent past of reducing volumes.
“if you want to make money, you need to
sub eDiTOr grow the railway, not shrink it.”
This is fighting talk, given the somewhat less
constructive ideas his predecessors seemed
CONTribuTOrs to have in mind. All strength to Gama’s hand
John batwell – and our congratulations on the National
Peter bagshawe business leader of the Year award.
DesiGN AND lAYOuT
& PhOTOGrAPhY contentS COMPRESSOR AND ENGINE ENGINEERING
Compressor and engine engineering 2 4 steps...
subsCriPTiONs to getting it
Kim bevan Opinion: Pete the Pundit 4
railway Profile: Namibia 8
bi-MONThlY (6 issues)
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www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 1
COMPRESSOR AND ENGINE ENGINEERING
being one of only a handful of engineering companies EnginEEring division
that have been approved by the sArCC (south African
rail Commuter Corporation) to refurbish compressors and This division is responsible for the manufacturing of
exhausters on undercarriage components for Metrorail components for rolling stock. it manufactures parts such as
coaches. Compressor and engine engineering prides itself pistons, rotors, revolving liners, white-metal bearings and
on its unique products and excellent service delivery. other components for both diesel and electric locomotives.
Crankshafts and valves are also refurbished by this division.
The company was established in 1989. based in the boksburg
area, it focused on the commercial compressed air industry. The company currently has a contract with Transnet for
Over the years it moved into the locomotive industry and it is the resleeving of Wabco cylinders. it has the capability to
this industry that has become the mainstay of the company. resleeve cylinders from 1 inch up to 35 inches.
The main business is the manufacturing of compressed ComponEnt rEfurbishmEnt division
air and exhauster components for the locomotive/metro
industries, as well as the repair and servicing of all makes The assembly and testing of rolling stock components is the
of compressors. The company now possesses extensive main focus of this division which undertakes the complete
facilities, enabling it to perform a large variety of work in both refurbishment of undercarriage equipment in Metrorail
AC and DC applications. coaches. These components include Dh 16, VV 64 and CM
38 compressors, and lPs 54, lPs 44 and 6x8s exhausters.
Compressor and engine engineering’s impressive list This division also refurbishes Wabco expressors as well as
of clients includes sArCC’s Metrorail business in Cape the Gardner Denver expressors used in the diesel locomotive
Town, Pretoria, braamfontein and Durban, as well as union industry.
Carriage, Wictra holdings, Transnet rail engineering and the
recently established Naledi rail engineering.
CommErCial ComprEssor rEpair division
The business consists of three separate divisions:
This division services and repairs all types of compressors
and is an approved distributor for Compair south Africa,
• Component refurbishment
allowing the company to sell new compressors up to
• Commercial compressor refurbishment
Compressor and engine engineering enjoys a unique advantage in that the company has
developed the Vane-tec compressor (with the assistance of the sArCC) for the Metrorail
coach business. Approximately three years ago, sArCC identified a need to replace
the ageing compressors on their metro coaches. Compressor and engine engineering
developed the Vane-tec compressor for this application. The air-end, developed specifically
for the rail industry, is supplied by Compair south Africa which has extensive experience in
the rail industry, having units working in 27 different rail applications throughout the world.
Transvaal electrical, a south African-based company, has wide experience in DC motor
applications for the rail industry and supplies the motor for the Vane-tec compressor.
Although this rotary vane compressor is already used in 27 rail-related systems world-wide,
it is unique within the rail industry in south Africa.
The Vane-tec compressor is available in AC and DC versions and has the following benefits:
• more efficient than piston units
• vane-type compressors run at slower speeds than screw-type compressors
• compact and simple in design
• quick and easy to install
• inexpensive and economical to run
• quiet performance
• full back-up and support available
• oil temperature cut-out
• energy saving
• direct drive
2 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
vaCuum brakE CylindErs
The company manufactures and
refurbishes the 21 inch vacuum
brake cylinders used on Metrorail
vaCuum filtEr systEm
The company has also improved and developed
Lp X54 EXHAustEr a vacuum filter system to replace the ageing
system on Metrorail units.
The lP X54 exhauster was developed in conjunction
with the Vane-tec compressor as these components The use of this system leads to a 20 to 30%
work in sets on metro coaches. reduction in non-conformity experienced by
exhausters and also has the following benefits:
Compressor and engine engineering has improved this • low maintenance
exhauster to run at 80°C, thus allowing the unit to re- • easy to service
circulate its oil and reduce the need for maintenance. • indicator showing blockages
• service inspection only once per year
For further information
6 bain street,
Tel: 011 914 1093/4
Fax: 011 914 1113
www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3
PETE THE PUNDIT looks at the
PRICE WE PAY FOR FUEL, CTC SIGNALLING
and RDC IN AFRICA
thE priCE WE pay for fuEl CtC signalling
Going far beyond the rand-per-litre thing at the pump, the it seems ironic that electric colour-light signalling under
ramifications of the price we pay for fuel become more centralised traffic control (ctc) is currently being introduced to
widespread every day. The increase in south African supersede semaphores on the Johannesburg-bloemfontein
commuter rail patronage is unsurprising: many people who main-line north of Kroonstad; ironic because – in the very
drove to work previously simply cannot afford to continue. recent past, ctc was dismantled on the same line south of
For the immediate present, spare capacity still exists in some bloemfontein. Difficulty in coping with continuing vandalism
Metroplus (former first class) coaches, even if third class of equipment was the main reason advanced at the time,
accommodation tends to be overloaded. though steadily reducing traffic volumes no doubt entered
the picture. This 136km ctc section to springfontein from
hamilton (3km south of bloemfontein) came into use early
in the nineteen-sixties. in fact, it was one of the first ctc
installations in south Africa – though all the main-lines of the
former rhodesian railways system, today’s Zambian and
Zimbabwe networks, were ctc-controlled by then.
In the early nineties, preparations were made
to bring the 160km Hamilton-Beaconsfield
(Kimberley) line under ctc, but the project
was dropped, even though elaborate colour-
light signalling was already in operation at
the seven intermediate stations (that at De
Brug seen here), and all points – including
the “skilpad” derailer - were operating
Anything that uses fuel oil is becoming expensive to run.
in the Western Cape, more than 20 years have elapsed since
relentless continuing increases in the fuel price, which show the 102km Wellington-Worcester portion of the main-line
no sign of slackening, will quickly fill what little space is left. was brought under ctc. since then, ctc has been introduced
What happens then? replying to complaints about cancelled gradually northwards, and now extends all the way to
trains, Metrorail invariably blames a critical shortage of Gauteng. south of Wellington however, station-to-station
rolling stock. According to s A Commuter Corporation CeO control still applies as far as brackenfell, almost 50km, with
lucky Montana, well over a third of the fleet of 4,600 coaches two of the intermediaries – Paarl and huguenot – still using
is unserviceable. Averaging nearly 40 years in age, further mechanical boxes to control the busy double track (which
refurbishment, he says, is becoming uneconomic – the also handles Metrorail services), with semaphore signalling.
technology is “obsolete”. Mechanically worked points are to be found, too, at Klapmuts,
Kraaifontein junction and brackenfell, though the signals at
in any event, with the exception of parts of Cape Town, these places are electric.
Metrorail penetration into areas of high car usage is poor.
People unable to access trains must look to road-based The important junction at
public transport - with fares inextricably tied to the cost of bellville, only 20km from the
fuel. main Cape Town terminus, was
also separately controlled until
Trains on non-electrified lines – 99% freight carriers - are in two years ago, when it was
a similar boat. inevitably, the spiralling cost of running diesel incorporated into the area-wide
locomotives has to be passed on to the customer. but there ctc system. The Windermere
is another aspect to consider. The huge percentage of goods ctc centre now manages the
currently conveyed by road (at least 90%) depends entirely rest of the Cape Town suburban
on fuel. The extent to which its cost has risen – and continues network as far as Kuils river, on
to rise – makes a mockery of using road in preference to rail the line to sir lowry’s Pass and
– electric rail, that is. According to Cargo info Africa, the third bredasdorp. station-to-station
consecutive diesel price hike in three months has pushed control survives beyond,
up the cost of moving a container from Durban to Gauteng including the stellenbosch
by r1,000. before long, we shall no longer need government Up home signal at Paarl, 58km loop. eersterivier junction
persuasion to consign by rail – road will have priced itself out from Cape Town on the main- has been all-electric for
of thinking about. line: still mechanically signalled around 30 years, but further
in 2008. outlying stations still rely on
it is going to be a little late regretting our neglect of railways Mr van schoor’s single-line
these past fifteen years. Now, not only do we have insufficient tablet system, complemented with semaphore signals.
capacity to move the modest amount of freight still left on electrification continues as far as the strand branch from
rail – there is no surplus availability to handle what may well van der stel junction, today the last signalled station. The rest
become very real volumes. of the line, including the pass, uses radio token working.
here is that question again – what happens then?
4 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
With the addition of new powerful state
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rdC in afriCa run for 15 years. rDC says: “We are selling our interests
The railroad Development Corporation (rDC) is a privately to Mozambiquan entities at a profit, reflecting acknow-
held Pittsburgh-based railway management and investment ledgement by a third party investor that there has been
company, focusing – to quote its website - on “emerging significant value created. it is our intention to redeploy the
Corridors in emerging Markets.” Africa, with many emerging profit generated by this transaction elsewhere in Africa.”
corridors in emerging markets and a host of underperforming
railways, bristles with scope for the sort of know-how that The 615km railway from Nacala connects at entre lagos
rDC has to offer. Many African countries that inherited with Malawi railways, run by concessionaire Central east
functioning and well-maintained systems at independence African railways (CeAr) since 1999. The key player in this
subsequently ran into trouble and they look to outside consortium happens to be rDC, with much to show for what
expertise to work miracles with quick-fix solutions. it has put to rights and achieved.
Governments change of At the 2008 Africa rail Awards in June, recently retired
course, as the people running CeAr general manager robert Nkana received the lifetime
them change. A government Achievement Award,with CeAr itself in second place as
that agrees on one point today best Concessionaire. Nkana, who holds a master’s degree
may see matters differently in mechanical engineering, served 10 years as secretary-
tomorrow. Patience is invariably general of the union of African railways (uAr). his innovative
a scarce virtue either way, so railway skills and leadership, says rDC, were “significant
running a state-owned railway factors in the transition of CeAr from state ownership to a
in Africa under concession privatised, successful transportation company.”
tends to be a risky business.
Corredor de Desenvolvimento
Rites of India arranged the recent do Norte (CDN), the consortium
delivery to CDN of two refurbished, formed in 2003 to manage
regauged 1,350hp locos in terms of
the port of Nacala and run
a five-year, US1.3m lease.
Mozambique’s northern railway,
could not work magic fast enough. rDC, having put the
virtually derelict line back on its feet despite all manner of
problems – not least a succession of devastating floods –
has now withdrawn from CDN, in company with other us One of four locomotives imported by RDC early in
investors who put much into a deal that was supposed to 2007 for CDN, seen shunting at Nampula.
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6 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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C R E A T I V E I N V E S T M E N T S W W W . N L P I . N E T
railway profile: namibia
by John Batwell
back in 1884, Namibia became a German protectorate. After north-westwards to Outjo (69km). A second branch runs
the First World War and Germany’s defeat and reparations, east from Otavi (203km from Kranzberg) to Grootfontein
a league of Nation’s mandate handed the territory to south (91km). important railway workshops are based at usakos,
Africa to administer. During this time it was known as south 11km west of Kranzberg.
West Africa (sWA). Following a long, protracted war of
attrition, it finally became Namibia in 1990. A branch from Windhoek runs 221km eastward to the
livestock town of Gobabis.
