Phillippa Dean Allen Duff Nerina Skuy
Bruno Martin Richard Grönstedt
EDITOR Dave van der Meulen Paul Roos
Rollo Dickson Dietmar Fiedel Peter Rogers
DESIGN & LAYOUT Eugene Armer
ADVERTISING John Batwell
Sue Klomp Malcolm Bates
ISSN 1029 - 2756
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Af filiated Associations & Societies
RAILWAYS | HARBOURS | MINING | INTERMODAL | COMMUTER
6 – 8 April 2011 EXPO CENTRE – JOHANNESBURG
BOOK YOUR STAND NOW!
The importance of efficient railways and harbours for our continent’s future dare not be underestimated.
As a supplier you need to be at the Railways and Harbours Exhibition - connect, meet and network.
For further information, rates and booking details contact Sue Klomp
Tel: +27 72 777 0092 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
W W W. R A I LWAY S A N D H A R B O U R S . C O M
“Taking the train is a remarkably but how exactly is this expected to exceptionally well received in digital
safe, civilised and enjoyable way to ﬁx something that is clearly going to format. So much so that, not only have
travel between cities in South Africa take inordinate time and huge sums we decided to make this successful,
…. perhaps South Africa’s best-kept of money?” popular, completely free service a
travel secret” – this according to “The permanent arrangement, but the print
Man in Seat 61”, a highly informative Whoever had the bright idea magazine is to be discontinued as
and widely respected world rail travel of separating passenger train from the current issue. Digital’s the
guide on the internet. management from freight, and up-to-the-minute means of doing
placing them under two separate things and the way of the future:
Well, that was yesterday. Today a box government departments, clearly environmentally friendly, cost-efﬁcient
on the site in bold red capitals warns failed to anticipate the complications - for both reader and publisher - and
prospective travellers: “IMPORTANT and pitfalls – no, make that circus - that with no carbon footprint. You can’t get
UPDATE: TOTAL SHAMBLES IN would ensue. Like one having to run more politically correct than that.
SOUTH AFRICA.” on the other’s lines (and pay for the
privilege) and making staff like engine The only real loser would seem to be
So what happened to those ﬁne words drivers non-interchangeable. (Instead the post ofﬁce. Sorry guys - to put it
pre-World Cup; the “legacy” of “world- of drivers swapping from an outgoing bluntly, you’ve priced yourselves out of
class” transport to be maintained, long passenger train to an incoming freight our business.
after the event? Barely three months to get them back to base, a road
down the line, with intercity train vehicle now has to be sent out to bring To all our readers - see you on line in
schedules in shreds, one has to ask: them back – or so we hear.) November!
since when are internal government-
department squabbles allowed to get According to Prasa’s annual report,
away with it? long-distance on-time performance
“has remained below 35% …. [and] has
The annual report of the Passenger resulted in a 23% drop in passengers.”
Rail Agency of S A (Prasa) uses very It tables a R1.3bn deﬁcit (up 30%) and Phillippa Dean
hard words about the management and has raised the CEO’s salary to R4m
ﬁnances at Transnet, which it blames for (up 28%). Nice work if you can get it,
its latest string of misfortunes. Transnet as the saying goes. And dare we add
has hit back indignantly. According – it wouldn’t happen under private
to spokesman Mboniso Sigonyela, enterprise.
Prasa’s claims are “very concerning as
they are not true and defamatory.” ******
Where on earth do we go next? The Railways Africa, complete
in-ﬁghting and name-calling show editions of which can be read at
no sign of ending. Prasa is asking for www.railwaysafrica.com - and have
a mediator to sort out the impasse, been for quite some time – has been
Export Coal 4
Tubular Track 6
Queensland Journey 8
Surtees Rail Poised for A Revolution in Rail Letter From
Grain Trains 12
Another 60 Years Innovation Australia
World: Pete the Pundit 14 > Page 2 > Page 6 > Page 8
Industry Comment 16
Africa Update 18
SA Rail News 24
Mishaps & Blunders 30
Railway Heritage 34
End of the Line 36 CFL Only Open in S Meyl Services New Zealand
2011 Shredded Earthquake
> Page 18 > Page 28 > Page 31
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 1
Surtees Rail Poised for Another 60 Years
Q & A with Surtees’ Tony Woods
Surtees’ Tony Woods It is ﬁtting - 2010 being a signiﬁcant year in the history of
railways in South Africa - to train the spotlight on the Surtees Rail
Group (SRG). This stalwart of the country’s rail industry celebrates
60 years in business in South Africa, this year.
Railways Africa spent time with Surtees director Tony Woods
at the company’s Heriotdale headquarters on the outskirts of
RA: HOW DO YOU VIEW BUSINESS PROSPECTS, POST 2010? we have one of the ﬁnest training facilities for train drivers
SRG: Our company is cautiously optimistic of growth in the in the country. With three accredited trainers testing and
short to mid-term. Though we felt the effects of the economic validating new drivers, we can hardly keep up with demand.
downturn like everyone else, we were fortunate in that we There is certainly enough knowledge and skill to go
have an established client base; mainly blue-chips in the round; we simply need a concerted effort to prioritise and
mining sector, who rely on us for all their railway needs. encourage skills transfer.
Also, demand for our diverse range of rail equipment and
services has grown steadily of late. We have worked hard RA: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BLACK ECONOMIC
over the years to achieve and maintain our reputation as EMPOWERMENT (BEE)?
a dependable supplier of parts and products, for various
OEMs. SRG: BEE is a fact of life in South Africa and we comply
fully. Naturally, improving one’s BEE status entails - to a
RA: SURTEES HAS INDICATED INTEREST IN THE PROPOSED large degree - ﬁnding suitable partners in various areas
CONCESSIONING OF BRANCH LINES. CAN YOU of your business, and one cannot always speak out about
ELABORATE? them before the fact. We continue to explore empowerment
SRG: We are very interested, and are currently investigating opportunities.
and weighing up options. Already, as things stand, we
carry out the entire rail function on certain stretches of line, RA: SURTEES IS THE OFFICIAL AGENT FOR MANY WELL-
for a number of clients. From our perspective, strategic KNOWN NAMES IN RAIL PRODUCTS. CAN YOU GIVE
partnerships could very well be the key to unlocking win- SOME EXAMPLES?
win scenarios for running branch lines. Surtees has the SRG: To start with, we are the Southern African agents for the
wherewithal, for example, to partner a logistics supplier popular Trackmobile bi-modial rail shunting units; also for
meaningfully, but much would depend on speciﬁc PENN machine driving gears and pinions, a Transnet Freight
requirements in each case. Rail approved product. In addition, we have the agency for
Whiting portable electric screw-jacks, widely regarded as
RA: ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL ABOUT THE LEVEL OF world-leaders.
SKILLS IN THIS COUNTRY?
SRG: Well, yes and no. The country has lost a signiﬁcant RA: WHAT ABOUT BUSINESS IN THE REST OF AFRICA?
amount of expertise and experience due to various factors, SRG: We regard developments in sub-Saharan Africa as
but it’s not as if we’ve suddenly all become incompetent. At truly exciting. As you probably know, we were awarded a
Surtees we place a high premium on training. For example, contract, along with Transnet Rail Engineering, to refurbish
2 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
wagons and locomotives for TransNamib in Namibia. This
includes extensive work on ten locomotives – including
some that have been severely damaged – and we are
pleased to say we are well ahead of schedule. In the rest of
Africa, we interact continuously with various companies in a
long list of countries, among them Mozambique, Tanzania,
Congo-Brazzaville,Cameroon and the DRC. We sell and
lease locomotives and related equipment to clients
everywhere and our artisans, technicians and sales
executives undertake regular visits. We foresee steady
growth and expansion in this area.
RA: TELL US MORE ABOUT THE SURTEES GROUP AND ITS
SRG: Well, it all began as a family business, with Arthur
Surtees and his son Colin in 1950. Surtees Railway Supplies
(SRS), as the company was later called, started out by
manufacturing, stocking and supplying steam locomotive
and hopper equipment and parts for the industrial railway
industry in Southern Africa.
With the introduction of diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric
locomotives about a decade later, SRS began to import,
manufacture and stock equipment and parts for these units.
By the 1990s, SRS had increased its warehouse space
substantially and added a second workshop, enabling it to
offer specialised manufacturing, reconditioning and repair
facilities for all types of rolling stock.
Today the Surtees Rail Group of Companies consists of SRS,
Surtees Engineering and African Rail and Traction Services.
RA: ARE YOU INVOLVED IN THE PASSENGER SIDE OF RAIL
SRG: Yes indeed: we are a registered supplier to the
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), and provide
a range of important products such as wheelsets.
RA: MUCH HAS BEEN SAID RECENTLY ABOUT RAIL’S
SHORTCOMINGS IN HANDLING FREIGHT. WHAT IS YOUR
TAKE ON THIS?
SRG: In the next few years, as we see it, the performance of
Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is going to be absolutely critical.
We will gladly support them in any way we can, and I’m sure I
speak for most of the major role-players in our industry. All of
us need to encourage and support TFR in working towards
the optimisation of freight movement on our railways.
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3
COAL LINE AT THE CROSSROADS
Quick, critical decisions are needed from South Africa’s TFR acting chief executive
railway authorities – and they are needed in the very Tau Morwe said this
near future. Inexplicable hesitancy and unwarranted achievement came about
indecisiveness are losing the country vast sums every day. as a result of collaborative
With countries like China currently buying as much coal as effort and focus by all
they can lay their hands on, imagine the frustration felt by stakeholders involved. This
Mpumalanga mining companies dependent on the railway contributed to improved
to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). This impressive train turn around times
facility has been successfully upgraded to a capacity of 91 (TAT), infrastructure
million tons a year (mta), yet the rail line’s annual haulage is reliability, safety and
barely managing 65 to 70mta. security, amongst others.
According to Ernst Venter, executive general manager Transnet’s plan to invest
(business growth) of Exxaro, South Africa’s second largest R6 billion on the Richards
coal producer, his company could potentially improve its Bay coal line over the next
revenue by R600 million per annum – together with a hefty ﬁve years will increase
proportional tax contribution - for every million tons of the carrying capacity Ernst Venter, Exxaro executive general
additional capacity on the railway. (theoretically) to 81mt by manager (business growth).
2015. Group acting CE
To its credit, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is pushing hard to Chris Wells does not foresee the parastatal being able to
improve its performance and the results are starting to show. afford any greater outlay. Hence, some form of private sector
For example, transport of domestic coal from Mpumalanga participation is urgently needed to lift the capacity closer to
mines to Eskom’s Majuba Power Station in Standerton has that of RBCT to ship the coal to an eager market.
grown by 36% from last year’s throughput of 5.8mt.
The coal mining companies, naturally, are more than ready to
The Majuba project has seen a consistent weekly average lend a hand. “We have already made a proposal to Transnet
performance of 155,000 tons in recent weeks, which indicating that we are willing to invest in rolling stock to boost
culminated in an all-time record of 170,000 tons in week 28. the coal line to the RBCT,” Venter says. Moreover, a coalition
This project is an important initiative in power generation by of mining groups is keen to participate in a public/private
Eskom for the whole country. partnership (PPP) with Transnet – it’s very deﬁnitely on the
agenda, he conﬁrms.
4 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Similar deals involving coal miners and government-owned A potential spanner-in-the-works appears to be the stance
railways have worked well in countries like Australia. The only of trade unions. Cosatu has all but declared war at any hint
difference is that the Australians have fewer but larger users, of privatisation. The South African Transport and Allied
making it easier to jointly manage a privately-owned rail and Workers’ Union (Satawu) threatened mass action recently,
port system. South Africa has in excess of 20 companies in opposition to Transnet’s plan of offering concessions on
using the coal line to Richards Bay. branch lines, many of which are out of use anyway. On top
of that ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has been
Exxaro believes a hybrid partnership of a consortium of calling for nationalisation of the mines.
mining groups and Transnet could work, Venter tells Railways
Africa: “Considering how well the privately-owned coal At a time when expansion and growth should be South Africa’s
terminal at Richards Bay is performing, perhaps we should top priority, especially in the light of high unemployment and
consider a rail model along similar lines. We believe the coal many other economic and social ailments, strong leadership
line could be owned by a PPP vehicle and that coal-exporting is called for, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The country
participants should be allowed to introduce privately-owned cannot afford the dubious luxury of dithering when it comes
rolling stock to the system.” to earning – or losing – valuable foreign currency.