The colourful history of the country is reflected in its railways
- the fine rail museum in Windhoek is testimony to that. it GAuGE & MotiVE poWEr conVErsion
was the German government that laid the first railway of During the years when the south West African lines were
any significance, after the protectorate became a colony. in operated by the south African railways (sAr) administration,
1897 a 600mm gauge military railway was started eastwards some 547km of 600mm gauge track were converted to
from swakopmund for the German campaign against the 1,067mm and steam was replaced with diesel power. The
hereros. This saw the origins of the “staatsbahn” (state vast areas with almost no water and the fact that coal had
railway). The first 1,067mm gauge, characterising the to be transported from the Witbank coalfields made it
regional systems on the continent today, was seen in 1905, expedient to terminate the use of steam traction as early as
when construction started on the line inland from luderitz, 1962. Two years earlier the last of the narrow gauge lines
reaching Keetmanshoop in 1908 and Windhoek in 1912. had disappeared, enabling this decision. by July 1960 the
Further impetus came when south African allied forces 1,067mm gauge was uniform throughout the country. The
advanced into the colony during the 1914-18 conflict. The 600mm gauge locomotives and rolling stock – which included
line was rapidly extended westwards from Prieska through a unique narrow-gauge sleeping car – were transferred for
upington and then across the border, and army engineers further use in south Africa.
converted the 600mm gauge railway inland from Walvis bay
(but not the line to Tsumeb) to 1,067mm. tHE DiEsELs
The first diesel locomotives seconded to the south West
tHE LinEs system comprised General electric u18C1 type units, built
For many years until recently, Namibia’s network comprised in 1958 (sAr class 32). later, examples of the American
2, 382km of track, but current northward expansion towards manufacturer’s u20C model, delivered to the sAr between
the Angolan border has augmented the total length. The 1966 and 1970 and classified 33, went to south West.
main-line runs south to north from the town of upington in
south Africa’s Northern Cape Province, entering Namibia in May 1985, the roads, rail and harbours were placed under
near the small border station of Nakop. At seeheim, 314km the authority of the territory’s government, but south African
from Nakop, a branch runs westwards to lüderitz (317km), a Transport services (which had superseded sAr) continued
minor harbour. The main-line continues northwards through to manage the system.
the towns of Keetmanshoop and Mariental to the capital,
Windhoek. From here the railway continues first north and nEW ErA – AnD nEW LiVErY
then generally south-west to swakopmund (370km), turning On 16 May 1986 the first locomotives in south West Africa’s
south to the country’s major port, Walvis bay (410km). At own livery were ceremoniously introduced at Windhoek
Kranzberg junction, 210km from Windhoek, an important station. The transport minister at the time noted that the
line runs north-east to Tsumeb (387km). From Otjiwarongo diesel units’ new colour scheme symbolised the transfer of
on this section (205km from Kranzberg), a branch runs the territory’s complete rail system to it as a national asset.
in 1987 the National Transport Corporation Act (NTC) was
adopted by the sWA/Namibia national assembly and signed
into law by the administrator-general.
8 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
railway profile: namibia
The NTC was a private company with its entire
shareholding held by government. Assets worth
some r150m were transferred to the NTC. These
included 128 diesel locomotives, 180 passenger
coaches and 2,900 goods wagons. The National
Transport Corporation ltd adopted a new name
– TransNamib – in July 1988.
cHinA EntErs tHE picturE
TransNamib holdings ltd was established in
terms of the National Transport services holding
Company Act of 1998, thus becoming the
successor to TransNamib ltd. it is wholly owned
by the government of Namibia. Namibia’s first
president from 1990, sam Nujoma, was in office
until 2005, in time to witness the further growth
of the national railway system and the opening
of the completed 89km from Tsumeb to Oshivelo
of the new northern extension. Nujoma’s tenure
of office also witnessed Namibia’s start of a
Chinese economic liaison – four Ziyang CKD8C
type locomotives, a diesel multiple unit (DMu)
for the new northern line, and thirty tank cars
being delivered to the country during 2004.
TransNamib’s first Chinese-built motive power delivered in
2004 – Ziyang Loco Works’ CKD8C.
On 15 July 2006, thousands gathered to witness
the official opening by the new president
hifikepunye Pohamba of the new Nehale
lyapingana station at Ondangwa, formally
signifying completion of the initial phase of
Namibia’s new northern extension. The 246,5km
from Tsumeb was completed at a cost of N$841
million in only four years, work having started on
12 June 2002. Financing came from the Arab bank
for economic Development in Africa ($us4.9
million) and the Kuwait Fund for Arab economic
Development ($8.96 million). Altogether 19,148
local people were employed on the project.
in addition, about 44,000 volunteers from the
public and private sector helped with the work,
including former president sam Nujoma. Other
stopping places built include Dr sam Nujoma
station at Oshivelo and Omuthiya-Gwiipundi.
Altogether, some 25,000 tonnes of rails were
laid on about 352,000 concrete sleepers, all cast
at Tsumeb. Today, passenger trains connect
Ondangwa and Windhoek in 10 hours.
Construction of phase 2, to Oshikango (55km) on
the Angolan border, is in hand, and a branch to
Oshakati will follow. A 250km extension across
the border is envisaged, to link eventually near
Cassinga with a line (currently under rehabilitation)
which runs to the Angolan port of Namibe. iron-
ore from mines near Cassinga may be exported
through Walvis bay at some future date.
www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 9
railway profile: namibia
LÜDEritZ brAncH trAnsnAMib LooKs AHEAD
At the same time when TransNamib’s northern extension Meanwhile TransNamib has invited swedish companies
was being built, rehabilitation of the 139km Aus-lüderitz line to partner the state-owned company in its $us1 billion
was in progress. This has embraced the use of tubular track, refurbishment exercise. New TransNamib CeO Titus haimbili
a unique track system designed, developed and patented says the parastatal needs
by south African firm Tubular Track Technology. replacing to upgrade its infrastructure
conventional sleepers and ballast, it is made up of twin to handle a 18.5 tonne
reinforced concrete beams, linked with steel gauge-bars, axle load. Further loco-
on which the rails are continuously supported. To insulate motive refurbishment and
the structure from shock when trains pass, rubber-bonded acquisitions are mooted.
cork pads are placed between the rails and beams. The Whilst Namibia’s railways
ballastless system is well suited to extreme temperature experienced financial losses
variations that characterise desert areas. The extensive sand in the 1990s, things have
dunes encountered as the route approaches lüderitz created taken a turn for the better,
serious problems for the original railway. instead of burying with TransNamib holdings TransNamib’s latest Chinese diesel
the rails – a frequent occurrence in the past – sand now blows reporting an annual profit locomotives – a pair of the 17 Sifang
through the clear space beneath the beams. rehabilitation every year since 2003. SDD6 units
of the branch will benefit the movement of export zinc and
copper from the skorpion and rosh Pinah mines. As to future network development, an extension of the
Gobabis line, to connect with botswana’s main-line at Palapye
nEW MotiVE poWEr has been proposed. More recently, an extension from
During 2007, TransNamib expanded its motive power fleet with Grootfontein has been mooted, to run to Katimo Mulilo on
the delivery of 17 sifang-built sDD6 type diesel locomotives the Zambian border, from where a connection to livingstone
at a cost of N$250 million. The purchase was funded through is contemplated. The most ambitious scheme envisaged is
a loan with the export and import bank of China. rolling for a “1,600km, multi-billion-dollar, electrified Trans-Kalahari
stock acquired included 200 wagons from China, including railway” running from Palapye in east central botswana past
tankcars for transporting fuel and chemicals. the Morupule Colliery, then by way of Mariental, Maltahohe
and Aus in Namibia to a new harbour at shearwater bay,
in March 2006, rail india Technical and economic services 30km south of lüderitz. The project is being undertaken by
ltd (rites) signed a Memorandum of understanding (Mou) a consortium of companies from Namibia, south Africa and
with TransNamib holdings ltd, in terms of which assistance Canada, including sekunjalo, Kumba resources, siemens
and expertise is to be provided in upgrading existing railway Transportation systems and energem resources.
and other infrastructure including a train control system
using GPs-based technology; the rehabilitation of aged According to the promoters, it will be the first electrified
u20C locomotives and supply of new Cape-gauge railcars; railway in botswana and Namibia, the first heavy-haul line in
technical and managerial assistance; advisory services for either, and the longest heavy-haul line on the continent.
Public Private Partnership (PPP) and training for commercial
and operating staff. in fact, it won’t be the first electric railway in Namibia. An
extensive network of 600mm gauge lines developed after
1905 in the restricted “diamond” area south of Kolmanskop,
extending initially to bogenfels and later – after this section
was lifted in 1931 - to Oranjemund. Due to the absence of
water, much of this system was electrified with overhead
wires at 500V DC. sixteen electric locos were still listed in
1964, but the railway has since closed.
The Luderitz branch: a General Electric
U20C locomotive on tubular track.
10 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
SPECIALIST CASTINGS FOR
THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY
The Scaw Metals Group (Scaw) is an international group, manufacturing a diverse range of steel products. Its principal
operations are located in South Africa, South America, Canada and Australia. Smaller operations are in Namibia,
Zimbabwe and Zambia. Scaw’s specialist castings for the railroad industry include bogies used in freight cars,
locomotives and passenger cars. Other products manufactured include:
Freight car castings: Scaw has produced castings for the railroad industry since 1921
• Side Frames • Bolsters and is a technological leader in this field and has participated in the
• Yokes • Cast steel monobloc wheels development of unique designs such as the cast adaptor sub-frame
• Draw-gear components assembly used in the “Scheffel” radial axle truck.
• Centre plates
Scaw manufactures castings under licence to various licensors, but
Cast steel frames for locomotives:
is an open foundry with the capability to undertake work according
• Steerable locomotive frames
to individual customer requirements. The company has produced
• Mounting for electrical parking brakes and brakehangers
• Traction motor end shields and suspension tubes in cast thousands of sets of steel castings for freight cars for both the local
steel, manufactured to customer requirements and export markets. These include side frames and bolsters that
have been approved by the Association of American Railroads for
Passenger car castings: use on North American railroads.
• High speed, high stability radial axle bogies for motored
and unmotored passenger vehicles Scaw supplies globally and also offers nationwide distribution
• Self steering bogies in South Africa through its strategically located branches
• Fully machined frames ready for assembly into bogies, throughout the country.
including the fitting of bushings and wear plates
• Integrally cast brake hanger brackets and mounting
for auxiliary equipment
Tel: +27 11 842-9000 • Fax: +27 11 842-9710
namibE CommutEr sErviCE Egyptian Crossing problEms
rail commuter service into the southern Angolan port of According to egypt’s official MeNA news agency, at least 37
Namibe, 250km north of the Cunene river on the border people were killed and 38 injured on 16 July when a truck
with Namibia, is to be restored shortly. since January, work pushed waiting vehicles onto the track at a level crossing
has concentrated on the first 30km of line out of the town. 80km east of Mersa Matruh on the northern egyptian coast.
Caminhos de ferro Namibe (CFN) official Paulo Ndala told A bus, a truck and several cars were hit by the locomotive of
the Angolan News Agency that the revived commuter trains a passenger train travelling at speed. Four coaches derailed,
will link the centre with saco-Mar and Giras. two overturned on top of two cars, but the loco did not leave
the track. emergency vehicles sent to the scene included
Meanwhile the $us1.2 billion rehabilitation project continues ambulances from Cairo, several hundred kilometres away.
on the rest of CFl’s 756km line to Menongue, and the two
branches – 100km to Chiange and 80km to Cassinga. in a concentrated effort to reduce collisions at the busiest of
eventually it is hoped to link Cassinga, where there are egypt’s 1,300 level crossings, invensys rail Group (irG), a
deposits of high grade iron-ore, with Oshikango on Namibia’s specialist in rail control and automation systems, is making
northern border. This is the endpoint of TransNamib’s proposals to the country’s Department of Transport. To
northern extension, currently under construction. both meet the specific demands of egyptian railways in terms
railways use the 1,067mm gauge. of its geography, climate and the location of the crossings,
invensys aims to adapt technology it has developed for
CFN expects to carry about 2 million passengers annually, applications on railways throughout the world.
and move some 15 million tonnes of goods.
[CFN, known formerly as the Moçâmedes railway, was
originally laid to 600mm gauge. it was widened some 50
years ago. – editor]
Impressive Henschel-built Garratt no 102 of 1953, one
of six on the Moçâmedes Railway displaced by diesel
power before 1970 (photo: P F Bagshawe).
Cfl – a million passEngErs
between January and May 2008, more than a million
passengers were carried by Caminhos de ferro de luanda
(CFl) between the Musseques and Viana stations. Operations
head Aurélio russo told the Angolan news agency Angop
that 99,176 people out of a total of 1,227,206 were carried by
the express train which makes two weekday trips at a fare
of 200 Angolan Kwanzas (about $us2). The ordinary train,
consisting of 12 coaches, makes four weekday journeys KENYA
and two on saturdays at a fare of 30 Kwanzas (about 30 us rift vallEy railWays
cents). During July, rift Valley railways (rVr), the holder of the 25-
year concession to operate the lines in Kenya and part of
uganda, took two Kenyan investor companies on board. in
4 - 6 march 2009 August, it appointed brown Ondego as executive chairman, a
new post, and is entering into a Technical service Agreement
(TsA) with PDl Toll - a subsidiary of Australia’s Toll holdings -
BOTSWANA which is providing senior management personnel and related
botsWana loCo rEfurbishEd technical services to rVr. roy Puffet has stepped down as
in May, botswana railways (br) GM-built diesel-electric managing director (though retaining his directorship), the
locomotive bD 220 was handed over following refurbishment new CeO being PDl nominee Kevin Whiteway. rVr, Ondego
in the bulawayo shops of the National railways of Zimbabwe explains, now has access to “PDl Toll’s back office support
(NrZ). The overhaul, in terms of a bi-lateral arrangement for including finance, purchasing power, risk and training
the repair of traction and rolling stock concluded in 2004, expertise.”
was completed in 45 days. br supplied all requisite spares,
including injectors, turbo blower, engine protector, traction speaking for rVr consortium member Centum investment
motors, brake cylinders, bogie cylinders, and bogie springs. Company, managing director Peter Mwangi told business
12 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
Daily (published in Nairobi) that little return is expected for
between five and ten years. “it’s a long-term investment and
a lot of rehabilitation of infrastructure has to take place before
we can reap returns,” he points out.