He suggests an independent system operator could be In the case of the coal line to Richards Bay, a good recipe
created to ensure competent ﬂow management, aligned with and all the required ingredients are ready and waiting on
best practice principles. the table. It is high time that government - which stands to
gain millions in tax money from increased mining revenue -
Asked if conventional privatisation and the effect of real should take the lead and hammer out a mutually beneﬁcial
market forces would not be the best way to solve freight agreement.
movement problems in South Africa, Venter points out that
in practical terms it is not as simple as this: “A mechanism This dilemma has gone on far too long. Is there nobody out
needs to be created that will provide fair access to the there with enough nous to close the deal, clear the way for
system for the smaller and bigger players, without some the mines to optimise earnings, and measurably beneﬁt the
getting preferential treatment. We believe a well-structured whole country?
PPP is the best way to go.”
WITBANK Assegaai River
Class 7E1 (25kV AC) locos heading 200-wagon coal train across the
57m high Umfolozi viaduct.
White Umfolozi River Emakawezini
Transnet Freight Rail’s heavy-haul coal line. INDIAN OCEAN
The Richards Bay coal terminal.
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 5
Tubular Track: Revolution in Rail Innovation
Tubular track in Namibia
Tubular Modular Track (TMT) - railway track with a difference Conventional tracklaying is considered a “one channel of
- is patented as a ballastless system having rails continuously supply” construction where the critical path is the handling
supported on twin reinforced concrete beams laid on a of material and equipment through a single supply line daily.
specially designed formation. The beams are spaced apart TMT can be installed at many points simultaneously.
with galvanised steel tie-bars, the ends of which encircle the
beams, and are therefore not cast into the concrete. SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF USING TUBULAR MODULAR TRACK:
• TMT enables installation to be carried out at various
With pre-manufacturing, this track system is made up of points along the line, thereby permitting accelerated
twin reinforced concrete beams, linked with steel gauge- installation programmes. Logistically, TMT is such that
bars, on which rails are continuously supported. materials can be delivered to any point at any one time.
TMT does not need to rely on completed sections of the
Tubular Track (Pty) Ltd has installed hundreds of kilometres line being in place before bringing in materials for
in mines as well as at coal-loading and other sidings. The installation.
system has also provided a welcome solution for Metrorail • TMT, being pre-cast in modular sections, simpliﬁes
passenger platforms, where consistent rail-to-platform height installation.
has been achieved. • TMT design reduces rail stresses, formation costs,
construction time and life-cycle costs.
To insulate the system from shock when trains pass, rubber- • Sand (in desert environments) does not affect the
bonded cork pads are placed continuously between the rails performance of TMT.
and beams. This innovative system replaces conventional
track laid on sleepers and stone ballast, signiﬁcantly reducing Extensive testing of TMT by independent experts has shown
the cost of maintenance. that rail stresses are reduced by up to 75% compared with
conventional ballasted track. This is due to the rails being
The system is fully engineered, tested and quality-assured, continuously supported by the concrete beams.
and comprehensive warranties are offered, dependent on
correct installation and maintenance procedures being Signiﬁcant savings are to be realised in the earthworks
followed. component as the formation width is narrower, offering up
to 40% savings in construction costs. Formation design
The reinforced concrete beams and the formation are essentially follows the guidelines of Transnet’s S410
designed by prominent consulting engineers to form an speciﬁcation with the exception that the formation width is
integral system. Site-speciﬁc designs are prepared to suit reduced to 3m for single track at a gauge of 1,067mm.
clients’ needs in respect of varying axle loads, operational
speeds and annual tonnages, and are optimised to accord TMT was ﬁrst offered to the South African mining industry
with prevailing geotechnical conditions. In 1989, and the ﬁrst underground installation was carried
out at the President Brand Mine. Since then, some 600km
Track and turnouts are designed and manufactured in of tubular track has been installed on properties in the
precast modular sections, with lengths to suit varying mining industry.
applications and handling constraints. Applications include
main lines, marshalling yards, ports, urban light rail, tunnels, The ﬁrst South African and International patents were
track alongside passenger platforms, level crossings, and also registered in 1989. The ﬁrst surface track for freight
lines in underground mines and at bulk loading sites. trafﬁc was laid at the Consul Glass company in Wadeville
6 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
in 1990. This has been followed by many successful “Ultimately, TMT offers many areas of savings, in particular,
applications, particularly in South Africa, but also in the formation construction, rails and maintenance”, says Tubular
USA and Canada. Some of the surface installations carry Track (Pty) Ltd contracts director Craig Tengstrom.
more than 2.5 million gross tons per annum, with axle
loads of up to 32 tons. “Had TMT been in existence 150 years ago, it may well have
been the ﬁrst choice of the world’s railway engineers.”
In 1993/94, Transnet Freight Rail’s world-class Track Testing
Centre was commissioned to carry out comprehensive
practical testing, to validate early theoretical work done by
Ove Arup Inc. At the same time, a control test was carried
out on an equivalent length of conventional track. These
tests validated the design procedure, and demonstrated
very clearly the dramatically reduced stress levels and
deﬂections in TMT when compared with ballasted track.
Further conﬁrmation was obtained from in-track tests, and
on this basis Transnet Freight Rail approved the system for
use in yards and sidings.
In 1995, Transnet Freight Rail approved the installation of
a test section adjacent to a passenger platform at
Braamfontein Station in Johannesburg. This is one of the
busiest commuter stations in the country, with freight and
main-line passenger trafﬁc also passing through. This TMT
installation carries in excess of 15 million tons per annum.
The successful development of TMT turnouts followed.
These have been provided at sidings on the coal export
line and at the Richards Bay Coal terminal, carrying axle
loads up to 32 tons. Again, excellent geometric stability and New platform specification - Platform and coach floor on the same level.
reduced maintenance have been achieved. Signiﬁcantly,
these turnouts were constructed with 48kg/m rail and have
carried in excess of 30 million tons.
During 2003, precast modules designed for main-line
(22 ton axle-load) conditions were tested successfully at
the Transnet Freight Rail Track Testing Centre in
Johannesburg. A report on the tests has been prepared
by Africon Engineering International and Transnet Freight
Rail. After simulating a ﬁve-year main-line usage period,
settlement in the system of about 1mm was measured, with
absolutely no damage to the precast modules or the grout
underlying the modules. In-track testing subsequently took
place on a section of the Sishen-Saldanha Ore Line in an
area noted for ground clay. Altogether a million tons of ore
is conveyed over this route every month. To date about
25 million tons have passed over the TMT portion, which
has required no maintenance.
More recently Tubular Track (Pty) Ltd has been contracted
to lay sections of line for Bombardier, a member of the
Bombela consortium which is building the Gautrain
system. The company is also involved in a joint venture Tubular track at a Metrorail station.
with Central Mining Company Investment Limited (CMCI),
named T-Track Saudi. Tubular Track Saudi Arabia in
conjunction with the local railway authority recently
installed a 900 metre section of TMT on the main-line
between Harad and Al Tawdihiyah in the Eastern Province.
This line carries mainly containerised freight between
Dammam and the capital, Riyadh.
In Namibia, the Department of Transport and consulting
engineers Kleber & Associates have shown their faith in
TMT technology by specifying it for the ﬁrst 25km of the
railway reconstruction between Aus and Luderitz in the
south of the country.
Maintenance is a very costly component in the life-cycle of
any track system. Over time, extensive capital expenditure
in plant and resources is required to maintain ballasted
track, the bulk of the expenditure going into ballast cleaning
and replacement, and tamping. TMT, being ballastless,
requires minimal maintenance below the rails, and
maintenance is not plant-intensive. Expected savings on
maintenance can be up to 60% compared with ballasted
track. Tubular Modular Turnout at Ermelo -After 360 MGT - Rail Grinding only done once.
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 7
Letter From Australia
Swiss by birth, Bruno Martin worked and resided in South Africa for many years. Today he lives in
Queensland, whose 1,067mm gauge railways provide instructive comparisons with those in South
Africa. This is Bruno’s account of a recent journey on the Sunlander - from Brisbane to Cairns.
Retirement gives increased opportunities to travel and with Darwin
QUEENSLAND RAIL NETWORK
generous fare concessions available, there is no better way QUEENSLAND
to see more of Australia than taking a long-distance train. Perth
ber Sunlander / Queenslander (1681km)
While the Indian Paciﬁc and the Ghan are among the best-
Adel e Tilt Train
known trans-continental journeys, Queensland Rail (QR) Melb
Brisbane - Cairns (1681km)
operates Australia’s largest network of intra-state long- Brisbane - Rockhampton (622km)
distance passenger trains marketed under the Traveltrain Spirit of the Outback (1325km)
brand-name. The choice of accommodation ranges from The Inlander (977km)
the luxurious Queenslander class for the discerning; 1st class The Westlander (777km)
for a bit of luxury without the lavish price tag, and economy Tourist trains
class sleepers and sitters for the budget-conscious. Kuranda Scenic Railway (34km)
Australia’s only Tilt Trains, which set an Australian rail speed Kuranda Gulflander (152km)
record of 210km/h in 1998, represent the most modern Croydon Innisfail Savannahlander (423km)
additions although their operational speed is limited to a Other passenger lines
maximum 160km/h. Forsyth
QR operates 8,575km of 1,067mm gauge track, of which Mount Isa Cloncurry Bowen
1,970km is electriﬁed at 25kV AC. Charters
Our journey on the Sunlander began at Roma Street Transit Q U EWintonN S L A N D
Centre in Brisbane, where all northbound long-distance Clermont
services depart from platform 10. After depositing our Barcaldine
luggage in our allocated berth 7 in Car B, I had an hour Emerald
before departure at 13:30 to have a look at the train. Diesel- Blackall Springsure
electrics 2320 & 1739 were followed by a baggage car, a Yaraka
staff car, then dining, lounge and sleeper for the upmarket Bundaberg
Queenslander class, followed by six ﬁrst-class sleepers, Charleville Mundubbera Maryborough
two economy class sleepers, dining car, club car, three Quilpie Miles Gympie
economy class sitters, power car and a motorail carrier with Dalby
three cars - 20 vehicles in total. My impression was that the Cunnamulla Toowoomba BRISBANE
occupancy rate for ﬁrst and economy class sleepers and Dirranbandi
Goondiwindi Gold Coast
sitter cars was near to full. There would have been up to 14 Stanthorpe
passengers in the Queenslander class sleeper. MAP GRAPHIC PRODUCED BY BRUNO MARTIN - 2010
The “lander” trains were introduced in 1952. Altogether FAST FACTS ABOUT QR’S TRAVELTRAIN SERVICES:
49 coaches were built, making up eight air-conditioned
trainsets. Due to lightly-laid track on the western routes, axle ■ The Sunlander, Brisbane-Cairns, 1,681km, 31 hours,
loads were restricted to 9¼ tons. With regular maintenance three times weekly in each direction. Premium
and refurbishing, many coaches have provided nearly 60 Queenslander class cars are attached twice weekly.
years’ good service. The Queenslander was launched as
QR’s ﬂagship luxury train in 1992 on a once weekly return ■ Tilt Train, Brisbane-Cairns, 1,681km, 23 hours 55
trip from Brisbane to Cairns. But with the introduction of the min, twice weekly in each direction.
diesel Tilt Trains on the same route in 2003, the Queenslander ■ Tilt Train, Brisbane-Rockhampton, 622km, 7 hours
and Sunlander were combined into one train. For an all- 25 min, daily in each direction.
inclusive fare of A$784, Queenslander class passengers
■ Spirit of the Outback, Brisbane-Longreach, 1,325km,
enjoy ﬁne dining in an exclusive restaurant car, entertainment
in the lounge car, and dedicated staff who pamper their 24 hours, twice weekly.
guests with a “host of special touches” in keeping with the ■ The Westlander, Brisbane-Charleville, 777km, 17
ambience of a ﬁve-star hotel on wheels. The Queenslander hours, twice weekly in each direction.
class was voted as one of the World’s Top 25 Rail ■ The Inlander, Townsville-Mount Isa, 977km, 20
Journeys by the US-based Society of International Railway
Travellers in 2007 and 2008. In South Africa, Rovos Rail’s hours, twice weekly in each direction.
Pride of Africa features on the same roll of honour.
The ﬁrst class “twinette” berth has comfortable day seating
which converts to two fold-down beds, one lower and one ■ Kuranda Scenic Railway, Cairns-Kuranda, 34km, 1
upper. Bedding, pillows and bath towels are included in
the fare. First-class accommodation also caters for single hour 45 minutes, twice daily in each direction.
passengers travelling on their own and includes a coach ■ The Gulﬂander, Normanton-Croydon, 152km,
with 14 “Roomettes”. Passengers in economy class have 4 hours, once weekly return journey. Operates
to bring their own bedding, pillows and towels. Each coach seasonally.
has two toilets similar to the retention type used on aircraft, ■ The Savannahlander tourist train, operated by
and a shower cubicle with hot and cold water (soap and
shampoo provided). Cairns-Kuranda Steam Railway, Cairns-Forsyth,
423km, once weekly return journey, service
Departure was right on time, the train immediately entering operates only between early March and mid
a tunnel beneath the city to the cavernous Central Station. December, 4-day excursion.