The first delivery of new locomotives ordered by rVr
is scheduled in August 2009, three months before the
performance review due two years into the concession.
however, Kenyan and uganda government dissatisfaction
with rVr progress in the 18 months since it took over
management of the railway has resulted in demands for an
business Daily recalls that “Kenya’s rail infrastructure and
rolling stock were in appalling condition at takeover, with
many locomotives inoperable. Persisting unrest in the wake
of the late-December elections saw kilometre-long sections
of the main-line removed near Nairobi. in recent weeks, flood
damage to ancient, ill-maintained bridgework in uganda
put everything out of action again, this time for at least two
[exactly the words we used in recent editorial comment.
Great minds, it seems, still think alike. – editor]
kisumu linE rEpairs
rVr is making comprehensive repairs
to the Nakuru-Kisumu line, temporarily
closed due to damage to bridges
and culverts, and the destruction and/
or theft of fishplates, pandrol clips,
sleepers and sections of rail. More than
seven bridges were sabotaged in the five
months to June 2008, during which 127
instances of vandalism were reported. According to outgoing
rVr CeO roy Puffet, “The vandalism, geared at causing fatal
derailments on the railway, has been expertly perpetrated
by person(s) with clear technical railway know-how.”
CeAr statistics reflect that 400,000 tonnes of freight were
malaWi CEntEnary carried by the railway in 2007, compared with only 150,000
On 17 June 2008, the centenary of the arrival of the first
tonnes in 2001. Passenger totals of a million are expected
train at blantyre (on 1 March 1908) was commemorated
in 2008, up from 650,000. Planned augmentation of the
by celebrations attended by President bingu Mutharika.
present 14 passenger coaches will make it possible to
he visited a photograph exhibition at limbe station before
extend commuter service at blantyre and lilongwe. CeAr
proceeding to the Ferries football ground in blantyre where
also plans to bring in six additional locomotives, raising the
the festivities took place.
fleet total to 22.
Originally established in 1902 as the shire highlands railway,
the name was changed to Nyasaland railways in 1909 and MOROCCO
Malawi railways limited in 1964. Following privatisation high spEEd in moroCCo
in 1999, the system became Central east African railways According to Office National des Chemins de fer (ONCF - the
(CeAr) with railroad Development Corporation of the usA national railway of Morocco), work on the new $us2.7 billion
as a major shareholder. high-speed railway system is to start this year. Totalling
some 1,500km, the network will include an Atlantic route
CeAr achievements mentioned to the Nyasa Times by connecting Tanger, Casablanca and Marrakech with Agadir
public relations and administration officer Daniel undani, and laâyoune; as well as the Maghreb line from rabat to Fès,
include the introduction of radio communication between Oujda and possibly Alger. it is hoped to complete the project
locomotive drivers and central control, the reinstating of the by 2013, when it is estimated that eight million passengers
rivirivi bridge following severe washaways some years ago will be carried annually. Journey time for 400km journeys
and the setting up of a fully fledged safety department. between Casablanca and Tanger will reduce from five hours
45 minutes to 2 hours 10 minutes.
undani concedes that competition from road hauliers is
affecting the company’s performance, though some areas One line will run for 200km from Tanger to Kénitra, and the
are accessible to rail only. other for 170km from settat to Marrakech. between the two,
trains will use part of the existing Fès - rabat - Casablanca
encroachment on the railway reserve is a problem, with line which is being double-tracked and upgraded for 200km/h
agricultural activity too close to the line resulting in washaways operation. Other plans envisage spending $us755m in the
during heavy rain. “Another serious problem,” undani told north of the country, including the modernising of stations
the paper, “is vandalism of the railway structures.” and building a 43km link between Tanger and the new
Tanger-Mediterranean port development.
www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 13
MOZAMBIQUE The total estimated cost for the revamping of infrastructure,
moZambiQuE’s marromEu branCh establishing and constructing new lines, and buying in
reconstruction of Mozambique’s sena line is now complete new passenger coaches and freight wagons totals about
as far as Marromeu, the Zambezi river terminus of an 80km $us1.044 billion.
branch from inhamitanga, 175km from beira. export sugar
will comprise the principal traffic on this section. limestone transnamib goEs digital
from Muanza (128km from beira), is being moved 100km on in terms of an agreement with south Korea’s samsung
the main-line to the cement factory in Dondo. Timber from signed on 11 July, TransNamib is to replace its analogue
Cheringoma will also be carried on the railway. communication system with digital equipment. TransNamib
CeO Titus haimbili was quoted by the Namibian (published
According to sofala Provincial Director of Transport and in Windhoek) saying that among many benefits, maintenance
Communications, Manuel Guimaraes, a further 12 months is costs would be reduced and drivers would be prevented
needed to finish rehabilitation of the entire 590km sena line from exceeding speed restrictions.
to the coal mines at Moatize and on to Tete, the endpoint.
The work is being carried out by a consortium comprising “Other benefits of a digital system are that the need for rail
rail india Technical and economic services ltd (rites) and maintenance could be predicted by simply using onboard
ircon international (riCON), which won the concession equipment to detect changes in the rail, and accurate
covering the entire central system of Caminhos de ferro do
Moçambique. Progress is being impeded by vandalism. At
the partly rebuilt station at savane, thieves have stolen the
newly installed doors and windows.
No trains have run on the sena line since 1983, due to the
large-scale removal of track by renamo rebels. in 1986, a
section of the 3km Zambezi bridge at Dona Ana, the longest
in Africa, was blown up.
TransNamib train hauled by ex-SAR class 33 diesel
information on the location and speed of the locomotives
could be provided on the system. in order for trains to be
able to run according to schedule the railway system must
Cfm traffiC be able to meet the challenges of constant disruptions
According to the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Caminhos de ferro effectively. Delayed or cancelled trains are detrimental to the
do Moçambique (CFM – the state railway) handled 1,65 effective service delivery of any railway operator,” haimbili
million tonnes of freight in the first five months of 2008, an was quoted saying.
increase of 9.2% on the same period in 2007. This growth
occurred exclusively on the southern rail system (which is NIGERIA
managed by CFM), comprising the lines from Maputo to nigErian statEs must Chip in
south Africa, swaziland and Zimbabwe. Together these lines The federal government has allocated “close to zero” capital
carried 1,477 million tonnes. to railways in the current year’s budget, Nigeria railways
Corporation (NrC) managing director Mazi Jetteson
Mozambique’s two other functioning lines - from beira to Nwankwo told the press on 18 June, during a district
Zimbabwe, and from the northern port of Nacala to Malawi management meeting in enugu.
- were run until mid 2008 by consortia headed by private
companies. between them, they handled only 173,000 tonnes To sustain the provision of rail services, he said, NrC is
of freight from January to May, a decline of 43.7% compared “reaching out” to state governments for assistance. in terms
with 2007. The Nacala line concession was reconstituted of such partnership, Nwankwo explained, the states are
recently with solely Mozambiquan membership. expected to provide wagons, coaches and locomotives.
states that have already committed themselves to help wth
Of course, there has been a huge reduction in Zimbabwean running intercity rail services are Kaduna, Cross river, Delta,
trade. in the first five months of 2007, the Mozambican lines benue, lagos and Adamawa. The benue, Niger and Kano
(to beira and Maputo) handled 202,200 tonnes to and from states have asked NrC management to forward proposals.
Zimbabwe, a figure that fell to 186,200 tonnes in the same
period this year. Quoted by This Day (published in lagos), Nwankwo said
that “Kaduna state has already indicated readiness to go
The ressano Garcia line from Maputo to south Africa handled into phase 2 of the partnership which may include extending
1,063 million tonnes, of which 34,000 tonnes was Mozambican railway services to other states.” NrC has to work hard to
domestic traffic, and the rest was international (mainly south salvage the situation, the managing director conceded. he
African). Traffic on the Goba line to swaziland increased by said the management team must be “diligent, pro-active,
53.5% - mainly consisting of coal and containerised goods. honest, transparent, willing and ready to put in more hard
work that will make the difference between success and
hugE transnamib dEvElopmEnt plans
TransNamib needs to upgrade its infrastructure to handle RWANDA
18,5 tonne axle-loads at 80km/h (current 40km/h) says rWanda-drC linE proposEd
newly appointed Chief executive Officer Titus haimbili, Agence rwandaise d’information, the rwanda national
quoted by New era, published in Windhoek. The estimated news agency, quotes President Paul Kagame saying that
cost is $us564 million. The necessary refurbishing of 30 the government intends to construct a railway connecting
locomotives within the next three years will cost $us15 the country with the Democratic republic of Congo (DrC),
million. in addition, the utility needs to purchase 10 new to reduce dependence on Kenyan and Tanzanian transport
locomotives at an estimated cost of $us17 million.
14 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
routes. rwanda relies largely on the Kenyan port of Mombasa 1,500km – takes trains to a point almost 300km from the
for imports and exports, and much traffic is routed via the Zambian border. From there, it is still a very long way to a
isaka dry port in Tanzania to Dar-es-salaam. The need port. ironically, the nearest is Dar-es-salaam, by way of the
for alternative routes came to the fore during the political Tanzam line. – editor]
violence in Kenya in January and February.
[it is about 100km from the rwandan capital Kigali to the nEW trl sErviCEs
DrC border at the northern end of lake Kivu. Kindu, the On 13 July, Tanzania railways limited (Trl) launched an
nearest DrC railhead, lies about 300km further, to the south- additional passenger train service between Dar-es-salaam
west. The DrC line from Kindu to lubumbashi – nearly and Kigoma on lake Tanganyika. There are now three trips
every week, a number that it is intended to double. Trl has
ordered 23 third class sleepers from india, infrastructure
permanent secretary Omar Chambo has announced. Freight
service has been restarted on the line running north from Dar
to Tanga, following the arrival of 25 additional locomotives,
and is to be extended to Moshi.
northErn tanZanian sErviCEs rEsumE
On 19 June, rail services were reinstated on Tanzania’s
northern line. Tanga regional commissioner Mohamed
Abdulaziz officiated at the launch. Tanzania railways limited
suspended operations in October 2007, at which time the
condition of infrastructure had deteriorated to a serious
extent, largely due to vandalism.
Abdulaziz asked that the possibility be considered of
relocating the railway workshop back to Tanga from Moshi to
which it was transferred some years ago. he said that most
railway activities take place in Tanga.
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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
Tsh72,600 ($us72) in first class on the Tazara express, up in an editorial, The Times of Zambia takes rail systems of
from Tsh60,500 ($us60). Zambia (rsZ), the concessionaire running Zambian railways,
to task for buying “brand new motor vehicles worth $us1.4
To Makambako (iringa) from Dar-es-salaam now costs million”, while apparently falling short in service delivery.
Tsh29,000 ($us29) instead of Tsh24,200 ($us24). To rujewa “While the company has every right to purchase vehicles for
(Mbeya) the fare is now Tsh29,900 ($us29) instead of operations, we feel their priorities are misplaced,” the paper
Tsh24,900 ($us24). writes.
Tazara managing director Clement subulwa Mwiya points “Gone are the days,” it laments, “when the railway network
out that the company’s policy is to adjust tariffs annually. was the most reliable mode of transport in Zambia. “it was so
high operational costs are being experienced, notably in the reliable and cheap, that the rail line was Zambia’s 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
“The failure by rsZ to provide safety and reliability has forced
UGANDA many Zambians to abandon rail transport in preference for
main-linE at JinJa rEopEns the faster and more reliable road transport. it was hoped that
The main-line to Kampala from Kenya, closed near Jinja on when Zambia railways was concessioned to rsZ, things
14 May following the collapse of an embankment due to a would change for the better.”
blocked culvert, was reopened to traffic on 16 June. During
the four weeks that the line remained inoperable, freight was [rsZ inherited a sorely run-down system which is taking a
offloaded at iganga and taken forward by road. According great deal of time and money to put right. The rosy past of
to rift Valley railways (rVr) project manager Glenn Kleyn, railways in the country dates back to the days when it was
quoted by New Vision (published in Kampala) a new three- called Northern rhodesia – but nobody will want to remember
metre diameter galvanised iron culvert has been installed, that. – editor]
to provide adequate outlet for stormwater to drain into lake
Victoria, about a kilometre downstream.
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
“it (mile 289) is not in any immediate danger but we are nEW nrZ sErviCE
investigating and drawing up designs,” he told the paper. The National railways of Zimbabwe (NrZ) has introduced
a new weekly passenger service to Chicualacuala, 500km
uganda ratEs inCrEasE south-east of bulawayo on the line to Maputo. The existing
rift Valley railways (rVr) has increased freight rates Wednesday train to Chiredzi has been rescheduled to leave
between Mombasa and Kampala from $us80 per tonne to bulawayo at 14:00 on Wednesday instead of 21:00. Arriving
$110. Former managing director roy Puffet explained in July: at 04:00 on Thursday, it returns at 05:00 to Mbizi junction,
“The tariff adjustment was driven by continued upward costs and continues from there to Chicualacuala. Following a
of energy, petroleum products and steel. The price of diesel 14:00 departure, it runs back to bulawayo, arriving on Friday
has gone up by 24% in the last eight months and there is morning. The Chiredzi-bulawayo service retains its former
double digit inflation as well as dollar revaluation”. timing on other days of the week.
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18 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
www.theclimateisrightfortrains.com The Global Leader in Rail Technology
spEEding up thE EastErn CapE The problem is “an ageing fleet of about 2,300 locomotives
An advert in the Johannesburg sunday Times of 13 July 2008 that were never maintained and keep breaking down. And
invited expressions of interest from persons interested in cable theft. A missing few metres (of cable) shuts down a
providing and running a high-speed railway in south Africa’s whole rail network,” barron learned.
eastern Cape province. The scope covered “Manufacture,
supply, Commissioning, life Cycle Maintenance and “ramos attributes her success to leaving her executive suite
Operating of new or refurbished high speed inter-City on the 49th floor of the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg
Passenger Trains, inclusive of an appropriate system of as often as possible. she climbs cranes at Durban port to
Movement Authority. interview crane drivers and sits on the footplate with train
drivers to understand why driving a train in a shunting yard
“The existing 282 km, 1,067mm gauge, non-electrified route, for six or seven hours is such a difficult job.”
traverses mountainous terrain with associated infrastructure
constraints. The intention of the new train service is to reduce According to News24, “ramos has won over the unions...
the transit time from the current approximately ten hours to some of the unions would prefer her to stay when her
not more than five hours, by applying appropriate rolling contract expires at the end of October... united Transport
stock technologies and changes to existing infrastructure. and Allied Trade union (utata) secretary-general Chris de
Vos says they hope she stays on for another year or two.”
“The requirements include, but are not limited to, the
following: [ramos subsequently announced she is staying on. – editor]
“supply and commissioning of sixteen new or refurbished
luxury high speed inter-city rail passenger vehicles, operable CapE toWn station rEvamp bEgins
in sets consisting of two to eight vehicles each. The number The revamp of Cape Town’s main station by intersite, the
of vehicles can be increased in future.” south African rail Commuter Corporation’s (sArCC)
property management company, began in June. Project
[The description leaves little doubt that the Kei line to Mthatha manager Pierre Cronje, quoted by Metrorail’s newsletter
is to be the lucky beneficiary. Though a journey of 282km in “blits”, says people using the station can expect work to be
five hours would seem to imply an undemanding average completed by April 2009.
speed of fifty-something km/h. in railway terms “mountainous
terrain with associated infrastructure constraints” somewhat The present complex was constructed in the early 1960s but
understates the situation. – editor] little development or expansion has taken place since then,
despite changing needs. The station precinct plays a pivotal
ramos thE trail-blaZEr role in the economic life of the city and provides an important
in an insightful recent article in the sunday Times, Chris interface between the central city and the remainder of the
barron reviewed the impressive career and achievements metropolitan area.
of Transnet CeO Maria ramos. One of four children whose
father was a bricklayer, she had to fight to earn a bursary The FiFA soccer World Cup 2010 matches are likely to result
from the bank where she was a clerk, because in those in the largest spectator gatherings south Africa has ever
days women were not eligible. After gaining a b Comm at experienced.
Wits, a helen suzman scholarship took her to london to do
her Masters. she was director-general of the south African The Green Point stadium, located within a 5km radius of the
Ministry of Finance when Transport Minister Jeff radebe station, is currently being rebuilt to host the matches in Cape
persuaded her – at the age of 45 - to move to Transnet in Town. “This has placed significant emphasis on the station,
January 2004. as it is the major public transportation hub in relation to the
stadium,” Cronje points out. “it is expected that the soccer
fans will converge at the station on match days, making their
way to the Green Point stadium.”
[still, it’s a pity that the venue selected is so far from the
railway – Cape Town’s major mode of commuter transport.
The World Cup matches are to be played in the middle of
winter, characterised in the Cape by persisting rain and
cold. in mid-July 2008, eight consecutive days of continuous
heavy rain left much of the city under water. – editor]
“how will the economic slowdown affect Transnet’s future
growth?” barron asked. “We anticipated that growth would
slow,” ramos replied, “so plans for this and next year are
based on lower growth rates of 3.5% to 4%. Transnet’s share
of the transport market is now 12%. it’s not a cost issue, that’s
the frustrating thing. Per ton per kilometre we are cheaper
than road. it’s an efficiency issue and a reliability issue.”
Artist’s impression of Cape Town station as it
is to look (from Metrorail’s “Blits” newsletter).
20 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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latEst on CapE toWn airport montana namEd rail man of thE yEar
According to south African rail Commuter Corporation The latest employee to be awarded for “excellent service,
CeO lucky Montana, the envisaged rail connection to Cape managerial skills and a sparkling personality” is sArCC/
Town’s airport will not be tackled until after the Gautrain Metrorail CeO Tshepo lucky Montana, says “blits”, the
line to Johannesburg’s O r Tambo airport is in operation. Metrorail (Cape Town) weekly newsletter:
speaking at the Africa rail conference, he said a feasibility
study has been completed and the corporation is looking to Montana was presented with
partner with the private sector on the project. the Africa rail Personality
of the Year on 5 June at the
[A line of about 4km is envisaged, branching off the langa- sandton Convention Centre in
sarepta route east of bonteheuwel. – editor] Johannesburg.
“The CeO was voted
Personality of the Year by
4 - 6 march 2009 rail operators, transport
authorities, suppliers, media
and stakeholders on the African
continent,” blits continues.
hEalth train Wins aWard “The award was in recognition
Transnet’s Phelophepa health-Care Train, inaugurated in of Montana’s contribution to
1993, has won the united Nations Public service Award
Tshepo Lucky Montana, SARCC CEO the development and growth
(uNPsA) in the category of improved delivery of services. of the rail engineering industry
The awards ceremony formed part of celebrations for the uN and the rail passenger
Public service Day, which recognises the value and virtue of
transport sector, his promotion of innovation in the industry,
public service to the community.
and the CeO’s visionary leadership in the industry and
the passenger transport sector as a whole. he realised
that the provision of critical and scarce engineering and
technical skills will soon prove a challenge, but his vision
of a rail training institution came to fruition this year with the
establishment of the Centre for Public Transport studies.
The centre is based in the faculty of engineering and built
environment at the university of Cape Town. it undertakes
multi-disciplinary research and teaching within the public
“With conservation uppermost in the minds of south Africans,
the future of public transport in general, and rail in particular,
has never been this rosy. There is light at the end of the
tunnel,” blits concludes, “and the public can be assured that
it is an oncoming train - a clean and punctual express.”
South Africa’s UN-award-winning Phelophepa health train, which brings optical, Transnet Freight rail (TFr) CeO siyabonga Gama told
dental, psychiatric and many other medical services to outlying communities delegates at the annual Africa rail conference in June that
across the land. the organisation had come from “a low service level base”,
where it “didn’t even measure” statistics such as punctuality.
mEtrorail farEs subsidisEd 67% At present, he said, average journey times on TFr’s busiest
Addressing the Africa rail conference, south African rail route – Johannesburg-Durban – have been reduced from
Commuter Corporation CeO lucky Montana said government 22 hours to between 15 and 16. Countrywide, 60% on-time
subsidises Metrorail tickets by an average 67%. Metrorail is arrival and departures are being achieved on average and
suffering from years of underinvestment, he explained, which “steady progress” is being made in reducing this figure. This
has driven down passenger levels. No less than 100 million in itself represents a substantial improvement in a situation
passenger trips have been lost in ten years. An investment where previously trains were expected to arrive “within a day
of at least r25 billion is needed over the next three years, or two” of scheduled time.
some 80% of Metrorail’s passengers are working class males
earning less than r2,500 a month.
Metrorail tickets: 67% subsidised Today’s train – or yesterday’s?
22 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
Secretary General – Union of African Railways
The position for Secretary General for the Union of African Railways will The Secretary General of the UAR is an elected position:
become vacant soon and candidates are requested to apply for the
position to be installed in the position in November 2008. quot;The Secretary General shall be elected by the General Assembly on the
basis of a curriculum vitae presented by his railway of origin for a four-year
The Union of African Railways is an organisation of railway and railway term of office renewable only once for a further 3 yearsquot;. The renewing of
related companies and departments from member countries of the African the term will be based on good performance and will be subject to a vote by
Union. The UAR aims to ensure the following: members of the Union.
• Improvement in the running of railways in Africa
• Expansion to current railway networks to ensure regional interconnectivity Candidates should fulfil the following conditions:
• The standardisation of railways in Africa to ensure future interoperability 1. Be national of member states of AU and ECA
in order to facilitate the flow of goods and passengers between African 2. Have a minimum of 10 years railway experience at least 3 years of which
countries. must have been in a management position
• Promote the cooperation between member railways in order to facilitate 3. Have a University degree
an improvement in systems and processes that would result in a 4. Have a mastery of either English or French, knowledge of both will be an
reduction of costs, improvement in the quality of service and the creation added advantage.
of common standards and processes.
In accordance with the UAR Rules and Regulations as amended from time
The UAR is therefore inviting interested candidates to apply for the position to time, the Secretary General’s salary is paid by his railway and the annual
of Secretary General of the Union of African Railways. The following is an allowance in the amount of US 42,000 that shall be paid by the UAR.
extract from the Constitution of the UAR concerning the Secretary General:
The Secretary General is provided with free accommodation at the residence
1. The Secretary General shall be the head of the General Secretariat. He placed at the disposal of the Union by the Government of DRC and enjoys
shall be responsible for applying the work programme of the Union and free transportation provided by the Union.
shall implement the decisions of the General Assembly and of the
Executive Board. The Secretary General of the UAR will be a member of the Diplomatic Corps
and will enjoy Diplomatic Immunity in the DRC.
2. The Secretary General shall be appointed by the General Assembly on the
basis of a curriculum vitae presented by his Railway for a three (4) year - Candidates, and their curriculum vitae, will be scrutinised and vetted by the
term of office. This term of office can be renewed once for a further 3 Executive Board to assess their professional competence before their
years through recommendation and unanimous agreement of the candidatures are all submitted to the General Assembly for election.
General assembly - Management and professional staff are seconded from their Railways but
continue to be paid directly by their Railways, at the scales of remuneration
3. The Secretary General shall provide secretarial services to the General prevailing in their railways, the basic salary, monthly allowances and pension
Assembly and the Executive Board and convene their meetings in contributions.
accordance with this Constitution and any rules made under the
provisions of paragraph 5 of Article 3 and paragraph 1 of Article 4 of Interested candidates are required to forward their letter of interest,
this Constitution. Curriculum Vitae together with a letter of support from their current Railway
or state department to:
4. The Head of the General Secretariat shall be called the Secretary General
and shall be entitled to attend in an advisory capacity all meetings of the Per Address:
General Assembly and the Executive Board.
The President of the UAR
The General Secretariat shall: The Chief Executive
Transnet Freight Rail
a) prepare the provisional programme of activities, budget and accounts of Private Bag X47
the union and its organs and submit them to the Executive Board for Johannesburg
b) ensure the dissemination of the decision of the organs of the Union to the
members of the Union and their implementation, and Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
c) Perform any of the functions that may be delegated to it by the
Executive Board. Applications close on 25.09.2008 and interviews will be held in Johannes-
d) Propose to the Executive Board, the appointment and the renewal of burg, South Africa during 1st 2 weeks in October 2008. Your railway should
contracts for staff of the General Secretariat and takes disciplinary be prepared to cover the cost of the air- ticket to attend the interview.
actions concerning the staff.
5. The Secretary General shall unless otherwise provided, represent the
Union at meetings where the Union is required to be represented. A list of
all meetings will be presented to the Executive Committee that will
approve the meetings to be attended by the Union.
Metrorail says its services have improved in the areas of
punctuality, cancellations, security and safety. Punctuality
has improved from 4% of trains on time to an average of
4 - 6 march 2009
86.4% for the full financial year. Only 1.83% of scheduled
trains were cancelled on average.
kEi rail progrEss
[Taking a recent week at random, Metrorail stats for the The Kei rail passenger service has grown consistently since
Western Cape showed: its reintroduction. some 240 people use the train between
• Train cancellations: 3.4% Amabele and Mthatha every saturday and 260 on sundays
• Morning peak trains late: 31.3% at a cost of r30 per trip. Due to their obvious popularity and
• Afternoon peak trains late: 24.5% pressure of demand, trains are soon to run every day.