Another tunnel – under Fortitude Valley - was followed by a
8 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
sedate ride through the suburban stations of north Brisbane After a brief stop at Innisfail, Queensland’s highest peak,
until our ﬁrst stop at Caboolture. Mount Bartle Frere (1,622m) comes into view. There are
numerous stretches of slow running, particularly north of
North of Caboolture we noted the most recent new Townsville and it is not surprising that it takes 7 hours to
construction in an on-going process of track improvements. cover the 340km to Cairns; the last 87km from Innisfail to
The most prominent features along this section are the Cairns alone takes 1hr 45minutes.
Glass House Mountains, the remnants of volcanic plugs, so
named by Captain Cook in 1770 because they reminded him Here, in tropical North Queensland the use of narrow
of the glass kilns of his home town in Yorkshire. gauge (610mm) railways for cane haulage is very much in
evidence. Six sugar mills operate around 1.000km of track
We headed for the Club Car where drinks and light snacks with cane trains carrying very heavy loads, controlled by
are available at a service counter. The train picked up sophisticated operating systems. It is not unusual to see
speed along another realigned section of track through the a cane railway crossing the QR main-line on a diamond
Blackall Ranges, then slowed again around a circuitous crossing. It is of interest that this northern section of the
piece of the original alignment and back onto a newer main-line was the last to be linked in the piecemeal process
section as we approached Gympie North - 174km from of joining together Queensland’s nine separate rail systems.
Brisbane - our next stop at 16:55. By the time we reached This was ﬁnally achieved in 1924, marking completion of
Maryborough West at 18:18. daylight had faded, and with the “North Coast Line” connecting Brisbane with Cairns –a
an announcement on the intercom that dinner was being misnomer, really, seeing the line actually follows the east
served, we made our way to the diner, not forgetting to place coast of Queensland.
the “please turn the bed down” sign on our compartment
door. Speed ranged from a snail’s pace at times to some brisk
running at an estimated 80km/h in places, perhaps even
The menu offered a choice of meat, ﬁsh or vegetarian dishes 100km/h, but generally it was a smooth ride. The train ran
at very reasonable prices, all freshly prepared in the conﬁnes to schedule and arrived around 10 minutes early in Cairns
of the galley. Snacks or light meals - or just a cold beer – at 19:05.
could be had in the Club Car until 21:30.
After retiring to bed, it took a while to become accustomed
to the motion but I did fall asleep, so missing seeing the
train run down the middle of Denison Street in Rockhampton
at midnight. This arrangement dates from 1899 when two
separate railway systems were joined together with the
construction of the Fitzroy River bridge. To save the cost
of expensive property acquisition, the track was laid in the
town’s main street.
Although the 622km stretch from Brisbane to Rockhampton
is under 25kV wires, diesel-electric locomotives power the
train all the way to Cairns. When electriﬁcation came in
1989, the 39 class electric units were initially allocated
to perform this duty, but were gradually withdrawn during
Diamond crossing: QR main-line and cane track.
2003, rebuilt and are now assigned to hauling coal trains.
Daybreak brought us to Mackay, 964km from Brisbane, with
departure at 06:00. We now entered sugar-cane country
with cane ﬁelds on both sides of the track, as well as
orchards growing tropical fruits: mangos, paw-paws and
avocados. In many ways it was reminiscent of travelling on
the old SAR, and even uncanny, for a voice in unmistakeable
South African English announced breakfast over the
intercom at 7:00.
There were brief stops for passengers at several small-
town stations - this is by no means an express service.
Between Home Hill and Ayr the line crosses the mighty
Burdekin River on an 1,100 metre bridge, the longest on
the route. In Townsville, 1,341km from Brisbane, the train
stopped for 30 minutes during which both dining cars were
restocked. At 12:15 the journey continued and once past Townsville Station.
Ingham the line enters the stunningly beautiful region of
world-heritage-listed Wet Tropics rainforest.
Sunlander at Cairns.
10 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
SPECIALIST CASTINGS FOR
THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY
Fabform Graphics cc (011) 622-9917
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 11 842-9303 • Fax: +27 11 842-9710 SCAW METALS
AGRICULTURE AND THE RAILWAY
However, most of the lines require investment in
infrastructure and rolling stock before being able to offer
efﬁcient, let alone ﬂexible services. But it is the only way
forward. If professional logistics operators cannot ﬁnd
efﬁciencies through aligning their existing road-based
services with those lines currently supporting agricultural
products, then the future for rail in the sector is not good,’
Photo: Paul Ash in the Sunday Times.
Grain train at Houwhoek, 100km east of Cape Town, behind four class 35 diesels.
“The strongest remaining rail businesses in the agricultural sector are grain in the
Western Cape’s Overberg region and also timber in KwaZulu Natal.” – Andrew Marsay.
Photo: Peter Rogers.
Transport economics specialist Andrew Marsay, quoted by
I-Net Bridge, says the background to the use of rail in SA
agriculture goes back to the 1913 South African Railways
& Harbours Act (SAR&H). It set out a twofold mandate for
the railway: to operate proﬁtably, and to open up the
country for mining, agriculture and manufacturing. “SAR&H
set about the task with vigour,” Marsay says, “and much of According to I-Net Bridge, quoting South Africa’s grain silo
the rail network as we know it today - other than the main industry (GSI) managing director Dr Anton Dubbe, “the silos
intercity routes - was built during the next 10 years. The were built to receive grain by road and dispatch it by rail.
company succeeded in both elements of its mandate, In the early nineties more than 85% of all grain was
though sometimes going to government for additional dispatched from silos to the industry by rail. The present
funding if it felt that a good economic case existed for ratio is lower than 30%, Dubbe says: ‘This means higher
opening up a new area, even though revenues could not transport costs to the grain value chain, more road trucks
fund the required investment.” on the national roads, more trucks on silo sites and capital
outlays by silo owners to adopt silos to out-load by road’.
“In this way,” I-Net Bridge explains, “the grainlands of the
Free State, Transvaal and Western Cape, the fruit industry “Also, the grain industry has lost the rail capacity to
of the Western Cape, and the Natal and eastern Transvaal dispatch high volumes to export harbours, if opportunities
timber industries were successfully developed. But from to export arise. ‘At least 10 million tons of grains are used
the early 1920s onwards, a new transport technology locally, implying that a substantial sustained business
emerged, threatening what railways had so effectively done opportunity to transport grain by Transnet Freight Rail
to the ox-wagon, namely displace it with a more effective (TFR) is lost,” Dubbe says. But while acknowledging
mode of transport capable of yielding far wider beneﬁts attempts by TFR to improve the grain business, ‘real inputs’
even though at higher immediate cost. are needed to better the capacity, capability, infrastructure
- lines and rolling stock - and the will to service the grain
“Protective measures were then put in place to protect the industry. ‘Establishing a Grain Desk to co-ordinate and
rail market, especially in the agricultural sector. For 60 years, focus on grain transport by rail might contribute to a better
from the mid 20s to the mid 1980s, rail enjoyed a privileged turnaround in this regard,’ he says.
position in which road transport was excluded from much
of the business that it could otherwise have undertaken
proﬁtably, he said.
“When the transport sector in South Africa was partially
deregulated in the mid-1980s, the consequence was a huge
drop in rail freight and a competitive advance in the role of
road transport including the agricultural sector. ‘Even bulk
materials such as grain have been substantially taken over
by road transport.’
“Asked about the future of rail transport in the agricultural
sector, Marsay says the railway needs to bring in supply
chain expertise and not operating expertise if it hopes to
retain - let alone win - new business. ‘Transnet appears
to be aware of this and is currently in the process of
concessioning some branch lines - the very ones that serve
the agricultural sector,’ he says. ‘Hopefully private sector
logistics companies, who understand the importance of
service quality above price, may be able to make some of
these lines work better than Transnet can.
Silos at Caledon, 140km east of Cape Town. Photo: Peter Rogers.
12 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
PETE THE PUNDIT’S
BRIEF WORLD WRAP-UP
FUNDING A REVIVED RAIL LINE DRASTIC MEASURES IN GREECE
People involved with rail heritage in South Africa may ﬁnd Organismos Sidirodromon Ellados (OBE - the Hellenic
this story instructive: Railways Organisation, ie the Greek state railway) is a
major liability that provides sub-standard service, says
Campaigners for the restoring of the 19km Colne Prime Minister George Papandreou. OBE currently owes
(Lancashire) to Skipton (Yorkshire) line, taken up in 1970, some €10.7 billion in debts. Transport minister Dimitris
have run a series of special trains to prove the route is Reppas has announced drastic restructuring that will see
viable. The British government’s attitude is interesting: A employee bonuses and overtime pay slashed. Loss-making
Network Rail spokesman said: “We are broadly supportive rail services are to be shut down and a 49% stake in rail
of the project but we are not funded to deliver it so the operator TrainOSE is to be sold. Unions have already held
scheme does not ﬁgure in our current plans. Should third protest strikes against a planned cut in employee strength
party funds become available we would be happy to work from 6,300 to 3,800. Passenger services are to be opened
with the funders on progressing the scheme.” up to private competition.
The Skipton, East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership LIRR SERVICE CUTS
(Selrap) has been identifying alternative funding sources, Some of the most drastic service cuts in the 176-year
such as a proposed regional growth fund, described as “a history of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) into Manhattan
£1bn pot of government money which will allow groups to were scheduled from 13 September. Weekend service
bid for money for plans which increase investment, jobs to nearly a dozen stations has been eliminated, and a
and growth in their area.” Pennine Lancashire is seen as an number of morning and evening rush hour trains have been
economically deprived area that “needs connectivity if it’s cancelled or delayed. The service cuts, part of a larger
going to grow,” Selrap says. The group, which believes the package of reductions adopted by the Metropolitan
line would provide an essential alternative to existing Transport Authority’s board of directors in March, will impact
full capacity trans-pennine routes, hopes to lobby the more than 14,000 commuters. They aim to save the LIRR
Department for Transport (DfT) to make rebuilding the $US950,000 this year and $3.8 million annually beginning
line a condition of the trans-Pennine franchise renewal. next year. The cuts represent only a fraction of the pain that
Representatives are also talking to private train operating Long Island commuters could be feeling soon. Fare hikes
companies and developers with a track record in are expected to take effect across the MTA in January,
successfully re-opening old railway lines. including LIRR ticket price increases of almost 10%.
The LIRR is expected to lay off 98 employees this month.
Though 65 will transfer into other positions. 33 will be out
of work altogether. MTA management has said unions could
help cut the line’s deﬁcit by agreeing to concessions. The
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen says management’s
pleas are “insincere” and come at the same time they are
SPENDING CUTS TO HIT RAIL GROWTH
According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group,
the global railway supply industry can expect “sharply
lower growth” as investment falls in China and Europe.
Commissioned by Unife, the European railway industry
association, the study forecasts that growth in the sector,
which has reached 9% annually in recent years, will fall to
2.4% in the period until the ﬁnancial year 2015-16.
Believed to be Volksrust. Photographer unknown. Chinese manufacturers are expected to become an
“increasingly important force” worldwide, with slowing
domestic growth pushing them into exporting their
UK UNION SLAMS TOILETLESS TRAINS products. The World Rail Market Study 2020, published on
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ union (RMT) 13 September, has been compiled ahead of the biennial
has described Southern Railway’s decision to forgo toilet InnoTrans exhibition, the biggest worldwide railway industry
facilities on its latest trains running from Portsmouth to exhibition, which opens in Berlin on 21 September.
Brighton as “unacceptable”. Designed to create ‘more
space’ for passengers, the trains are being introduced to the Peter Ulrich, the BCG partner who oversaw the study’s
network in December. Representatives for Southern Railway preparation, says recent years saw high growth in both
deny the move will cause passengers any discomfort, demand to use trains and for rail equipment - ranging from
suggesting they simply use the toilet before boarding the rolling stock to track and signalling equipment. “We’re
train and dismissing the suggestion that it is unusual for coming now into a phase where, based on the very high
carriages not to provide the facilities. A spokesperson also baseline, we will still have very high demand but a slightly
pointed out that the latest trains will feature “refreshed” slower growth trajectory,” he says. Long-term trends such
interiors including new seats and ﬂooring, a passenger as increased urbanisation and greater global trade will help
information system and ﬂexible spaces for wheelchairs the railway industry, the projection for slower growth in the
and cycles. near future is based on signs that the Chinese market’s
growth would slow.