• Off-peak trains late: 12.2%
• The on-time target is 93%. “We believe that this service will grow rapidly due to the
– editor] economic climate in the country and the fuel costs. it will
link up with the shosholoza Meyl Train service that operates
gfb margins “papEr thin” between east london and Johannesburg daily except
According to engineering News, Transnet Freight rail’s on saturdays and Wednesdays,” says Ncedo Kumbaca,
(TFr) general freight business (GFb) is responsible for 75% spokesman for the eastern Cape Department of Transport.
of total revenue, but the margins are “paper-thin”. Operations Trains will also run on Friday and sunday nights.
are prejudiced by increasing unreliability in the ageing
locomotive and wagon fleet. rail’s share of the important “later this year, we will commence a freight service. Our main
corridor linking Durban to Johannesburg is estimated at targets include timber, cement, fuel, agricultural products
only 21%, but at the same time it follows that TFr’s biggest etc. Through our agreement with Transnet rail engineering,
opportunity for business growth lies here. This is why, of we will be able to provide container wagons to move the
r38 billion being spent between 2008 and 2013 on goods,” Kumbaca explains.
modernising and expanding rail infrastructure, r25.3 billion
is being devoted to the Gauteng-Kwazulu Natal line. The area between east london and umzimvubu has been
declared the Kei Development Corridor with Kei rail as
beeld quotes executive director Jannie de Villiers of the one of the anchor projects. some of the socio-economic
Chamber of Millers, who points out that 85% of grain transport benefits identified in this corridor, include providing 28,000
was on rail in 1985, a figure that has dropped to less than jobs over the next 20 years, saving in road haulage and road
50% now, despite road transport’s higher cost. maintenance costs and avoiding road accidents.
Kei Rail: soon to run every day
transnEt frEight sEt to go
Transnet’s turnaround strategy is largely complete, but
asset utilisation is still too low, chief executive Maria ramos
told business report. she said it was expected “that the
organisation would grow general freight volumes by 6.5% a
year and would raise its share of this crucial market to 17%
by 2013. it is 11.5% now, up from 10% three years ago but
way off the 20% levels last seen in the late 1990s.
24 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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railWay training in EastErn CapE “it is not my motto to play
During August, the eastern Cape Department of Transport is too much in the public
to provide training aimed at preparing the province’s youth domain, and i hope that
to become train drivers, train control officers, track masters, you will understand when i
track welders and operations managers. According to ask that we use this award
departmental spokesperson Ncedo Kumbaca, “This initiative to continue to build our
presents a good opportunity for the department to effectively house on the hill. We pause
transform the rail sector through providing massive skill ever so briefly to take in the
training to previously marginalised individuals”. exciting energy that such
recognition brings, but
grahamstoWn linE Closing tomorrow we wake up to
According to a local press report, the 56km branch line from ensure that our life’s work
Alicedale junction, 114km north of Port elizabeth, was to becomes a beacon that
be closed at the end of July. The operating loss is said to reflects all of our efforts.
have been r20 million annually. Originally it was intended to
close the line at the end of June but the date was extended to “i am proud of the support
accommodate the annual Grahamstown Festival. i have received so far
and am confident that
[hopefully the eastern Cape Department of Transport, which once our house on the
is keen to keep railway branch-lines alive, will come to the hill is complete, it will
Business leader Siyabonga Gama: become a shining symbol
rescue. – editor] building TFR’s house on the hill. of sustainable business
transformation in south Africa. i am proud to continue to
gama’s housE on thE hill serve you and use this opportunity to seek your permission
Following his recent award as National business leader to declare on behalf of all of us ‘we are on track!’”
of the Year, Transnet Freight rail (TFr) chief executive
siyabonga Gama addressed the employees who nominated
him, saying: applE EXprEss
During the weekend of 27–29 June, the first of a new series of
“When i accepted the award, i indicated that it is not mine narrow-gauge Apple express excursions was operated from
but it belongs to Transnet Freight rail and in particular to Port elizabeth to Assegaaibosch (163km). Motive power was
all Transnet Freight rail employees. it is a reflection of the a Transnet Freight rail class 91 diesel, due to the fire hazard
track we have travelled and the challenges we have yet to present at this time of year. regular weekend trips are to be
28 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
Cummins Engines for Rail
Cummins South Africa
Head Office + 27 11 321 8700
The sishen-saldanha iron-ore export line carried 31.9
million tons, a 6.3% improvement, but coal line performance
dropped by 5.2% to 63,5 million tons, attributed jointly to
“short supply of product from the coal mines and disrupted
service levels at TFr resulting mainly from operational issues
such as derailments and cable theft”.
saving south afriCa’s branCh linEs
During July, Transnet advertised for expressions of interest
All Apple Express trains cross the spectacular van Stadens bridge, at 45,7 in branch lines, though it is not clear how this invitation
metres the highest narrow-gauge structure in the world, then wind down the dovetails with its recently announced intention to hand over
steep (200m drop in 13km) from Summit to Loerie, which lies only 30m above responsibility for secondary routes to the Department of
Transport. The lines listed were:
run once a month until summer. Day trips from Port elizabeth • Naboomspruit - Zebediela; Pienaarsrivier - Marble hall;
to loerie (72km) will run on all sundays when there is no • Volksrust-Charlestown; Gingindlovu - eshowe (KZN);
weekend operation. • Merrivale - howick; Cedara-hilton; Pentrich - Mkondeni;
• Port shepstone-harding; Wolwehoek-Gottenburg; Dover -
The initiatives form part of a new Apple express tourism Vredefort;
campaign, offering three-day weekend packages. A return • sannaspos - Zastron; springfontein - Koffiefontein;
ticket costs r550 per person and includes a picnic-basket • Theunissen - Winburg;
lunch on both legs. The train has a well-stocked Apple Tavern, • Aliwal North - Zastron;
where snacks, cold drinks, memorabilia and postcards may • Calvinia - hutchinson;
be purchased during “leg-stretch” stops. “Accommodation • Kootjieskolk - sakrivier;
hosts” and “experience hosts” transport passengers from • Calitzdorp - Oudtshoorn;
the station to a variety of interesting venues. • De Doorns - Matroosberg;
• Wolseley - Ceres - Prince Alfred hamlet;
transnEt frEight rEvEnuE up • Aliwal North - barkly east;
in the year to 31 March 2008, Transnet Freight rail (TFr) • schoombee - hofmeyr;
reported increased revenue which rose 13.9% to r16.6 billion. • sterkstroom - Maclear;
revenue at Transnet rail engineering (Tre) increased too, • barkly bridge - Alexandria;
by 5.7% to r7.1 billion. TFr’s general freight business (GFb) • Cookhouse - somerset east;
turned in increased traffic volumes – the first rise in this • Middelburg - rosmead;
• Port Alfred - Grahamstown;
robdivision in 10 years. Nov 01 23:03:02 2004
and carteradvert.FH10 Mon Page 1
• hercules - Magaliesburg.
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30 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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all on Track
Officially launched on the 4th of August 2008 – Transnet Freight
rail’s r90 million investment, the National Operations Centre (NOC)
at their Parktown offices. An auspicious occasion marked with the
well deserved pomp and ceremony – Tre can now track, trace and
monitor its fleet throughout sADC.
NOC which will operate 24/7 has a striking resemblance to that of a
NAsA control centre and indeed will provide the critical “birds eye
view” to assist in streamlining train scheduling and planning – thus
further improving on customer delivery and response time.
The seating plan in the centre mirrors the 14 business corridors as well
as the regional execution teams headed by their respective regional
operating executives. The corridor teams are multi-disciplinary and
• service planning
• integrated Train Plan
• Monitoring and deviation
• Provision of locomotives and Wagons
• locomotive distribution
• Availability of infrastructure
• Customer care
32 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 33
CUstomer day: bombardier
Bombardier’s innovative solutions
for the rail industry
bombardier Transportation held its first customer day on 18 and 19 August 2008. The
two-day event saw various presentations on the company’s latest product offerings for rail-
related industries and was officially opened by Philippe roch, services Country business
leader, and Alan Flint, Managing Director of bombardier sA.
bombardier is a world-leading manufacturer of complete transportation solutions focusing
on planes and trains, and operates in more than 50 countries around the world.
Various workshops were held during the two-day event covering the following topics:
• Fleet maintenance;
• security management;
• Train management;
• rail control solutions;
• energy saving; and
• Wheelset Monitoring
bombardier has in-depth experience in fleet maintenance for than 10 minutes late at a destination is rated a failure. The
a wide range of rail operators around the world, from total standards are demanding, considering that the train covers
service to partnerships and skills transfer agreements. Where some 627km in 2 hours 30 minutes, achieving a reliability of
applicable the company takes full responsibility for ensuring 1,000,000km between failures and 100% availability.
reliable fleet operation – from refuelling and cleaning to
depot management, daily servicing and maintenance. it Other products available from bombardier include systems
is for this reason that the company is able to offer a “fleet that constantly monitor various aspects of a train, for
management” service and not merely “fleet maintenance”, example door closure. if excessive energy is being drawn
offering customers individually tailor-made solutions. by one door in a trainset, it can be established immediately
when the unit is due for maintenance. Notification that there
bombardier has developed a maintenance management is a problem with a door on a specific coach and that it needs
system, which allows for information to be gathered rapidly to be serviced, is then sent through.
from all operational sites; from raw material cost to labour,
with any problem or improvement being fed into the system. The provision of continuous monitoring means that trainset
From this collection of data, the ability has been developed downtime in depots is meaningfully reduced. All information
to feed information back to the various working sites from a needed by the engineers is already available when each set
centralised location. This is considerably more cost-effective comes in for routine maintenance.
than having people rushing around the world - or a great
many engineers working in isolation. sECurity managEmEnt
The threat of terrorism on trains - such as the spanish
An expert – one who really knows and understands a fleet bombing and later the attack on the london underground
and the environment in which it has to operate – is located at – has prioritised the need for improving safety. bombardier
every site and any further expertise that is required is drawn already had a number of security arrangements in place, but
from the pool at the central location. there was a need for a more reliable and maintainable system.
Accordingly. one was developed to operate seamlessly
bombardier has further incorporated a list of 20 best together with the existing train control management and
maintenance practices that are in place at every site where signalling.
the company operates and has implemented this as the base
standard against which everything it does is measured. The new technologies make it possible to interact in real time
with passengers in the case of emergency.
As a result, the company has an excellent overview of various
types of fleets and their operating behaviour. information A survey in Germany showed that a large percentage of
on problems that may arise in one part of the world, where passengers felt insecure about their safety when travelling by
conditions are similar to another part of the world, can be train. since the introduction of CCTV on trains and platforms,
exchanged to sort the problem out. however, they feel safer. Operators have benefited through a
reduction in vandalism and the costs of litigation following
Another advantage that bombardier enjoys through its fraudulent claims.
operations world-wide is the facility to source components at
the best possible price, and to develop economies of scale The system that has been developed, sekurflo, offers four
with suppliers. modular and scalable options depending on the operator’s
needs - from a basic system to a total one integrated with the
The company’s success is demonstrated in the results it has signalling and wayside monitoring. sekurflo was specifically
achieved at C2C, a uK-based operator which was in serious developed to handle the harsh operating environment
trouble when bombardier took over the fleet. in a relatively encountered on board a train.
short time it was running at 99.8% availability, with punctuality
at 97.9% and no lost time due to accidents over the past year. The top of the range, the sekurflo 650, has reduced physical
The availability of trains to run on schedule has allowed the aggression to one per million people transported, and bag
operator to concentrate on growing the business as the snatching to one per three million. sekurflo is deployed by
service is now recognised as a reliable means of transport. the london underground, Toronto Transit Commission, Delhi
Metro, Perth Transit Authority and the Gautrain, to mention
Another success story is the renfe high-speed train in spain. a few.
reliability is a major factor here, since a train that arrives more
34 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
CUstomer day: bombardier
train managEmEnt With the modernisation of the rail industry worldwide and
bombardier has pioneered a radically new approach to the constant challenges in the industry, it is imperative that
predictive asset management. The Orbita is a capability using efficiency be increased, costs reduced and performance
people, knowledge, specialist skills and expert processes be fully up to date. bombardier Transportation offers the
to anticipate maintenance requirements before failures most modern components for long-term solutions to such
occur. it is an enhanced transportation asset management challenges.
system that delivers new value to bombardier, its customers,
partners and suppliers. The company’s highly experienced engineers have gained
their knowledge of complex technical systems in the field of
Orbita is about gathering the right type of information modern avionics and have been researching, developing and
in the field and being able to process this intelligently, working for over a decade to apply these modern technologies
using automated knowledge to deliver tailored, dynamic to railways. They are using GPs-based telematics systems
decision-supported data. it comes down to having the 20 on a worldwide basis for the benefit of railways.
best operating practices in place to ensure that all available
information is used to maximum effect. The iNTerFlO 50 is a GPs-based train location and
information system allowing a unified solution for information
Traditionally the engineer would take his laptop to the processing of vehicle and line related data. The system can
locomotive and download the required information from the supplement vital procedures by increasing safety, thereby
train. in terms of the Orbita system however, information helping to optimise the customer logistics chain.
monitored on the train comes in automatically to the relevant
specialists on an hourly basis The iNTerFlO 50 ensures a successful rail transportation
The benefits are numerous: system by delivering efficient use of infrastructure and fleets,
• reduction in unplanned corrective maintenance; optimised management and usage of resources, reduction
• improved reliability; of service and maintenance cost, as well as energy savings.
• reduction in time delays whenever a failure
occurs by updating the schedules in real time and Forming part of the iNTerFlO system is the bombardier ebi
communicating the information; and screen control room; a traffic management system for the
• reduction of the time trainsets spend in the depot efficient and economic management of main line and mass
through continuously monitoring the various systems transit networks. The system is fully capable of handling
and having this information available when a train mixed traffic environments with high speed, freight and
comes in for scheduled maintenance. commuter traffic sharing the same track.
Through the use of this facility, vehicles of a similar type EnErgy saving
anywhere in the world can be readily compared, thereby in facing the challenges of the world’s economic sustainability,
integrating several systems into one. An alarm can be set to the saving of energy, improving of efficiency, achieving of
sound on a specific trainset, in defined circumstances, for sound economic value and protecting the ecology have
example in cases of wheelslip. similarly if the toilet tank on become important priorities.
a train in the uK is full, the train will be grounded. however,
if the tank is reasonably full, but a group of soccer fans is The company has pioneered the philosophy: “The climate
expected to board, it would be sensible to empty the tank. is right for trains” and has succeeded in balancing the
abovementioned challenges by developing a new formula
Orbita permits trends to be analysed at a glance, by providing for total train performance: eco4.
a comprehensive overview of a fault or faults. it is possible
that the exact fault might not be identified, but attention eco4 was launched to support the reduction of energy
would be drawn to the existence of a potential or existing consumption and minimise the co2 footprint, while delivering
problem. on total train performance. bombardier’s technologies can
create substantial overall energy savings of up to 50% with
Orbita offers an alert functionality and generates a decision- their solutions ranging from planning the energy efficiency of
support system which can be transmitted to the area new transportation systems to aerodynamically enhancing
specialist when a unit is going in for repair. This will specify new train designs and optimising the energy consumption
the corrective action to be taken, the priority rating of the of an existing fleet.
problem and the reaction time needed for action to solve it.
A tracking facility monitors the time taken to effect the repair eco4 balances the four “e” cornerstones: energy, efficiency,
and lists the parts used to correct the defect. The information economy and ecology, within convincing and reliable
is fed back into the system and allows for further trends and solutions, services and products, by offering customers
views to emerge. This ensures that the information needed for added value to their trains and services, as well as delivering
effective preventative maintenance is continuously tracked. on the promise of total train performance.
rail Control solutions bombardier’s electric trains produce zero co2 and no
bombardier provides state-of-the-art systems that enable rail particle emissions, where electricity is produced by zero-
vehicles to operate at increased speed and track capacity emission power plants. The company’s modular portfolio
without compromising very high safety standards. offers innovative technologies, reducing the energy demand
of a train by up to 50%. With its modern railway products,
The company’s solutions in this regard have been delivered to it helps to ensure that today’s megacities do not collapse
50 countries worldwide and provide the following services to under the strain of traffic jams and suffer minimally from
customers to help them protect their signalling investment: polluted air and noisy roads. The designs and interiors of
• Tailored service level agreements, including their products are easily recyclable and environmentally
maintenance; friendly in their maintenance.
• system upgrades and alterations;
• spare part sales;
• repair services;
• Training; and
• installation, testing and commissioning.
www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 35
Railways & Harbours Supply Chain Association
Port & Rail Operators Meeting
Once upon a time, the concept of getting together state-owned
enterprises and public-private partnerships in both the railway and
harbours fields - as well as rail concessionaires - to communicate
effectively with suppliers, might have been seen as wishful thinking.
No longer: the railways and harbours supply Chain Association
held its inaugural event on Friday 15 August, aimed specifically at the
operators. it was encouraging to find that the concept of the supply
chain is one in which the continent has an obvious and considerable
Among the issues discussed, the leveraging of buying power was
conspicuous, as were the bettering of procurement and developing
suppliers to meet Africa’s demands. The localising of supply
mechanisms and the developing of associated industries is clearly
essential in ensuring the sustainability of the continent’s rail and
The railways and harbours supply Chain Association will work in
close co-operation with the Department of Public enterprises’ CsDP
programme as well as tying in with the with the uNiDO benchmarking
The first meeting functioned primarily to introduce operators to the
role and concept of the Association and the players involved, and to
determine the interests of operators. A second meeting - with suppliers
- took place on 25th August. A report on the outcome will appear in the
next issue of railways Africa.
Mervyn Panzera from the Railway Safety Regulator expressing his should you require further information or have any questions please
views on the role the association should play. call us on +27 74 703 6658 | www.rhsupplychain.com
South African Society for Railway Engineers Gala Event
The south African society for railway engineers hosted their annual
gala event on 15 August at the Or Tambo southern sun venue.
Considering that this was a Friday, it was very well attended, and
the organisers were pleasantly surprised at the extent of industry’s
generous sponsorship of the occasion. Transnet rail engineering’s
imran Karim, a fellow member and soon to be the next president of
the association, was the MC for the evening. he was complimented on
doing an outstanding job.
The Gala event takes the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements
of railway engineers and their contribution to the field of engineering
through papers presented at the monthly gatherings. Though not
all winners were present, those who were clearly appreciated the
t stevens: railway safety regulator, Act 2002
H van Wyk: Creativity in the engineer’s Day
D Margo: intellectual property and the
locomotive engineering industry
M isler: Voith rail Technology
W snyders: using household refrigerator-
freezer to assist in providing hot water
A Loedolff: effective mentorship of young newcomers
p roch: Power regeneration ( energy storage for trains)
M Headland & G noble: low voltage circuit breakers for railways
and the correct specification of AC + DC contractors & relays
J pretorius: latest technology in Track maintenance
36 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
Rolling out a successful mining components
company in Gauteng tested our mettle.
Ebony & Ivory 11595
The IDC provides finance for industrial and enterprise development.
To discuss funding of R1 million or more, please call 086 069 3888 or visit www.idc.co.za
mishaps & blUnders
oXford road CollapsE
On 8 July, a hole some 12 metres across opened up in Oxford loCo and 10 Wagons in rivEr
road between eighth and North Avenues, necessitating high water in the Yellowstone river undermined the adjoining
closure of this important main road. A streetlamp fell into burlington Northern santa Fe (bNsF) railway on 7 July,
the hole as well as part of a garden wall, and a large water precipitating a locomotive and 10 wagons, three loaded
main was severed, cutting of supply to the rosebank mall with coal, into the torrent. The rest of the 123-wagon train
and several suburbs. excavation by Gautrains tunnel boring remained on the track, about 6km west of Forsyth, 100km
machine, working at a depth of 12 metres below the surface, north-east of billings, Montana. More than 350 tonnes of
was stopped immediately. The road was declared unsafe for coal ended up in the water.
all road users, both motorists and pedestrians.
bNsF recovered the locomotive and constructed a temporary
bypass track, expecting cleanup work to take at least a
month. The wagons were cut up on site.
floods Wash out kZn bridgEs
unseasonably heavy rains on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast
on 17 June caused severe flooding which washed away the
well-known screw-piled bridge over the izotsha river on the
coastal section of the former 610mm gauge Alfred County
railway. Only two spans remain on the south side. Popular
with photographers in the days when trains still ran, the
bridge was a proclaimed national monument. The boboyi
Oxford Road crater
river bridge, though covered by water at the height of the
“No damage occurred to either the TbM (tunnel boring storm, remained intact, Peter bagshawe reports.
machine) or the completed tunnel. The tunnel is totally
safe,” bombela civil engineering director Chris Andrew was
quoted saying in business Day. “During bombela’s routine
monitoring process, the TbM technical team noticed surplus
material coming through the machine, which is symptomatic
of a void being formed above the TbM.
A class NGG16 Garratt crossing the Izotsha River in
“upon investigation, they identified water seepage in the happier days. - Photo: Chris Janisch.
TbM chamber and a void above.” Oxford road was closed
as a precaution and some time later the surface caved in. tankCars in Canadian rivEr
A Canadian National (CN) freight train running beside
“Preliminary investigation carried out by bombela after the the Thompson river about 10km north of lytton in british
event suggests that water seepage from the utilities above Columbia was struck by a landslide following heavy rain on
the tunnel alignment led to a weakening of the soil being 1 July. Two tankcars ended up in the water.
excavated, causing ground loss directly above the TbM.
surrounding buildings are not at risk.” A CN crew secured the wagons to the river bank with cable,
bolts and anchors. They drove three hardwood plugs into
speaking at a press briefing, Gautrain management agency holes in the top of the valves to prevent water getting into
CeO Jack van der Merwe explained that the area affected the tanks and displacing the ethylene glycol payload. “ron
is not required for completion in time for the 2010 soccer Friesen, a woodworking hobbyist in nearby lillooet, had
World Cup. “The completion date of March 2011 remains spent Thursday evening turning the plugs on his home
Quick-drying cement was being used to fill the hole, The star runaWay sEason
reported. “A team member said there were water, sewage in a bizarre incident on 3 June, the last 13 wagons in
and gas pipes in the hole. The water and sewage pipes were a northbound burlington Northern santa Fe railway
damaged but the gas pipe was apparently intact.” (bNsF) freight train broke loose and ran away downgrade
southwards in the Arkansas Mammoth spring state Park.
Permission was subsequently given for boring to continue. Colliding with a second northbound further down the line,
18 wagons left the track in all, and two fell into a lake. The
mississippi sWalloWs 4 loCos driver of the second train suffered minor injuries. luckily no
When four locomotives hauling freight about 3km south of hazardous substances were on board – in fact, most of the
Guttenberg in north-east iowa struck a large boulder and derailed wagons were empty. us highway 63 was blocked
embankment slide early on 9 July, they derailed and fell into off by police for a short period and Mammoth spring state
the Mississippi river. Two employees of the iowa, Chicago &
eastern railroad were treated for minor injuries.
38 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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mishaps & blUnders
Park closed for the rest of the day. A hazardous material unfortunately, things were far from ordinary. it happened to
team dealt with nitrogen fertiliser pellets which spilled from be the second day of a strike at Golden Arrow bus services,
one of the two wagons that rolled into the lake. the metropolitan bus operator. Not only were there no trains,
there weren’t many buses. One happy taxi driver told a
Three days later, during shunting operations in a bNsF reporter: “Today i expect to make double my usual money”.
springfield, Missouri, marshalling yard, 31 wagons
broke loose, ran down the line and collided with a rake of
stationary vehicles. Fifteen of the runaways derailed, and
a similar number of the other wagons came off the line. A
leak developed in a tankcar carrying potassium hydroxide,
a chemical known to be a skin irritant though posing no
respiratory risks. in all, about 36,000 litres that poured into a
ditch required neutralising by emergency personnel.
A month previously, on 5 May, 13 wagons left the track south
of Mammoth spring under the us 63 highway bridge. local
schools were evacuated as a precaution because officials
believed a tankcar was carrying propane. it was discovered
later that the vehicle was empty.
Metrorail passengers: facing a long wait
sf light rail Collision
san Francisco’s light rail system does not often contribute surgE hits CapE toWn trains
to our list of mishaps. A recent rear-end collision which Metrorail suburban services south-east of bellville were
left 16 passengers hurt occurred in mid-June when a two- badly disrupted on 17 June when a substation supplying
car N-Judah route vehicle stopped at a traffic light and a traction power at Kuils river was damaged by a surge in
following T-Third single car ran into it. Twelve people were eskom voltage, according to press reports. signal circuits
taken to hospital for treatment. and automatic level crossing booms were also put out of
All morning peak hour trains to and from stellenbosch,
somerset West and the strand were grounded, affecting
many hundreds of commuters. Metrorail’s riana scott told
the Cape Argus that technicians had been working since
midnight to rectify the situation.
“harmoniC” roCking CausEd dErailmEnt
On 23 April, a 33-wagon grain train from lexington derailed
almost two kilometres north of Pontiac, about 30km north
Three light rail trains are visible on this undulating line in San Francisco.
of Detroit, Michigan. According to union Pacific spokesman
stump dErails four loCos Mark Davis, the cause was determined by a phenomenon
On 9 June, four locomotives and 16 out of 37 wagons of a known as “harmonic rocking”.
freight train carrying lumber, grain, and building materials
derailed in Westminster, Colorado, after colliding with a tree The motion and speed of a train can cause wagons to rock
stump; apparently purposely dragged onto the line. Officials back and forth, Davis explains. “in extreme cases, the wheels
of the burlington Northern santa Fe railway (bNsF) were will lift up off the track and cause the train to derail”.
offering a reward of $us10,000 for information leading to the
arrest of those responsible. spokesman steve Forsberg told CranE falls onto linE
the press at least two people would have been needed to One of a crew working on an interstate 80 railway overbridge
move the stump, which was wedged in a set of points. One near Adair about 80km west of Des Moines in iowa, lost his
of three crew members aboard was taken to hospital with life when a crane of which he was the operator overbalanced
minor injuries. onto the track. The crane, which was being used to move a
beam, toppled through a hole in the bridge deck.
extensive damage was caused, which was expected to take
between seven and 10 days to clear.