14 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
The building of China’s dedicated high-speed rail network The number of trains operating on the route was comparable
was accelerated under China’s anti-crisis spending to a busy summer weekend on one of Britain’s main lines
package, leaving less work for future years. The study took in the 1950s. Five extra locomotives were brought in from
into account the likelihood that high debt loads in many other lines in the UK for the event. It was a homecoming for
“mature economies” would lead them to scrap planned rail an engine which worked the SVR’s ﬁrst public passenger
investments. trains during the attraction’s infancy in 1970. The Great
Western Railway 2251 class 0-6-0 no 3205 returned from its
Many of those interviewed for the study said they expected present home at the South Devon Railway’s Buckfastleigh
Chinese suppliers to make a signiﬁcant impact on the to the Severn Valley after 25 years. It was scheduled to
international market in coming years, as they used expertise replicate some of its ﬁrst duties on the SVR by working a
gleaned in their own market’s expansion to win export orders. series of three-coach Bridgnorth to Highley shuttle trains
Signs of this were seen after Germany’s Siemens pulled out and also trains between Kidderminster and Arley.
of bidding to supply high-speed trains to Saudi Arabia and
instead joined a consortium with China South Locomotive & Fittingly, in the 70th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain,
Rolling Stock Corporation. a visit by a 4-6-2 locomotive named Manston (Battle of
Britain class dating from 1947) was arranged. The last steam
NZ PUB CHARITY SUPPORTS RAIL MUSEUM locomotive built by the Southern Railway, it is now based
Pub Charity, one of the major gaming trusts in New Zealand, at the Swanage Railway in Dorset. Another visitor was the
has granted NZ$400,000 towards the building project of former Great Western Railway’s City of Truro, which claimed
the country’s National Railway Museum. Fortunately the the world’s ﬁrst 100mph record by a steam locomotive.
library and archives suffered no structural damage as a
result of the recent 7.1 Richter earthquake. However, a CHINESE RAIL TRAFFIC STATS
number of shelving units fell over, spilling books and boxes According to China’s ministry of railways, railway passenger
of archive material. trafﬁc in August rose 8.1% year on year to 162 million, due
largely to large numbers of holiday makers and students
24HR RUNNING FOR SEVERN’S 40TH travelling prior to the school-opening season. During the
Sharply contrasting with South Africa’s disinterest in ﬁrst eight months of 2010, the country’s railways transported
its railways’ 150th birthday, the restored Severn Valley 1.14 billion passengers, up 8.9% year on year, even taking
Railway’s (SVR, UK) 40th anniversary was celebrated in into account the adverse effect of record ﬂooding during
style. Trains ran throughout the night during a three-day the recent summer. Persistent heavy rains and the resulting
steam gala from 24-26 September. More than 60 hours ﬂoods struck a dozen south China provinces, including
of activities were organised from the start of the event at Jiangxi, Fujian, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan.
07:30 on Friday to the ﬁnal train whistle at 18:00 on Sunday.
From January to August, railway freight trafﬁc reached 2.4
By closing time, more than 350 train journeys were made billion tonnes, surging 12.8% year on year, led by robust coal
during the weekend with passenger trains set to run through transport. China railways transported 1.32 billion tonnes of
the night at 90-minute intervals. More than 5,000 visitors coal in the ﬁrst eight months, up 16.4% year on year.
were expected over the three days.
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 15
Some Thoughts on Optimising Heavy Haul
Dave van der Meulen, managing member, Railway Corporate Strategy CC
ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND represent extreme poles between which
Heavy-haul is the present backbone of railways in South to evaluate heavy-haul railways in other
Africa, as well as in a few other African countries. It is countries, including South Africa. By
appropriate therefore to step back and assess heavy-haul using extreme examples, the issues are
positioning against some challenging metrics that the illustrated dramatically.
author selected from a paper presented to the recent US
Joint Rail Conference on Heavy-haul railway electriﬁcation - The US allows relatively high
experiences and prospects. axle load, namely 32.4 tonnes
in unrestricted interchange. It is sufﬁciently high to support
South Africa has two electriﬁed 1,067mm gauge heavy- an industry-leading load/tare ratio of 5.86:1, a critical
haul lines, both commissioned in 1976. Planned before the parameter for energy optimisation. Trains are comparatively
1973 oil crisis, both lines initially featured industry-standard short at 150 wagons or less. The power output of
diesel traction. Subsequently, a threatened oil embargo locomotives determines balancing speed under load.
plus low electricity tariffs stimulated extensive railway Diesel locomotives compare modestly with electric
electriﬁcation. Hence they were electriﬁed in 1977, and locomotives in this regard. With traction motors of
the South African Railways and its successors developed ≈640kW at rail, using high adhesion, they achieve 15-
expertise to regularly operate electrically-hauled trains of 20 km/h on typical 0.8-1% upgrades. Depending on
20,000 tonnes or more. Readers will be familiar with the throughput, this may require up to four tracks at some
details (the following two paragraphs simply recap pertinent sites, for example the Powder River Basin Joint Line, with
aspects). 400mta nameplate capacity.
The Ermelo-Richards Bay Coal Line was commissioned China’s economy is set to overtake that of the US,
for 15 million tonnes per annum (mta), initially with diesel currently the world’s largest. It is also closely comparable to
traction, later electriﬁed at 25kV 50Hz AC. Maximum the US in physical size, although their populations are of
axle loads were 20 tonnes for wagons and 21 tonnes for course vastly different. Along the way, it has developed
locomotives. Ruling gradients in both directions were the Datong-Qinhuangdao heavy-haul railway, with 400mta
1.52%. The line was upgraded to 65mta in the mid 1980s, nameplate capacity. The 653km route length features
by raising wagon axle load to 26 tonnes, locomotive axle asymmetrical gradients, 0.4% against loaded trains, and
load to 28 tonnes, laying heavier rail, double tracking, 1.2% against empty trains. Topographically, it is thus
ﬂattening gradients against loaded trains to 0.625%, and comparable to South Africa’s Sishen-Saldanha line. Its
acquiring new electric locomotives and new 200-wagon, present 25 tonne axle load is low by global heavy-haul
20,800 tonne trains. Ruling gradients in the empty direction standards, but balancing speed on long upgrades is a
remained unchanged. The trains still maintain their slender high 70km/h. It is electriﬁed at 25kV 50Hz AC. As in South
lead as the world’s heaviest electrically-hauled line. In 1994, Africa, capacity has grown to several multiples of the
operating costs were benchmarked as the world’s lowest original design, of course off a much higher base. However,
cost-per-net-ton-km, conﬁrming soundness of design. growth pains have been similar, reﬂecting the challenges
of expanding the throughput of an electriﬁed railway.
The then South African Iron and Steel Industrial Problems included absorbing regenerated energy, a weak
Corporation (Iscor) conceived the Sishen-Saldanha iron ore external power supply system, and low line voltage.
line originally as a standard gauge, diesel-traction, heavy-
haul railway. During design, it was drawn into the South CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE
African Railways fold, and built to South Africa’s 1,067mm The fundamental drivers of heavy-haul system design are
gauge. The single-track route was commissioned for 18mta, axle load, load/tare ratio and traction motor rating. These
initially with diesel traction, but was later electriﬁed at in turn inﬂuence payload per train, the number of trains
50kV 50Hz AC. Maximum axle loads were originally 26 per unit time for given capacity, and the required traction
tonnes for wagons and 28 tonnes for locomotives. Both power. The accompanying table compares selected
were raised to 30 tonnes in 2002, currently the world’s variables of the US, South African and Chinese heavy-haul
highest axle load on less-then-standard-gauge. solutions: Note that the parameters are given per traction
motor, to obviate confounding the analysis by locomotive
This appears to be a resistance point, so train length has axle arrangement, train length, and other considerations.
proved the next best option to increase throughput. Ruling Design of a real railway will of course consider multipliers
gradients have remained at 0.4% against loaded trains such as ruling gradients, number of tracks - single, double,
and 1% against empty trains since inception. Expansion to triple or quadruple - train length, locomotive conﬁguration,
60mta is currently under way, by providing more crossing energy supply constraints, and many others.
loops, adding new wagons and new electric locomotives,
and strengthening the traction power supply. In a globalised economy, one would expect convergence
among solutions. One might even argue that diesel heavy-
The rest is history. Fast forward now to the present. Both haul has converged. Few would dispute that Fortescue
lines are commissioning new locomotives, class 15E on Metals Group’s new heavy-haul railway in Australia’s Pilbara
Sishen-Saldanha and class 19E on Ermelo-Richards Bay. represents a model speciﬁcation, featuring 40-tonne axle
A comparison between state-of-the-art in South Africa, and load, diesel traction, ECP braking, and other hallmarks of
two other signiﬁcant heavy-haul railway settings, yields contemporary heavy-haul. However, the table suggests
interesting insights. that electric heavy-haul solutions have diverged rather
than converged, not only among each other, but also with
COUNTRIES SELECTED FOR COMPARISON respect to diesel traction. In a world where the prospects
The author selected two representative settings: ﬁrst the of electric heavy-haul are rising, the industry needs to
US, where heavy-haul originated (and where diesel traction understand the drivers of convergence and divergence. In
currently reigns supreme) and second China, a relative particular, the metrics in the last two lines bear deep thought.
newcomer that operates electric heavy-haul. Together, they
16 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
SOUTH SOUTH resistors is increasingly untenable. Even energy drawn from
COUNTRY US CHINA renewable sources incurs the cost of harnessing it.
Commodity Coal Coal Iron ore Coal Matching single-phase overhead traction equipment to a
three-phase supply grid requires the three supply phases to
Motive power type Diesel 19E Electric Electric be connected in turn to consecutive OHTE sections. While
the objective of regeneration is to transfer potential energy
Motor, kW at rail 640 735 735 1,250 from a descending train to where another consumer can
use it productively, surplus trains and demand trains (or
Adhesion, % 37.0 31.7 25.7 26.0
external consumers) could be some distance apart. They
Tractive effort, kN 118 78 76 64 could therefore be on different electrical phases, linked only
through the external supplier’s grid. Furthermore, surpluses
Loaded upgrade, % 1 0.625 0.4 0.4 and demands may occur at different times. Conducting
Empty upgrade, % 1 1.52 1 1.2 energy from surplus sites to demand sites thus invokes the
classic logistics challenge of place and time utility.
Locomotive axle 32.4 25 30 25
load, tonnes On-board energy storage in batteries, as on hybrid diesel
Wagon axle load,
locomotives, might have value, if the total system is not a net
32.4 26.0 30.0 25.0 generator of energy: If it were, surplus energy would need
to be dissipated or exported. Grid storage should rise to the
Tare axle load, need, although some power utilities still seem disinclined
4.7 5.0 5.0 5.0
tonnes to accept electricity generated by others. However,
Payload, tonnes/ contemporary power electronics, and emerging smart grids,
111 84 100 80 have made it possible to conceive of open traction systems,
whereby energy ﬂows to mutual beneﬁt in both directions
Load/tare ratio 5.9 4.2 5.0 4.0 between the environment and trains. A new paradigm is
Loaded speed, km/h 19.6 34.0 35.0 70.6 therefore required - smart total energy management.
Trailing load, tonnes/ 1,056 1,040 1,490 1,217
It is evidently valuable to minimise system entropy from a
traction motor total energy management perspective. Note thus that load/
tare ratio is a function of axle load. The higher the axle load,
8.1 10.0 12.4 12.2 the higher the load/tare ratio. The higher the load/tare ratio,
the larger the surplus energy remaining at the end of a loaded
Payload, tonnes/ journey to ports, and the less energy required to return empty
902 840 1242 974
traction motor trains to mines. Recall also that heavy-haul runs loaded one
Tonne-km/h per way, and empty the other. While it might have been sensible
17,680 28,549 43,472 68,735 formerly to provide ﬂatter gradients against loaded trains
than against empty, to regenerate all surplus energy (but
Tonne-km/h ratio 1.00 1.61 2.46 3.89 dissipate none in friction braking), requires locomotives to
control the same load on downgrades that they can haul
ENERGY CONSIDERATIONS on upgrades. Up and downgrades should therefore be
It must be appreciated that diesel and electric traction are approximately equally steep. Excessive asymmetry will force
of different system type. Diesel traction is a closed system, loaded trains to dissipate potential energy through friction
subject to entropic decay and the need, quite literally, to add braking on downgrades, thereby increasing the entropy of
external energy from time to time by way of refuelling. By such railways.
contrast, electric traction can function potentially as an open
system: To the extent that it is open, it can interchange energy CONCLUSIONS
with, and even contribute energy to, its environment. Many The selected tonne-km/h per traction motor metrics are too
heavy-haul railways descend from mine to port, including far apart to ignore. South Africa appears to perform at a
those in South Africa. Ermelo’s altitude is 1,645m; Sishen’s higher level than the US, but standard gauge rolling stock
is 1,295m. Both lines are potential net energy generators. exhibits superior performance to that on narrower gauges.
In other words, the altitude of the mines is such that energy China appears to play in a league of its own, but its low axle
dissipated in maintaining the speed of loaded trains on load trailing stock is passé.
downgrades to the ports can be more than sufﬁcient to return
empty trains to the mines. Practice rarely achieves this ideal, Capital costs have not been considered at all. What could
because the entropy of existing heavy-haul systems is high. heavy-haul achieve if all parameters were set to best-of-
breed? A rethink of key heavy-haul parameters following an
Railway electriﬁcation originally provided a one-way energy open systems approach seems indicated. What magnitude
supply. Where locomotives were able to regenerate, the of axle load and traction motor size might be ideal? Will
technology of the time did not support returning energy to acceptance of independent power production and a mature
the supply grid. Resistors at substations or on locomotives approach to building symbiotic relations among multiple
dissipated any local surplus and, as a closed system, it energy consumers and multiple sources be required?
was unable to turn a net surplus to advantage. However, Interesting times lie ahead!
the notion of simply dissipating local surplus energy in
COMPELLING INSIGHT FROM ORIGINAL RESEARCH
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 17
ANGOLA Benin-Niger Railway and Transport Uniﬁed company
CFL ONLY OPEN IN 2011 (OCBN), operated by both states. The governments of
The full 424km length of Caminhos de ferro de Luanda Benin and Niger have decided to ﬂoat the operation of the
(CFL) to Malanje will not open in December as planned, OCBN railway and its trade dependencies in Niger by mean
but only in the second half of 2011, director of the National of an international offer call.
Railway Institute Julio Bango announced early in October.
This is due, he explains, to “some technical, operational and This process is to be placed in the hands of a private
administrative delays”. The line has been inoperative for 18 partner “with a good ﬁnancial base” and proven experience
years, due to the armed conﬂict. Rehabilitation, which began in railway management. There have been two previous
in 2005, has involved the reconstruction of 40 bridges and attempts at creating such a concession - in 2005 and 2008
16 stations. – but neither was successful. Total Benin-Niger freight trafﬁc
is growing steadily, from 1.04 tonnes in 2005 to over 1.9
million tonnes in 2009. It is expected to grow further with
the development of the major mining and petroleum potential
of the Niger, as well as the agricultural development in
BURKINA FASO Malanville NIGERIA
Banfora Praga Jos
COTE D’IVOIRE Abuja
GHANA Blitta Ilorin
Though the rehabilitated line from Luanda to Malanje was officially opened at this Makurdi
ceremony on 30 August 2008, the start-up date for public service has been put
back to the second half of 2011. Kumasi Lagos
PRIVATE PARTICIPATION WANTED IN ANGOLA Lome
Gulf of Guinea
According to director of the National Railway Institute Julio Abidjan Accra
Bango, the government of Angola is keen to encourage
Takoradi Port Harcourt
private sector participation in the country’s “railway
100 200 300 400
business”. Addressing the press in Luanda following a CAMEROON
meeting between transport minister Augusto Tomás and the MBALAM PROJECT
board chairmen of each of the country’s railways, he said CRCC China-Africa Construction Limited (CAC) and
the government is open to partnerships with private Angolan Sundance Resources Ltd (Sundance) have entered into
and foreign companies wishing to cooperate, provided they a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the
comply with requirements. scope, cost and delivery programme for the railway track
and rolling stock needed to support Sundance’s Mbalam
There is “no exclusivity for state companies,” Bango Project in Cameroon and Congo, West Africa.
stressed. Opportunities are open for all willing to intervene
in the railways controlled by his institute (NCFA), which is The MOU binds the parties to work together to establish:
responsible both for certifying equipment in use and the
licensing of operators. 1. Scope, cost and programme for delivery of track and
rolling stock sufﬁcient to support planned output of 35mta
The railways represented at the meeting were Caminhos of iron ore from Sundance’s proposed Cameroon and
de ferro de Benguela (CFB), Caminhos de ferro de Namibe Congo mines and
(CFN) and Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL)
2. Terms of EPC contract under which CAC would deliver the
BENIN mine rail project.
EXTENDING FROM BENIN TO NIGER
The cities of Niamey in Niger and Cotonou in Benin are to At the conclusion of that work the parties may enter into a
join forces in ﬁnancing a series of technical studies into the delivery contract for the mine rail project. Neither party is
economic and environmental impact of rehabilitating and bound to enter into the delivery contract if it is not prudent
extending the existing 438km Cotonou-Parakou railway to do so. The MOU recognises that the mine rail project will
in Benin to Dosso in Niger. The West African Economic be integral with the mine project itself and the Lolabe port
and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is said to be supporting development project. The MOU also recognises that the rail,
the studies with $US250 million. In its initial phase, it is mine and port projects are subject to a range of conditions.
envisaged that the project would be controlled by a joint
18 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Building the future
gautrain turnout assembly
CRCC China-Africa Construction Limited was established EGYPT
earlier this year to consolidate the activities of its parent, EGYPT RAILWAYS AUTHORITY PLANS BONDS
China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) in According to an unconﬁrmed report in the Al Mal newspaper
Africa. on 3 October, Egypt’s National Railways Authority is
considering issuing 10bn Egyptian pounds ($US1.76bn) in
bonds to ﬁnance projects over the next 10 years. The bonds,
which would fund projects worth 60bn pounds, would be
secured by the assets of seven companies belonging to the
state authority. Egypt changed its laws in December to allow
utilities and other quasi-government organisations to issue
Projects under consideration by the government include a
high-speed railway between Alexandria and Cairo (208km)
and a 77km line linking Cairo to Tenth of Ramadan City.
NEW RAILWAY IN IVORY COAST
According to Ivory Coast mines and energy minister
Augustin Comoe, construction is to begin in 2014 on a new
Double-headed 0-4-4-0 Mallets taking water: another of Richard Grönstedt’s
railway running some 250km north-westwards from the
evocative recent photos of the railway in Eritrea.
port San Pedro to Man, a former rebel-held town. The main
objective is to serve nickel and iron mines in the Guinea
and Liberian border region. In addition the line is expected ETHIOPIA
to carry about 24,500 tons of timber annually and 45,000 ETHIOPIA’S “MASSIVE” RAIL CONSTRUCTION STARTS
tons of cocoa. Ivory Coast is said to be the world’s Ethiopia has launched construction on 5,000km of new
largest cocoa producer. “The west is overﬂowing with railway, to link the capital Addis Ababa to various regions
nickel, manganese and iron,” the minister told the press. of the country, the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC)
“We’re looking to transport about 22 million metric tons of announced on 24 September. According to ERC director-
minerals a year.” He hopes to boost the contribution of general Getachew Betru, the project will be tackled in two
mining to the nation’s gross domestic product from 1.5% to phases.
10% by 2020.
The ﬁrst will be the construction of ﬁve lines, creating work
Infrastructure in the region deteriorated following a 2002 for over 300,000 citizens nationwide, at an estimated cost
armed conﬂict that split the country into a government- of $US336 million annually. In addition, the Addis Ababa
held south and rebel-controlled north. Studies prior to urban light rail scheme project will offer employment to
this estimated that the cost of the proposed line would some 5,000 citizens. Eighteen Ethiopian consulting groups,
be about $US1.8 billion at that time. “There is no more together with Chinese company CRCC, are involved. ERC
conﬂict, elections are going ahead, so we are assuring board chairman Hailemariam Desalegn is quoted explaining:
investors it is now safe to begin exploiting minerals here,” “the railway will enable the nation to transport 6 million
says minister Comoe. Companies including BHP Billiton Ltd tones of freight.”
and ArcelorMittal, which have operations in neighbouring
Guinea and Liberia, are potential investors in Ivory Coast, In May 2010, China granted Ethiopia a loan of more than
the minister suggests. $US100 million to help ﬁnance the project, which forms part
of part of the country’s ﬁve-year transformation plan.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)
CHINA TO FUND PAGA LINE
The government of Ghana has secured a $US10.4 billion
dollar concessionary loan from the Export-Import Bank
of China to develop the country’s infrastructure. Out of
the funds $4 billion will be used to extend the Takoradi-
Kumasi railway to Paga on the border with Burkina Faso.
Ghana Railway Authority Chairman Dan Markin says the
agreement in the railway sector is very signiﬁcant because it
marks a new chapter in the country’s railway industry. (See
Flashback: Martin Welzel captured this scene at Lubumbashi in 1991. Loco map on page 18).
1419, then some 30 years old, was an ex-South African Railways class 32 (GE
U18C1, 1-Co-Co-1, 1,975hp). The electriﬁcation, which covered 858km and
dated from the 1950s, was one of the world’s early 25kV AC systems.
20 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
GUINEA de Desenvolvimento do Norte (CDN) and the Central
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) has entered into East African Railways (CEAR). CDN holds the operating
contracts with the government of Liberia for the construction concession for the 872km North Mozambiquan line from
of an integrated railway and port system for transporting Entre Lagos in Niassa province to the Indian Ocean port of
the production of iron ore from Simandou in Guinea. Nacala in Nampula province.
KENYA CEAR holds the concession of the railway system in
KENYA TO DEAL WITH SQUATTERS Malawi, which currently comprises 797km of line. The CDN
The Kenya Railways Corporation has secured World Bank and CEAR rail systems meet end-on at Entre Lagos.
funding of $US11 million to move squatters who have
encroached on its land in Nairobi. Up to 5,000 households The acquisition of SCDN will provide CVRD with much of
living on the railway reserve in Kibera are affected. The the necessary logistics infrastructure for transporting the
reserve land extends 30 metres on either side of the track. output from the second phase of the Moatize coal project
Studies along the railway have established that 4,500 development. The Moatize coal deposit has proven and
commercial and institutional structures are involved. probable reserves of 1.087 billion tonnes of coal and the
Action is expected to commence in June 2011. project includes an open pit mine operation. Moatize 1 has a
nominal production capacity estimated at 11 million tonnes
The squatters, according to Kenya Railways managing of coal - 80% metallurgical and 20% thermal - with start-up
director Nduva Muli, are the greatest impediment standing expected in 2011.
in the way of moves to improve the urban railway system
in Nairobi. Trains currently move at a maximum 20km/h In the ﬁrst stage of development, coal will be transported
through Kibera – 50-70km/h less than the optimum. “Rift by the Sena railway to the port of Beira. In the second
Valley Railways can only pull half of their freight to Kibera phase, coal will move from Moatize via a new rail link to
station because there is too much slippage on the tracks - Malawi and thence along the Northern Mozambique line to
because a lot of waste is dumped there,” Muli told a meeting the port of Nacala.
of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya.
The relocation action plan devised by the corporation and BORDER LINKS FROM LIBYA
the World Bank is to be implemented in three phases at a Libya is optimistic that the new standard gauge line
cost of $33 million. The ﬁrst phase will involve the acquisition currently under construction from Benghazi to the country’s
of land for the squatters living in the Mukuru slums on the western border at Rass Ajder will be extended eventually
eastern side of the railway. This will make way for the ﬁrst to connect with Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer
part of the improvement project, the building of a line to the Tunisiens (SNCFT - the Tunisian National Railways). This
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. would entail building some 170km of route inside Tunisia
to reach the present railhead at Gabes. Unfortunately the
In Kibera, it is planned to build high-rise residential houses existing 422km line from Gabes to the capital – Tunis - is
for the squatters and a wall along the length of the reserve metre gauge, so through services will not be possible. Some
boundary, Muli says. of the 268km Tunis-Sfax section has been realigned and
the 3-hour expresses are reputedly the fastest metre gauge
MOZAMBIQUE trains in the world.
VALE BUYS 51% OF SDCN
On Libya’s east, a 350km extension of the new standard
TANZANIA gauge line is planned to Tobruk from Benghazi. Beyond
Tobruk, the formation of a long abandoned (World War II)
standard gauge railway extends some 140km to Egypt’s
western border at El Soloum, endpoint of a 560km line
Bassa D Nkaya
Cabora Entre Lagos
Mutarara Morrumbala Sabha
Vila de Sena
To Harare Marromeu
Manica Indian Ocean
0 150 300 450
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) has purchased a 51% MALAWI
stake in Sociedade de Desenvolvimento do Corredor do UPGRADE OF MALAWI RAILWAYS PROMISED
Norte SA (SDCN) owned by the Mozambiquan company Speaking at the opening of the new rail extension from
Insitec SGPS SA. SDCN in turn holds 51% of Corredor Mchinji to Chipata in Zambia on 27 August, Malawian
22 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
president Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika (who chairs the NAMIBIA
African Union) said his government would ensure that NAMIBIAN WAGE INCREASE SETTLED
the 810km of line to the Mozambique border will be fully Following several weeks of dispute, TransNamib and the
rehabilitated and upgraded to provide full connectivity to Namibia Allied and Transport Workers Union (Natau) have
the port of Nacala. This he said would enable the people of signed a new wage agreement. Employees in the so-called
Zambia and Malawi to beneﬁt through cheaper transport of A band will receive a 10% increase - 1% less than the 11%
agricultural, mineral and manufactured products. He called that Natau originally asked. Employees in the B band are to
on the private sector in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique get a 9% adjustment, and C band workers will receive 7%
to take advantage of the line in enhancing trade.