4 - 6 march 2009
lightning hits mEtrorail Cape Town
lightning – something seldom seen in the mother city –
knocked out a railway transformer at Woodstock, one station
away from Cape Town’s main terminal, on 20 May. Trains sWiss EXpErt for Ct CablEWay
on most lines were immobilised for three hours, according On 19 May, a swiss engineer was brought to Cape Town to
to Metrorail. assist in repairing a fault on the city’s cableway. The system
had been closed since 13 May, when a problem stranded 60
The impact was severe. Though the minister of transport is people in the two cabins in mid-air for 35 minutes.
regularly on about minibus-taxis carrying more than 60% of
south African commuters, and trains less than 20, the figures mosCoW undErground dErailmEnt
are very misleading - being the result of adding apples in one in late June, three coaches in an underground train derailed
centre to pears in another, and taking an average. in Cape in the tunnel between two stations in Moscow’s northern
Town, trains move around 50% of passengers from the CbD, suburbs, necessitating the evacuation of all passengers.
so a three-hour standstill would have been extremely bad One person was taken to hospital. A special commission is
news in the ordinary course of events. investigating the incident.
40 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
first gautrain sEt handEd ovEr
On 8 July, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima shilowa, accompanied by provincial executive
members including transport MeC ignatius Jacobs and financial MeC Paul Mashatile,
travelled on the first four-coach trainset built for Gautrain at bombardier’s manufacturing
facility in Derby, uK. Altogether 15 vehicles will be completed here, while the remaining
81 will go out to south Africa in the form of body shells and some major components,
for assembly at union Carriage and Wagon (uCW) in Nigel. The lightweight aluminium
bodies represent a first for south Africa.
They are from bombardier’s proved electrostar series, customised to meet south
African requirements. A team from uCW is in Derby to receive instruction at first hand.
Jacobs was quoted saying that the route between sandton and the airport is on track
to be completed by 2010, and it is hoped to have the line to Centurion open as well. it
is intended to use Gautrain’s dedicated fleet of 125 buses to convey passengers over
the unfinished sections of the route, “to ensure that soccer fans have speedy access to
World Cup venues and accommodation.”
42 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
gautrain progrEss: park emergency shaft
to rosEbank park station 4 (houghton):
excavation continues, and excavation to 14,3 metre depth
casting of the base slab is complete. Construction
at rail level was one third of the base slab, sump and
complete at the end of July. shaft lining continues and
Construction of the columns preparations for excavation
to support the concourse level of the connecting adit linking
slab above has commenced. the shaft to the main tunnel
Piling for the foundations of located below Oxford road
the parkade structure to be are in progress.
constructed above the station
is complete. excavation of the rosEbank station
rail tunnel towards emergency Construction of the first lift
shaft e2 in houghton was of the castellated perimeter
approximately 520 metres walls up to concourse slab
from the tunnel portal. level is almost complete and
Park Station casting of these walls above
EmErgEnCy shafts the concourse slab level
The rail tunnel between the Park and sandton stations has commenced. Construction of the concourse slab itself
is being provided with seven access shafts for use by continued. excavation of the last part of the northern cut &
emergency services personnel. some will have safe havens cover section was completed during June and 54 metres of
where passengers can gather in an emergency. the base slab for this section is complete.
emergency shaft 1 (hillbrow): excavation of the single-track rail tunnel by the Tunnel
The land required has now been expropriated and site boring Machine beneath Oxford road towards shaft e2 had
establishment is to begin shortly. reached more than 1,700 metres at the end of July – about
60% of its task.
emergency shaft 2 (the Wilds, houghton):
excavation has reached the 50m final depth. The adit tunnel excavation of the drill and blast single-track rail tunnel
linking the bottom of the shaft to the rail tunnel below is towards emergency shaft 5 had progressed 365m.
being excavated. From the intersection of the adit and
the rail tunnel, tunnels will be excavated in two directions
simultaneously, southwards towards Park station, and north
emergency shaft 3 (riviera):
Construction of the shaft collar and apron slab has been
completed as well as shaft excavation to its final depth of
www.railwaysafrica.com 3 | 2008 RAILWAYS AFRICA 43
rosEbank-sandton-marlboro earthworks, retaining walls and associated drainage
emergency shaft 5 (Dunkeld, rosebank): structures are in progress between the Marlboro Portal and
excavation for a safe haven chamber at the bottom of the the N3 crossing, substructure construction for the parking
shaft is finished. Tunnelling towards sandton station - the basement and concourse at Marlboro station is under way
only section being excavated from this shaft – reached a and platform wall construction is proceeding.
distance of approximately 763m.
Construction continues on a series of underpasses in the
emergency shaft 6 (illovo): section where the two pairs of railway lines cross below the
Construction will start in 2009, after the tunnel linking shaft 5 N3 highway alongside the Marlboro road bridge.
to sandton station has passed below it.
emergency shaft 7 (rivonia road, sandton): At Viaduct 2 over the Modderfontein spruit, side panel
This is located on the western side of rivonia road, installation, casting of deck slabs and erection of precast
opposite “The inandas”. site establishment and installation bridge parapets - which also serve as noise barriers – are
of dewatering wells is complete. The shaft collar has been all complete. Construction of the route between the N3
constructed and shaft excavation has commenced. crossing at Marlboro Drive and Gautrain’s Midrand depot is
Construction of the shafts and cavern for the underground Midrand Depot
station continue. excavation for the three-level parking The 24 trainsets will be maintained, serviced and stabled
basement is complete. Piling, foundations and column here. The adjacent bus depot will perform similar functions for
construction for this facility continue. Gautrain’s fleet of 150 buses. The administration buildings for
both depots are complete. The train maintenance workshops
excavation of the south shaft is complete. The staggered will be finished soon.
tunnel towards the south has progressed 68m and the main
cavern top heading to 77m, with 5m remaining to link this to Temporary facilities include a flash butt welding unit where
the north shaft (which will house the atrium entrance to the rails are welded into 216 metre long lengths. These will be
station), where excavation continues. transported on specially equipped wagons. Once placed in
position on concrete sleepers, they will be welded together
mushroom farm park to form a continuous rail.
The temporary shaft at Mushroom Farm Park is to provide
access for tunnel construction. Two parallel tunnels are Precast Yard
being excavated from here towards sandton, that for the The Precast Yard – a temporary facility at the depot - is
single track having penetrated 570m, and for the double- using twin concrete batching plants, overhead gantries and
track some 400m. tower cranes for manufacturing a variety of precast concrete
elements. These include viaduct segments, bridge beams
The double-track tunnel towards Marlboro Portal currently and parapets, tunnel walkway sections and noise barriers.
penetrates more than 1,1km.
The deck segments for Gautrain viaducts are erected
using massive, purpose-built, launching girders. These
are launched across the supporting piers to assemble the
excavation of the double track tunnel towards Mushroom
precast deck segments which are then bonded and stressed
Farm Park currently penetrates 2.34km from the portal where
together to form the deck spans. Minimal disruption is caused
the tunnel “daylights”, ie the end of the underground section
to existing infrastructure and road traffic.
of the route, and the final lining is being applied to the tunnel
walls. Construction of the floor slab to support the rail tracks
is in progress. Concrete walkways are being installed as well
The laying of stabling sidings at the depot is well advanced.
as a dividing wall to separate the two sets of tracks.
Once complete, main-line tracklaying is to proceed outwards
from the depot in both directions, using specialised, highly
marlboro station and n3 undErpass mechanised equipment.
Viaducts 1a and 11 cross the Jukskei river and east bank
road in Alexandra. The placing of deck segments for all
five spans of Viaduct 11 was completed before the end of
Good progress has been made with Viaduct 3 over
July. The launching girder was reassembled at the adjacent
Allandale road and Viaduct 4, which crosses over rietspruit
Viaduct 1a, where segment erection will begin shortly.
and Olifantsfontein road south. stripping of topsoil at
44 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
Midrand station has been completed and bulk earthworks run parallel. The Cilliers street bridge has been completed
and retaining wall construction activities are under way. and the road reopened to traffic.
Construction of a number of smaller road-over-rail bridges
in the area continues. At hatfield station, foundation piling for the parkade structure
is in progress and construction of the base for the retaining
CEnturion arEa wall along the adjacent Metrorail alignment diversion is
Viaduct 5, which is to carry the elevated alignment through continuing.
Centurion, extends over the John Vorster interchange
crossing the N1 in the south, continuing to the Jean Avenue marlboro-airport
interchange crossing the ben schoeman highway in the Viaduct deck segment erection for all ten spans of Viaduct
north. The sinking of deep foundation shafts for Viaduct 5 13 over Centenary Way in Modderfontein is complete. Pier
at both interchanges continues, construction of supporting construction continues at Viaduct 14 and deck spans utilising
piers is in progress and work on some in-situ deck sections launching girder T3 are being erected. This structure will
has commenced. span Zuurfontein road and the adjacent existing railway line.
several other bridges and culverts are being built along this
Within Centurion itself, foundation construction - comprising section.
excavation, preloading, grouting and piling - is under way at
most of the viaduct pier locations along the central section The platforms at rhodesfield station are to be elevated,
of Viaduct 5, including those which will support the elevated located approximately one-third of the way along Viaduct
platforms of Centurion station, and pier construction has 15, directly above the existing Metrorail lines approaching
commenced. This station will be situated on the northern Kempton Park. The station entrance, concourse and parking
side of West street close to Centurion lake. area will be positioned at ground level on the eastern side of
the existing railway. The piers supporting this section of the
salvokop and prEtoria viaduct are complete and erection of the deck spans using
Construction of an underpass to carry the Gautrain track launching girder T2, commenced during July. Three spans of
beneath the ben schoeman highway to the south of salvokop viaduct segments were in place by the end of the month.
continues. At Pretoria station, the existing staff parking area
has been vacated, utilities are being relocated and existing or tambo intErnational airport station
buildings are being demolished. Foundation piling and pile Viaduct 15, 1.5km in length, will carry the Gautrain double
cap construction is in progress at Viaduct 7 crossing Nelson track above the r21/r24 road network to the elevated Or
Mandela boulevard. Tambo international Airport station. The majority of piers
have been completed, and deck erection has begun.
between Gautrain’s Pretoria and hatfield stations, a number Construction of the external shell of the station concourse
of road bridges crossing the existing Metrorail railway are is almost complete. it is visible above the elevated drop-off
being lengthened, to accommodate the new tracks which will road, immediately adjacent to the new airport central terminal
building, currently under construction.
Author: Werna Maritz
R150 inclusive of postage and packing from
PO Box 3524, Jeffreys Bay 6330; email@example.com
Werna Maritz’s first book of south African train stories was a sell-out when published
last year. Far from exhausting the supply of tellable tales, it appears to have stimulated
railway memories everywhere; hence Ysterwiele 2 – home to another 150 or so enthralling
anecdotes (and more, apparently, keep flooding in).
english speakers hesitant about tackling a second language will miss a great read;
school-level “lower grade” Afrikaans is more than enough to grasp what is going on.
Characterful, colloquial railway language was inimitable, much of it untranslatable
without losing half the effect.
For that matter, there is more english in the second volume than in the first, including
several pieces of evocative poetry. english names, too, are plentiful among the
contributors – familiar ones like one-time Germiston fireman richard Niven (currently
driving high-speed expresses in scotland), Charlie lewis (co-author of The Great steam
Trek, etc), les Pivnic and Nathan berelowitz (less english-sounding than lewis, certainly,
but we don’t think they are Afrikaans)... And only an english-speaking fireman could
have addressed his driver as “Oom boep”, blissfully unaware that the nickname referred
unflatteringly to the profile of his colleague’s digestive anatomy.
The copious illustrations are largely self-explanatory, well-chosen to portray the different
classes of locomotive and diverse railway clobber mentioned in the text. Not to mention
bluntly instructive notices like “Please do not expectorate”, and “Don’t throw bottles”.
Werna, it seems, has barely tapped the tip of the iceberg. Volume 3 – can you believe
it – is due out before Christmas.
46 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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middle east Update
dubai starts mEtro tEsts
The new Dubai metro system, due to open for public service
in september 2009, is entering its testing mode. A preliminary
trial run over 1km of the red line was made on 12 May,
between Jebel Ali industrial area and Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Proper testing is to begin in september 2008 between Jebel
Ali and batuta. Technical tests under both automatic and
manual modes will evaluate sound, vibration and electro-
mechanical alignment, according to road and Transport
Authority (rTA) executive chairman Mater Al Tayer.
running on 750V DC, metro trains will be capable of 90km/h.
mEtro for kuWait
specifications for Kuwait’s proposed 165km, four-line metro
network are currently being finalised. line 1 - 23.7km, is to
have 19 stations; line 2 - 21km, 27 stations; line 3 - 24km,
15. The number of stations on line 4 - 22,7km has not been
Kuwait’s ambitious Metro network
each line is being tendered separately in terms of a public-
private partnership model and it is hoped to announce the
The five groups are:
successful bids within six months. it is intended to begin
• the saudi-Japanese consortium, including saudi
construction early in 2009, and to finish by 2014. The existing
Archirodon, Mitsubishi, hitachi and Veolia;
road system will be virtually unaffected and the need for
• the Al rajhi Alliance, led by Mada Group with
expropriation minimal as most of the system – about 65% - is
bouygues, Alstom, eurostar and China railway
to be elevated, with the rest underground.