- 3% less than Natau wanted. Employees will receive one
month’s back pay and a transport allowance of N$370 - up
Speakers at the ceremony included Zambian president
Rupiah Banda and Mozambiquan transport and N$70 from N$300, but N$50 less than Natau asked. As from
infrastructure minister Paulo Zucula, who read a speech 16 September, TransNamib increased its contribution to
on behalf of president Armando Guebuza. President Banda the medical aid of A band employees from 66.6% to 80%.
appealed to Central Eastern African Railways (CEAR) in
Malawi, as well as Zambia Railways, to ensure efﬁciency General secretary of Natau John Kwedhi urged workers to
in operations of the newly commissioned Chipata- increase their productivity: “The customers out there are
Mchinji railway line. “If efﬁciency erodes this service, it will the only source of income for the company. If they are not
discourage potential users of this huge investment,” satisﬁed, the company will die.”
President Banda was quoted saying.
TransNamib CEO Titus Haimbili said that the institutional
Zambian communications and transport minister Professor culture of the company needs to be addressed: “We must
Geoffrey Lungwangwa and his counterparts from Malawi work together in transforming TransNamib from public to
and Mozambique, Sidik Mia and Paulo Zucule respectively, a fully ﬂedged commercial entity.” According to Haimbili,
signed a tripartite regional agreement on the railway route TransNamib’s salaries have gone from being 30% below
from Chipata via Malawi to Nacala. the market benchmark to 20% below.
The Chipata-Mchinji project was initiated in the late 1970s. “My debt towards the employees is thus partially washed
Construction began in the eighties but work on the Zambian away. When you are in ﬁnancial difﬁculties, don’t start
side was discontinued due to lack of funds. Work resumed in
cutting on salaries. Start elsewhere. While a hungry
2006. It is hoped to extend the line westwards from Chipata
employee is an angry employee, a motivated employee is
to the Katete district and later to the northern part of the
country. a productive employee.”
The commissioning of the new line attracted diplomats,
traditional leaders and other important dignitaries.“Today,
Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique have done one more
signiﬁcant thing to materialise the vision of the generation of
our freedom ﬁghters,” Mozambiquan minister
Zucule told them.
GE U20C (formerly Spoornet class 33) diesel at Karibib in June 2010. More than
40 years old, these Co-Co locos are rated at 2,150hp. Photo: John Batwell.
Malawian Railways train arrives at Chipata in Zambia.
Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 23
SA RAIL NEWS
South African Rail News
SA LOCO BIGGEST IN UK MUSEUM “For public safety. The Marine Oil and Long Beach sites will
The largest single exhibit in Glasgow’s new Riverside be fenced from the public for the duration of the construction
Museum will be ex-South African 4-8-2 class 15F no 3007. activities. Access to Long Beach itself will not be affected
Its transfer onto the premises – ahead of the ofﬁcial opening by the activities. Ms Riana Scott, head of marketing and
next year – was scheduled for late September 2010. communications, said: “We look forward to completing the
works timeously so that normal train operations can resume
According to a BBC report – to Simon’s Town.”
“Built in 1945 in Polmadie, Glasgow, the 15F mountain class
locomotive spent all its working life in South Africa before
being brought home in 2007. The engine worked for 40 years
pulling the Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town until
1988 when she was mothballed.
“The locomotive was brought back to Scotland by transport
giant FirstGroup, which is founder patron of the Riverside
Museum Appeal. Since 2007, it has been undergoing
extensive restoration work. Sir Moir Lockhead, chief executive
of FirstGroup, said: ‘It is a privilege for First to help return
part of our proud engineering heritage to Scotland. Its return
to Glasgow will give new generations the chance to marvel
at this wonderful example of the rail revolution Scotland
gave to the world. Glasgow’s transport collections are of
international importance and it is ﬁtting that the mountain
class locomotive will be at the heart of the new museum.’”
Seawall restoration near Simon’s Town. Photo: Peter Rogers.
[It is true that 3007 was among the locos that worked
trains (including the Blue) but this was only over sections PMB STATION UPGRADE
at the outer ends of the route, and they were displaced by The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has
electriﬁcation during the ﬁfties. Nowhere near 40 years, to be commissioned a refurbishment of Pietermaritzburg’s historic
precise - nor was their run anywhere near the total 1,500km. station in conjunction with business in the area and the
- Editor] Msunduzi municipality.
SIMON’S TOWN LINE REPAIRS Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from a Natal Government
The single track over the rocks from Fish Hoek to Simon’s Railways train here in 1893, while on his way to Pretoria. A
Town (6.3km) has been closed for 12 months, following passenger objected to his presence in a ﬁrst-class carriage.
washaways caused by heavy seas early in November 2009. After refusing to move, he was thrown off (by conductor
According to Metrorail’s Western Cape newsletter Blits, work Marius Weyers in the ﬁlm Gandhi).
to restore the line commenced on 15 September 2010:
The incident prompted him to remain in South Africa and
“The railway is supported and protected against the sea sparked his campaign against racial discrimination.
by seawalls. The seawalls have been protected against
direct wave action over the years by old concrete sleepers On Sunday 3 October, members of the Mahatma Gandhi
which were placed against the wall, forming a haphazard Committee went to the station to help pick up litter and
revetment. However, this protection has not always been clean the area ahead of a visit by an Indian delegation.
effective, leaving portions of the seawall exposed - resulting Msunduzi municipality speaker Babu Baijoo said plans are
in erosion and compromising the structural integrity of the in place to revamp the station and turn it into a “thriving
wall and safety of the line. business hub”. He said that there are plans to make the
precinct a transport node for buses, trains and taxis.
“Metrorail appointed Perstedge Retief Dresner Wijnberg In addition, there are to be upgrades of business and
(PRDW), specialist port and coastal engineers, to design residential components in the area.
suitable coastal protection structures to stabilise the seawall
at two locations, one north of Long Beach and the other at “We will be looking at synergistic activity outside the
the Marine Oil site. Ms Lindsey Bungartz, spokesperson station in terms of commercial development in the area,
for the environmental management plan (EMP), said an as well as inner-city housing,” he was quoted saying.
engineered rock revetment, consisting primarily of Table “There will also be private development around the area to
Mountain sandstone, will be established to stabilise and enhance it.” Because it is a historic site, there are also plans
protect the wall, thereby offering a more permanent solution for a museum.
and replacing the old sleepers.
The introduction of a business express train between
“An EMP for the construction has been approved by the Pietermaritzburg and Durban is still under consideration,
department of environmental affairs and development Bijoo says. “If we get a business express between the two
planning. Relevant permits have been granted by the cities, we may be able to reduce some of the load on the
integrated ocean and coastal conservation department N3 highway. People would be able to park their cars in
of environmental affairs. Environmental Resources Pietermaritzburg, do their business and then come back.
Management (ERM) has been appointed as the For this to work, we need a station to support it, such as
environmental control ofﬁcers to ensure that the EMP is having waiting-room facilities and an Internet cafe. This is
adhered to. ‘Construction will be ongoing for approximately what we are hoping for.”
four months. The rock will be transported to site by road and
rail in order to complete the construction activities as quickly A technical and political team was set up a month ago to
as possible,’ said Bungartz. address the planning. “This is a plan that can be achieved.
If all the partners, including local businesses in the area,
24 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
SA RAIL NEWS
begin to have a single vision, we should be able to achieve
this quite fast. We want to maximise the station and the
precinct effectively.” He said they would be working
closely with stakeholders, including the Mahatma Gandhi
Committee. David Gengan, the public relations ofﬁcer of the
Mahatma Gandhi Committee, says the organisation wants
the station to be declared a national heritage site.
The new Century City station in Cape Town. Prasa ran at a loss of R13bn in the last
financial year. Photo: Malcolm Bates.
In the ﬁnancial year ending 31 March 2010, the Passenger
Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) reported an after-tax loss of R13bn
(2009: R1bn) on revenue of R5.6bn (R4.2bn), with operating
Station on a curve: Pietermaritzburg at night. expenses amounting to R6.7bn (R5bn). Personnel went up
R546m due to former Transnet subsidiaries Autopax (buses)
and Shosholoza Meyl (intercity trains) being transferred
CATENARY REPLACEMENT to Prasa. Energy costs, ie electricity, added nearly R100m
Copper overhead traction wire is being replaced with
to operational expenses. CEO Montana’s annual salary
“Tiger wire” on the Kroonstad - Bethlehem line, resulting in
reportedly rose R904,000 (a 29% increase ) to R4m (2009,
extended occupations on this section. The replacement
material is a stranded cable comprising some aluminium
and some steel. Unravelling this for recycling would be
HIGH-SPEED STUDY TO START
very time-consuming, apart from which the low copper
The process of testing the market for a high speed rail
content means that it has minimal value at scrapyards.
link between Durban and Johannesburg would start in
October, transport minister Sbu Ndebele announced on 27
GAUTRAIN BENEFITED FROM THE WORLD CUP September. Launching Transport Month at Bridge City in
Abey Mokgwatsane, summing up the beneﬁts of the World
Durban, he said:
Cup in South Africa, observes on www.bizcommunity.com:
“By next month, we will commence with the dual process of
“Billions of Rand were invested in the economy for
concept development and testing the market for a period of
infrastructure, training, and production, and so on. Add
six months.” The proposed high-speed railway between
to that a deadline where all this investment needed to be
Durban and Johannesburg would cut transport times
realised. That hardly happens in African countries, money is
dramatically, he said. He was also quoted saying the project
invested but it hardly reaches its intended purpose. Would
is “crucial” because the Durban-Gauteng corridor is the
the stadiums, Gautrain, airport developments have been
“busiest in the southern hemisphere”, both in value and
completed at such a pace if there was no deadline? I doubt
it. It could more likely have been squandered by the swarm
of consultants that feed off our inefﬁciency.”
[Somebody in Australia might just take issue with this claim
PRASA SEEKS PARTNER
In an endeavour to raise some of the funding needed to
JOHANNESBURG-DURBAN : BUSIEST SA CORRIDOR
ﬁnance operations and expansion, the Passenger Rail
Edward West, writing in Business Day about the proposed
Agency of SA (Prasa) would like to ﬁnd a “strategic equity
high-speed railway from Johannesburg to Durban, repeats
partner” for its subsidiary Intersite which manages the
the claim that the Durban-Gauteng corridor is “the busiest
property portfolio, encompassing commercial and retail
corridor in the southern hemisphere, both in terms of
sites at and adjoining stations. The total value of this is put
value and in tonnage and is the backbone of SA’s freight
at R236 million. Intersite currently holds R124m in the form
transportation network. Key nodal points within the corridor
of loans from Prasa.
are the Port of Durban, Cato Ridge, Harrismith and City
Deep in Johannesburg.”
“Selling a stake in Intersite forms part of the rail agency’s
new ﬁve-year strategy,” Engineering News reports, “to
[Not quite sure how nodal points are deﬁned, but what about
transform itself into a commercially viable entity and
Maritzburg – a fairly big provincial capital along the way?
strengthen its balance sheet.
Also, the Johannesburg-Durban railway has never gone
anywhere near Harrismith, nor would Harrismith ﬁgure if
“The government’s subsidy of R3.2bn last year (2008-09:
one drew a straight line between the endpoints. Newcastle,
R2.5bn) was not enough for the agency’s needs and it had
which West does not mention, might make the grade. –
to use its own reserves (R1.5bn). ‘The rail agency has
Editor Railways Africa.]
depleted its reserves resulting in a weak balance sheet,’
Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said”. He added that the
WHICH 1ST HIGH-SPEED TRAIN IN SA?
group’s management has embarked on a cost-containment
Speaking at the launch of Transport Month at Bridge City in
Durban, transport minister Sbu Ndebele said South Africa
had invested R40 billion in passenger rail infrastructure and
26 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
SA RAIL NEWS
services. This included the R25 billion spent on the Gautrain OUTENIQUA CHOO-TJOE
project, “South Africa’s ﬁrst high-speed train.”
[Minister Ndebele needs to reread his history book:
• 1978: Test train reaches 245km/h near Johannesburg.
• 1984: Metroblitz 160km/h scheduled express
(Johannesburg-Pretoria in 42 minutes).
• 2010: Gautrain 160km/h airport train.
• 2011: Gautrain 160km/h scheduled express (also
planned to do Johannesburg-Pretoria in 42
BLUE TRAIN IN THE OFS
September 2010 saw the last Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe pulling out of George -
behind a class 32 diesel. Photo: Allen Duff.
Two class 34 diesels head a George - Voorbaai freight across the Maalgaten
bridge between George and Mossel Bay, on the route of the discontinued
Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. Photo: Allen Duff.
CAR RENTAL AT GAUTRAIN STATIONS
Three car rental companies are soon to be represented
at all Gautrain Stations, which are recognised as being
strategically positioned. According to one of the operators,
An out-of-the-ordinary Blue Train excursion on 4 September the facility will “add a new dimension to public transport
comprised a visit to Bloemfontein. The customary class 14E and provided fast accessibility to areas between OR Tambo
dual-voltage electric was in charge – one of these being International Airport and Pretoria.”
very rare on the Free State main-line The train departed
southbound from Kroonstad at 08:24 and Jacque Wepener BRIDGE CITY UNDERGROUND STATION, DURBAN
was ready at Hennenman to photograph the visitor. Edward West, writing in Business Day, says Durban’s new
Bridge City Station, “being built under the R5bn Bridge City
TFR AUCTION 17 shopping, commercial and residential development situated
TFR auction #17 closed on 7 October 2010. Peter Bagshawe between four townships north of the city centre, is the ﬁrst
reports: in a roll-out of new stations.”
“The auction included 294 wagons of a variety of types [Assuming West is talking about Metrorail (after all, four new
situated at various places around the country, 14 coaches a Gautrain stations opened this year), Bridge City is not the
nd 24 cabooses (all at Port Elizabeth), and other ﬁrst new station to come on stream in 2010. Century City
miscellaneous items. There were also four lots of used in Cape Town opened in June, as did Rhodesﬁeld near
railway line (350 tons of 60kg/m along the Saldanha-Sishen O R Tambo airport and the new stadium station in Durban.
line; 17.52 tons of 48/50kg/m at Vereeniging and 29.376 – Editor.]
tons and 31.104 tons of 48/50kg/m, both lots at Leeuhof.
“The underground station, already 50% complete, involves
“The coaches were: 4669 (according to list, but photo 3km of underground track and will be the ﬁrst underground
says 4668)/8146/15034/23318/23319/25707/25709/28107/ railway station in SA.”
[What about Sandton, 40 metres below ground? Or
The cabooses were: 14006/14315/14317/14322/14505/1450 Rosebank, which is probably closer to ﬁnishing than Bridge
8/14520/14599/14603/14624/14627/14649/14654/14655/146 City? - Editor]
41 “The development, which will also be a bus and taxi hub -
the eThekwini municipality is investing more than R150m
“The condition of the coaches and cabooses was very poor, on a taxi and bus rank - is planned to ease transport
with a lot of rust evident.” problems and provide convenience for about 613,000
people living in the KwaMashu, Phoenix, Ntuzuma and
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 27
SA RAIL NEWS
Inanda townships. A hospital, magistrate’s court and S MEYL SERVICES SHREDDED
other commercial activities are planned for the precinct.
Integrated transport facilities such as at Bridge City will
form part of a 20-year rail investment programme, that
includes R98bn for new rolling stock.
“Department of Transport director-general George
Mahlalela says Bridge City will be the ﬁrst fully integrated
transport city in the country and ‘we need to ﬁnd ways
to replicate the experience all over the country’. Public-
private partnerships and innovative ways to raise public
sector ﬁnancing, are essential, Mr Mahlalela says. SA’s
transport infrastructure has been suffering from years of
underinvestment. For instance, most commuter rail systems
have reached the end of their life span after being upgraded
in the 1950s, with some lines about 100 years old.
Shosholoza Meyl: services shredded. Jacque Wepener photographed this
“Mr Mahlalela says it is important that the government Premier Classe express near Bloemhof on 13 October – running seven hours late.
build its capacity to be able to deliver on its transport
projects, and that it also learns from previous experiences, The revised list of Shosholoza Meyl intercity services in
such as preventing spending overruns on projects that South Africa – apart from “economy” (former 3rd class)
had, for instance, seen the project cost of the Gautrain trains - is as follows:
escalate to R25bn from the originally estimated R7bn.
1. Premier Classe: only the Cape Town-Johannesburg
“Passenger Rail Agency of SA service remains, running twice weekly in both directions.
(Prasa) CEO Lucky Montana
says the Bridge City station is 2. The Cape Town-Johannesburg “tourist class” service to
unique in that it will become run three times weekly in both directions.
self-funding, because of the
commercial developments 3. The Johannesburg-Port Elizabeth “tourist class” service
that are linked to it. He says to run twice weekly in both directions.
that a crucial aim of Bridge
City is to have fully intermodal The following “tourist class” services fall away altogether:
transport. The long-term • Johannesburg-Durban
goal is for 25,000 jobs to be • Johannesburg-Komatipoort
created from Bridge City. The • Johannesburg-Musina
rail extension will have the • Cape Town-Durban (Orange Express)
capacity to serve 40,000
commuters a day and handle ORGANISED TRAIN TOURS BADLY DISLOCATED
1,000 passengers in peak Journeys organised by JB Train Tours – which make
hours. Sandton station, 40m below ground. extensive use of scheduled trains - have been severely
dislocated by the slashing of Shosholoza Meyl intercity
“About R360m has been invested in new roads and road services. Hundreds of advance bookings have gone by
upgrades to augment the facilities in the development. Prasa the board with the short notice making life almost
will spend R350m on the underground station in total, while impossible. Nearly 400 people had booked for tours over
the shopping mall has been developed at a cost of R750m.” the Heritage Day weekend, which fell only a couple of days
after the new schedules were announced.
GAUTRAIN SERVICE TIMES MAY LENGTHEN
Gautrain’s service may be altered to start earlier than Tours immediately affected include -
the present 05:30 and end later than the current 20:30.
Bombela’s Errol Braithwaite says the extension of operating • Seven Provinces
hours is “deﬁnitely on the cards”, though there are several • Durban long weekend
issues to consider. The step would involve “mobilising about • Durban weekend
200 station, train and support staff, so if only 50 additional • Cape Town-Durban
passengers result, it would not be cost effective.” • Three cities and three trains
• Namaqualand from Durban
GAUTRAIN & THE DISABLED • Motorbike-on-train from Durban
Phil Case, conﬁned to a wheelchair since a diving • Argus!!!
accident days before his 21st birthday, was impressed • Rugby to Durban
when he tried out Gautrain. His joy was short-lived. He • Premier Classe tours from Johannesburg to Durban
explained to Audrey Nyathi of the Johannesburg Times: • Premier Classe tours from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn
“It was fantastic until I tried to get from Sandton station to DISPUTE WITH TRANSNET PROTESTED BY S MEYL STAFF
Nelson Mandela Square. I had to abandon the sidewalk Members of the general operations staff at Shosholoza-
and push along the main road because of the steep curb Meyl organised a march in central Johannesburg on 20
cuts and vicious sideway gradient. If we are serious about September, to hand over a petition to Transnet about its
including people with disabilities in the workplace and are dispute with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
not just paying lip service to employment equity, then we (Prasa). Trade union provincial general secretary Enzi
need a viable way for them to get to work.” Mhlanga said that Transnet’s actions, as a result of which
all intercity passenger trains had been suspended, allegedly
[A classic example of inability to see and complete the “rendered redundant” all employees of Prasa’s Shosholoza-
total transport picture. We perfect A to B but ignore B to C - Meyl. “Under the circumstances, we cannot tell workers to
because it’s a different department. That’s the story of South stay at home in protest because that will give the employer
Africa. – Editor.] an opportunity to render them unemployed,” he said.
28 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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MISHAPS & BLUNDERS
One objective of our regular feature reporting and commenting on rail mishaps is to provide information and object
lessons from Africa and abroad, in the hope that – in some cases at least - this might help avoid recurrences.
KEY BRIDGE COLLAPSES IN DERAILMENT months, though given the magnitude of what had to be
The collapse of a steel bridge at Brakspruit, 17km north done, the “ﬁve weeks” mentioned seemed optimistic.
of Hoedspruit on the 50km branch to Phalaborwa in
Limpopo at about 03:00 on 20 September as the result of a The line carries important mineral export trafﬁc from
derailment severely disrupted the movement of export Phalaborwa to Hoedspruit (50km - there being no alternative
phosphate trafﬁc. It is believed an axle problem caused a rail route), then 163km southwards to Kaapmuiden junction
wagon to leave the line and dislodge a complete span of on the main line to Maputo.
the steel structure, which fell several metres to the ground.
An early report quoted contractors who looked at the site
suspecting that the concrete piers might be damaged and
speculating that repairs could take “from six months to a
year”. According to the same report, “there is a big load
of phosphates (dry) that has fallen into the Mohlabetse
system. Spoornet are on site and have conveyed the
relevant messages to Foskor about potential environmental
consequences. Although phosphates do occur naturally,
quantities such as this would cause an algae bloom going
into the Olifants and then into the [Kruger] Park.”
According to a later report, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR)
informed the mine, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, that repairs
were expected to take a matter of weeks rather than
30 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
MISHAPS & BLUNDERS
INDIAN COLLISION: 22 DEAD suffered injury and six wagons derailed. The eastbound
At least 22 people were killed and 50 injured when two lanes of the adjoining Interstate 10 freeway were closed
trains collided in central India on 21 September. According for several hours until the wreckage was cleared. Several
to a Times of India report, a freight train smashed into a thousand litres of propylene glycol -- a nonhazardous
passenger service that was waiting near Badarwas station, chemical used in motor anti-freeze and airport de-icing
about 255km north of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya machines -- spilled.
Pradesh state. Although drivers of both trains survived,
the ﬁrst three coaches of the passenger train were badly A Los Angeles Times reader commented: ”antifreeze is fatal
damaged and “piled on top of each other”, with people to pets and there is no antidote. It tastes sweet, so they are
trapped inside. “Railway authorities have ordered a probe attracted to it. It is not harmless to them, just for the record.”
to determine how both trains ended up on the same track;
it is suspected that human error may have been the cause,” BELGIAN PASSENGER TRAINS COLLIDE
the paper said. Some 40 injury cases were reported following a head-
on collision between two passenger trains at Arlon in
NEW ZEALAND EARTHQUAKE southern Belgium, near the border with Luxembourg. All
were treated at the scene except for two who were
hospitalised. The accident occurred just outside the
station at low speed and no rolling stock was derailed.
The trains were travelling to and from Luxembourg. Press
comment remarked “Belgium has seen a series of rail
accidents in recent months, many blamed on ageing
SANRASM AT CHAMDOR
Early in September, concerned
enthusiasts who visited
the South African National
Railway and Steam Museum
(Sanrasm) site at Krugersdorp’s
Chamdor, were dismayed to
The New Zealand (South Island) earthquake on 3 September ﬁnd the substantial collection This was a 110-year-old restorable
created a hectic weekend for KiwiRail staff at Christchurch of withdrawn locomotives – class 7 at Chamdor - until local
but by two and a half days later, most rail services in the and rails - being systematically entrepreneurs moved in.
region had been restored. When the earthquake struck (it stripped by a group of about
measured 7.1 on the Richter scale), trains were stopped 50 unauthorised persons,
until all track and structures had been checked. An early apparently using sophisticated
priority was to rescue stranded crew members and to cutting equipment.
secure trains. The biggest problem was a 4km section
of track and formation in the Kaiapoi area north of Damage already inﬂicted
Christchurch, including damaged piers on a bridge. was such that the remains
would have cost more to rebuild Class 19B donated in the recent past
Other track damage occurred between Rolleston and from new than attempt to by Harmony mine. Note tracks also
Darﬁeld. It was a demanding challenge inspecting bridge restore. For instance, frames on the move.
and tunnels to determine the effect of the jolt. Frequent had been cut through to access
aftershocks, some in excess of 5 Richter, were an added and remove the brass bearings.
complication. Sanrasm ofﬁcials reluctantly
accepted a suggestion that
By Saturday night 4 September, the main South Line was professionals be called in to
open again, with a 40km/h speed restriction and 25km/h cut up and remove what was
over bridges between Christchurch and Ashburton. left, they quoted R1,525.00 plus
VAT per ton being earmarked to
The main North Line was reopened north of Rangiora, with secure vulnerable rolling stock
Class S 0-8-0. Everything readily
road services brought in to cover the gap south of there to at the museum’s other sites. removable had gone; the rest to
Christchurch. The Midland Line was cleared west of Otira follow shortly!
on 5 September. Inspectors travelled on an empty coal train THE LOCOS AT CHAMDOR
in the afternoon to check bridges and viaducts between According to Carlos Viera quoting John Middleton’s book,
Christchurch and Otira. A westbound milk train destined for the following locos were at Chamdor. Note that ﬁve were
Hokitika was then cleared to resume its journey.