• the saudi binladen Group, with Db AG, siemens,
Total cost is estimated at $us11.3 billion, with 24% funded
ircon and Yapi Merkezi;
by the state and 26% by the successful tenderers. The
• Ohl international with CAF, Thales and ADiF plus
remaining 50% will be raised through an iPO. Passenger use
other spanish constuction firms; and
is projected at 69,1 million per annum.
• A consortium comprising saudi Oger, el seif
engineering Contracting, italian national railway
At the same time, planning is proceeding on a national
Ferrovie dello stato, russian railways, Ansaldo
passenger and freight rail network comprising 505.3 km of
sTs company Ansaldo Trasporti sistemi Ferroviari,
double track electrified at 50kV AC. A 244.8km north-south line
Ansaldobreda and selex sistemi integrate.
is envisaged from the iraqi border to that with saudi Arabia,
and there is to be a 42.5km route to the airport. east-west
bidding is being managed by the saudi railways Organisation,
lines are to link economic centres within Kuwait. eventually
which is also overseeing tendering for the 945km east-west
these lines are seen as part of a proposed 2,000km railway
saudi landbridge route from riyadh to Jeddah - expected to
system in the Gulf, extending to the Arabian peninsula.
cost about $us5 billion.
korEan dmus for turkEy Jordanian rail dEal
Director-general süleyman Karaman of Torkiye Cumhuriyeti
According to an announcement by Jordanian Minister
Devlet Demiryollari (TCDD – the Turkish state railway)
of Transport Alaa batayneh, a 126km light rail line with 11
formally accepted the first of 12 diesel multiple-unit sets from
intermediate stations is to be built by a Kuwaiti-spanish
south Korean rolling stock manufacturer hyundai rotem in
consortium between Amman and the industrial city of Zarqa
seoul on 22 May 2008. Featuring air-conditioning, video,
at a cost of about $us333 million. The project is to go ahead
radio and internet access, and capable of 140km/h, the two-
on a build, Operate and Transfer (bOT) basis, with the line in
coach units are to be used on the routes Ankara-Kirikkale,
operation from 2011 and passing into government ownership
Adana-Mersin, Kütahya-eskisehir and Denizli-izmir. Funding
after 30 years. About 100,000 passengers are expected
was arranged with a loan from the european investment
[Our unidentified, internet-derived source mentioned
36-carriage trains, which sounds like one or two (or thirty)
too many. A correspondent suggests 30 six-car sets as being
4 - 6 march 2009 more likely. – editor]
iraQ railWay ClEan-up
railway repairs are under way at Camp Taji, iraq, four
Wagons for turkEy years since the last train ran at the outbreak of war. repair
railway Gazette international reports that Turkish logistics work includes clearing debris, track rehabilitation, points
concern reysas has purchased 20 wagons from sanito for overhaul and rerailing wagons. A crew of ten iraqis is being
€0.4 million. assisted by united states military personnel. staff sergeant
Gilbert Torress, was quoted saying: “After this they will load
saudi ConCEssion containers and test the tracks.”
Five consortia have submitted final bids for a 50-year build-
Operate-Transfer (bOT) concession to design, build and According to mobility chief for the 1st sustainment brigade
operate the new 444km saudi Western high-speed railway Major ira baldwin (from laurinburg, North Carolina): “The
linking Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah. six of the seven trains pulling in here will carry mostly containers and iraqi
groups that submitted prequalification bids in 2006 were Army materials bound for the maintenance facilities under
shortlisted in June 2007. the Taji National Depot”.
48 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
Transnet Rail Engineering
Specialists in maintenance, repair, upgrade,
conversion and manufacture of rolling stock,
components and rail support services.
Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Preservation is an essential part of the picture
- John batwell keeps up to date
umgEni stEam railWay sECond falCon baCk in stEam
protECts motivE poWEr sandstone Trust’s latest restoration project is the Falcon
After months of toiling 4-4-0 locomotive “lawley” NG6 no 97. This 610mm gauge
to replace the missing loco was scheduled to join sister “lawley” NG6 no 106 in
or stolen pipe work, the double-headed operations on the farm at the end of June.
locomotive department both locomotives began working on this continent on the
of this preservation beira-umtali (Mutare) line. locomotive no 97 of 1897 vintage
organisation has achieved was a static exhibit for many years at James hall Transport
the goal of getting class Museum in southern Johannesburg before being restored to
Umgeni Steam Railway, KwaZulu Natal, 3br no 1486 (1912 North working order at bloemfontein during 2007/8. Falcon no 106,
has returned its class 3BR locomotive to british loco Works) back to restored as beira railways (br) no 7, is of 1895 vintage.
service. steaming. in May no 1486
received its 36 months’ boiler certificate. The 3br loco is furorE ovEr loCo Cutting
now fitted (as is class 19D no 2685) with a char scourer to the Following on from the stop Press in the last edition, the
smoke box. This apparatus keeps the smoke box tube plate cutting up of steam locomotives and rolling stock – some
clear from residue char build-up that results in tube plate preservation gems amongst them - dumped near the coal
erosion if it becomes wet when a locomotive stands between stage at Millsite depot, Krugersdorp a few months ago
operational trips. The locomotives mentioned under this incurred a heated reaction at home and abroad.
preservation group’s banner in issue 2/2008 are, interests of
the North british Preservation Group, uK. Wooden motor coaches and two schwartzkopf-built class 23
4-8-2 locomotives were amongst the cut stock, unbeknown
narroW gaugE WintEr tour to either the heritage railway Association of south Africa
At a time when traditional photographic rail tours of south (hrAsA) or steam in Action (siA). in short, the events that
Africa are becoming rare, uK rail tour operator Geoff Cooke unfolded at this depot in May arose following a visit to the
brought a group of 24 enthusiasts to south Africa during adjoining Krugersdorp diesel depot by Transnet Freight rail’s
winter, visiting the Free state’s sandstone estates before CeO siyabonga Gama. Gama apparently requested that
moving on to Paton’s Country railway in KwaZulu Natal to the derelict area at the shed be cleaned up. And so things
witness class NGG11 no 55, umtwalume Valley estates (uVe) swung into action with scrap merchant reclam arriving and
no 2 built by Avonside and also Avonside no 2038. Then it setting about “cleaning up”, in so doing cutting up some
was on to the eastern Cape’s Apple express - the latter, alas, valuable items that were worthy of preservation, either
a diesel operation behind class 91 unit no 91-007. locally or abroad. steam in Action certainly lived up to its
title and, acting very smartly, got the cutting up programme
Many tour organisers imagine terminated by Transnet by the end of May. in so doing, a
that one day at sandstone will class GeA Garratt locomotive, no 4022, associated with the
suffice but with 22 operational south African royal Tour in 1947, was saved from the torch
locomotives to choose from, just in time.
a week might not be enough!
This group was made up of Transnet subsequently called for a Donation Agreement
narrow gauge enthusiasts with hrAsA to release locomotives at this depot to other
and sandstone laid on no preservation organisations.
less than seven locomotives
over two and a half days.
Umtwalume Valley Estates (UVE) no To cater for all tastes these
2 built by Avonside is seen working ranged from ex-sAr class
during May’s narrow gauge tour to NGG16 Garratts to ex-sena
South Africa. Photo: G.E. Cooke sugar estates (Mozambique)
industrial locos. With visitors
from Japan and europe, sandstone set up a photographic
feast. The locomotives featured over the tour were class
NGG16 no 113 and no 153, class NG15 no 17, class NG4 no
16, Falcon “lawley” br no 7, Peckett-built (ex-sena) no 14
and Feldbahn (ex-sena) no 2.
Two of Rovos Rail’s class 25NC locomotives head
The tour participants were overwhelmed by sandstone and for Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in April.
what it has achieved in narrow gauge preservation in a short
ten years. Apart from the variety of locomotives the visitors rovos tour suCCEssful ovErall
were fascinated by the different rolling stock, but it was the As reported in the last column, rovos rail’s nos 3442/3484
workshop facilities which impressed many. were used on a second successive steam tour to Zimbabwe.
The sight of class 25NC locos working through botswana was
still on the exciting narrow gauge front – sandstone Trust last witnessed over twenty years ago when Mafikeng depot
has acquired ‘Kalahari’ no 136 which emigrated in 1998 used its allocated 25NCs to haul traffic to and from rakhuna
to the club schinznacher baumschul bahn, “schbb”, (a siding, just inside botswana. With the tour train heading
railway based in a tree nursery in schinznach, switzerland). north on this route, it was “a first time” for such steam locos
Changed circumstances at the swiss club enabled the class to appear on NrZ’s Plumtree-bulawayo section. The tour,
NG15 to become available for purchase and this locomotive which saw the class 25NCs head as far as somabhula on the
has now returned to south Africa. Meanwhile, ex-Alfred harare main-line and then northwards to Victoria Falls, was
County railway modified, red-liveried, class NGG16A no 141 sadly marred with a collision at Matetsi. A platelayers’ trolley
is at sandstone having been rescued by a father and son came careering round the curve into Matetsi and, unable to
from the scrap lines in Port shepstone. stop, collided with the NrZ crew cabooses at the rear of the
rovos train resulting in two NrZ staff fatalities.
50 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3 | 2008 www.railwaysafrica.com
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end of the line
paulinE nEÉ louisE no 3407 WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Dear editor The trouble with multi-word titles
i read with great interest the article from the Marshalling Yard is initials that people distort,
section about the official naming of locomotives, reviewed inadvertently wrecking and bringing
by les Pivnic, dated 23 October 2007. i was particularly The best of intentions to nought.
interested in the class 25NC loco list of 1970 which Alec
Watson gave to les. it states that loco no 3407 was at that south African railways – the old s A r –
time named louise. since the official copy of the number A dab hand with all sorts of train
plate is proudly displayed in my dining room, allow me to Didn’t go down with the new kids in town;
bring you up to steam with the latest news of her. As s stands for steam, they maintained.
As you probably already know she They wanted a name whose meaning was clear
is a green engine and the cast And wouldn’t be easily forgotten
brass wing-type nameplate read The rest of the family ended in “net” -
“bethlehem”. she was renamed so spoornet was not ill begotten.
PAuliNe on 21 August in 1990
after my mother, the fashion at but new brooms sweep clean and they itch to rebrand,
that time being to name engines saying: three words are better than one.
after group general managers’ Though can they get far with a T F and r -
wives. A little while later she was indisputably back to square one?
photographed for a calendar.
Just last week i met a man named John (whose surname
escapes my memory) who now works for Friends of the rail.
he was able to tell me that no 3407 is now at Worcester. sadly drinks bannEd in london
due to our escalation of brass and copper theft she has been Newly elected lord Mayor of london boris Johnson has
stripped of all her glory including the nameplate. John and banned the consumption of alcohol on the city’s public
another member of Friends of the rail expressed the hope transport, with effect from 1 June. Anyone found drinking
that 3407, having been completely overhauled in 1990, and or carrying open alcohol containers on any of london’s
being such an unusual engine would be worthwhile restoring trains, buses, trams, underground lines or the Docklands
back to her former gracious state. Their wish is that she may light railway will be liable to be ejected.
be able to join the small fleet of engines at Friends of the rail
used on the weekly excursions. Transport unions are reportedly unhappy with the idea,
fearing that Transport for london (Tfl) staff might be
This story has so touched my heart that i am now the newest endangered.
member of Friends of the rail and will help out in any way
possible. i do so wish we could bring her back and restore gps blamEd for Crossing aCCidEnt
her once again. My mother who will be eighty in July would A resident of Oak lawn in the American state of
be so proud. Wisconsin blamed his on-board GPs navigational
system after a train rammed his car at the town’s 94th
- liesel hagen street level crossing. According to a Chicago-sun press
Ps The seven to eight year old children i teach are clueless report, the police responded to a 911 call reporting a
as to what a steam engine is. Please excuse the spelling car stuck on the track. When they arrived, they found an
errors as my Dad is no longer around to help. empty vehicle on the crossing, with the driver and his
female passenger standing nearby.
[liesel’s Dad was not only one-time group general manager
of railways. he went on to edit railways Africa, doing so with before the police officers could reach the car, a train
distinction until he died in 2005. – editor] appeared. They tried signalling to the driver but he
was unable to stop in time. The locomotive struck the
vehicle, “spinning it around and knocking down the
crossing gate, which in turn damaged the front end of
the police car.“
The motorist, 24, said he was following the instructions of
his GPs system and took a right turn onto the crossing,
but the car’s undercarriage became lodged on the rail.
train traffiC rEport, saturday, 16 august 2008
“Trains are running on time and according to schedule.
We apologize for the inconvenience caused.
- Metrorail (Western Cape) website.
Helmuth Hagen and the two Paulines in 1990.
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