The TranzAlpine and TranzCoastal passenger services
were replaced by buses. TranzAlpine journeys resumed on
6 September, taking an hour more than normal because of
speed restrictions. TranzCoastal journeys were expected
to resume later in the week. Photo: KiwiRail staff newsletter
DRIVER LOSES ARM IN TRAIN WRECK
The driver of a Union Paciﬁc train that rear-ended a slower
freight in Fontana near Colton in Southern California on 10
September was trapped on board. Steel I-beams carried
on the train in front penetrated his cab, pinning him down.
It was not possible to free him until doctors called to
the scene amputated an arm. Two other crew members The 95-year-old no 341 at Chamdor was the only surviving class J 4-6-4T.
Photo (in happier times) by the late Frank Neave.
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 31
MISHAPS & BLUNDERS
more than 100 years old; another ﬁve were in their nineties. woke at about 05:45, his wife was gone. Her shoes were on
The list does not include all locos which came from mine the ﬂoor, but her purse - which contained about $1,000 - was
railway systems: missing. He searched several coaches for her and asked
staff for help. Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent
CLASS NO. YEAR BUILT Mike McDaniel declined to answer questions posed by the
Orlando Sentinel as to whether Arteta’s purse was found at
A 4-8-2T 115 1898 the scene or to comment speciﬁcally about other potential
evidence. An autopsy was to be carried out to determine the
H2 4-8-2T 264 1903 cause of death.
J 4-6-4T 341 1915
S 0-8-0 372 1929
S1 0-8-0 374 1947
19AR 4-8-2 678 1929
7 4-8-0 990 1893
7C 4-8-0 1059 1902
8DW 4-8-0 1211 1903
19B 4-8-2 1411 1930
12R 4-8-2 1517 1915
14R 4-8-2 1589 1914
14R 4-8-2 1711 1913 Jacque Wepener spotted something unusually short on the Cape-
14 4-8-2 1750 1915 Johannesburg main-line in September. What could it be?
DELVILLE WOOD DERAILMENT
Thirteen wagons of cement train 5519 derailed on 20
September at Dellville Wood, 42km from Durban, on the
main-line to Johannesburg. On Heritage Day 24 September,
passengers on the unique steam-hauled 06:00 from
Inchanga via Cato Ridge to Durban (prior to working the
150th year commemorative special to the Point) enjoyed a
grandstand view of the wreckage.
ANGUS WAS NOT HEAD-ON
First reports on the 10 September collision at Angus (south
of Germiston) said it was “head-on”. This turned out to be
nonsense and must have originated with somebody who
knew nothing worthwhile about the incident and simply
made it up. Apparently due to a signalling failure – according Turned out class 6E1 1586 was towing a somewhat bashed TransNamib
to investigations by the Rail Safety Regulator – the Metrorail diesel, probably bound for the Transnet Rail Engineering works at
passenger train rear-ended a TFR freight. Of the 56 people Koedoespoort.
on the passenger train, 31 were admitted to hospital but
most were later discharged. The Vereeniging-Germiston
main-line between Angus and Mpilisweni stations was
closed until the weekend of 11-12 September. The Rail
Safety Regulator (RSR) issued a directive prohibiting the
use of the signalling system between Vereeniging and
Natalspruit, explaining that cables had been damaged by
construction works near Mpilisweni station. “This resulted
in intermittent and unpredictable signalling faults, which
necessitated trains being authorised manually.”
AMTRAK PASSENGER FOUND DEAD AT TRACKSIDE
Passenger Barbara Arteta, 63, who went missing from
a southbound Amtrak train on 9 September, was found
dead beside the track in Jesup, Georgia. Husband Eugene
Arteta, with whom she was travelling overnight from Lorton,
Virginia, to Sanford in Florida, said the last time he saw his Red tail-end marker in place, the little train makes its way northwards.
wife was early in the morning of 9 September. When he Details of the accident that caused the damage are not known.
www.railwaysafrica.com / / /
32 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
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Plasser South Africa (PTY) Ltd
20 Lautre Rd, Stormill, Roodepoort; P O Box 103 Maraisburg, 1700
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Heritage weekend commemorative trains
by John Batwell (who rode the special from Pretoria to Cullinan)
The running of special trains to celebrate the forming of the South African Railways on 31 May 2010 and the
150th anniversary of very ﬁrst public train on 26 June 1860 were deferred to the Heritage Day weekend in
September because of the Soccer World Cup.
On 26 September, 72-year-old Henschel-built class NG15 no
119 Lesley boasted an eye-catching commemoration headboard
depicting three locomotives - steam, diesel and electric. The
610mm gauge special train travelled from Port Elizabeth to
Witteklip (40km). Photo: Nerina Skuy
On Heritage Day 24 September 2010, 150 years after the Two days later, on Sunday 26 September, a special 8-coach
very ﬁrst train ran in South Africa, a steam-hauled special train operated by Pretoria’s Friends of the Rail (FoTR) ran
replicated the original trip to the Point, where a plaque was from their Hermanstad site to Cullinan (about 50km).
unveiled. The commemorative journey started at Durban’s Enthusiasts travelled in appropriate period dress and SAR
main station and ran via the Esplanade, as there is no uniforms. Immaculately turned out Krupp-built class 19D
longer a line from Market Square - the direct route to the domeless 4-8-2 no 2650 Cheugnette carried an impressive
harbour having been taken up in 1936. Comprising eight headboard featuring three locomotives (steam, diesel and
vintage timber-bodied coaches behind 98-year-old North electric) designed by Malcolm Bates of the Railway History
British-built 4-8-2 class 3BR no 1486 Maureen, the train was Group in Cape Town.
supplied and worked by the Umgeni Steam Railway (USR).
The operation involved diesel haulage of the set at 06:00 One coach was set aside for members of the Railway
from USR’s Inchanga station, 62km west of Durban on the Society of Southern Africa (RSSA) and the Reefsteamers
old main-line, to Cato Ridge junction, then 72km eastwards club. Before setting out, early morning refreshments were
down the “new” main-line to Durban. A second plaque served at FoTR’s Hermanstad base in Pretoria West. Hand-
was unveiled at Durban’s main station to mark the 100th outs included milestones in South African rail administration
anniversary of the South African Railways, which came into and a beautiful, full-colour current system map. Copies of
being on 31 May 1910. the Sunday Times were on board, carrying no less than three
rail-related stories that weekend – the Sanrasm theft debacle
On the homeward run, brake failure on one class 34 diesel at Chamdor, the branch line concessioning debate and
near Cato Ridge saw the 3BR making her own way back Malagasy’s Micheline railcar experience.
with her train, reaching Inchanga right on time at 18:00 - a
ﬁtting end to a most successful day. During a short ceremony on arrival at Cullinan, railway
personalities Chris de Vos and Peter Stow made short
34 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Class 19D 2650 breaks the tape at Cullinan on 26 September. FoTR member Liesl On 24 September 2010, 98-year-old class 3BR no 1486 re-enacts the arrival of
Hagen (daughter of former Railways Africa editor, the late Helmuth Hagen) took South Africa’s very first train at the Point, Durban, exactly 100 years and three
her Adler bike on the train, to ride through the town. Photo: J Batwell. months before. Photo: FoTR/Aidan McCarthy.
presentations, after which the 19D pulled forward to break
After lunch at a local lodge for the 40 or so VIP guests, the
train made a false start for the beneﬁt of photographers,
followed by a somewhat stop-start return due to a
succession of signal stops. Sadly, the view from the train
windows along the old Delagoa Bay railway route between
Rayton and Pretoria is no longer what it was, being
characterised today by runaway informal settlements.
Not even an 83km/h wind – hallmark of the Eastern Cape
city of Port Elizabeth- could stop the Apple Express when it
steamed out at 10:00 on Sunday 26 September in tribute to
150 years of rail in South Africa.
Over the same long weekend in September, both a Sanrasm and Reefsteamers’
To the delight of passengers, 72-year-old Henschel-built public train were in operation to the village of Magaliesburg, each behind
2-8-2 class NG15 no 119 Lesley was saluted with waves, 82-year-old Henschel-built class 12AR 4-8-2 no 1535. Photo: David Benn.
shouts of encouragement and honking horns as she wound
her way through the western suburbs of Port Elizabeth.
At Witteklip (40km), the train was hosted by Jana Rademeyer
of Slipperﬁelds dairy farm, through which the line runs.
Guest speaker Mandlakazi Skeﬁle, newly-appointed CEO
for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, stressed the importance
of the Apple Express to local tourism and the need for
South Africans to be able to experience the valuable
heritage it had to offer.
Wes Kruger, chairman of the PE Apple Express section
21 company, paid tribute to those who work to keep the
Apple on track despite many challenges – notably lack of
funding for essential rolling stock restoration.
Transnet Freight Rail generously sponsored the
considerable costs of organising the activities at Durban,
and waived track access charges that would have been The plaque unveiled at the Point. Photo: FoTR/Aidan McCarthy.
applicable normally to all the steam trains run during the
www.railwaysafrica.com / / /
www.railwaysafrica.com September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 35
END OF THE LINE
Many Rails Under The Bridge
ON STEAM TRAINS, TOURISM & RAILWAY ADVERTISING
We’ve brought you the news about railways
Compliments on a wonderful magazine and to your great
advertisers - who make it all possible. Both the shoddy - and those in great shape,
From the ﬁfties right up to the present:
As an avid enthusiast, involved in railway heritage From Cairo way down to the Cape.
operations and running steam-hauled day-trips around the
Pretoria area for the public, one wonders whether people Most obvious, the changes in traction
realise how much time-consuming volunteer work is done Meant steam giving way to the new.
by private individuals - work to keep steam locomotives and Electrics and diesels took over
associated heritage coaching stock operational so that the
And brand new allegiances grew.
general public can remain aware of our rich railway heritage.
The amount of public interest when excursion steam trains Everywhere, changes were evident.
are run by the handful of clubs around the country is The media sure didn’t stand still.
absolutely incredible. To see the enjoyment on young and They’d an unmistakable message:
old faces, people of all classes and races, enjoying a day’s Keep up - or you’re over the hill.
outing on a steam train - it’s fantastic, a well worthwhile
reward for all the hard work.
The in-things today are web pages,
It is a pity though that these efforts to retain a part of our For digital wizardry rules.
heritage, goes largely unnoticed by the South African Print is no longer the fashion,
railway administration itself, the government and even the The challenge is rethinking tools.
tourism authorities. Here we have a great tourist drawcard,
not only for the steam train of yesteryear but one that could So here, having come to the crossroads,
meaningfully beneﬁt the provinces - and the country itself. We’ve done a complete redeﬁne:
Print’s to go out of the window;
No government or other funding is forthcoming for railway
heritage in South Africa; the clubs battle it out alone. Only From November we’re solely on-line.
the Kwazulu Natal-based Sisonke Stimela operation in
Creighton has had good ﬁnancial and supportive backing - LRD
from local government. In a number of other countries,
direct governmental support is forthcoming for heritage
rail activities, speciﬁcally to build upon and enhance the
very considerable tourist potential. In the UK for instance,
moneys have been made available from the national lottery.
To restore a locomotive or coach to operating condition is
a very expensive process. We do the best we can with
revenue earned from day trips run, ploughing everything
back into restoration and other projects.
Reading your magazine and the advertisements publicising
prominent companies that offer a multitude of impressive
railway services to make things happen, from track NRZ REFURBISHING MORE STEAM
development to signalling, and impressive locomotive and Steam trains have proved so popular with tourists that the
coaching projects, could one suggest – what a wonderful National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is to refurbish seven
gesture it would be if one (maybe more) of these major rail additional locomotives, bringing the operational ﬂeet to ten.
players were to brand themselves as partners in heritage A recent trial run from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls was very
railway activities. well received, public relations manager Fanuel Masikati told
the Bulawayo Chronicle.”Our target was 200 passengers
What could be better than to but we ended up with more than 300.” Since then enquiries
see a locomotive restored to have ﬂooded in locally and internationally from individuals
operation, sponsored by a and families who want to ride on the trains. NRZ plans to
name well-known in the world run steam safaris on special days over three routes from
of contemporary railways? Bulawayo - to Victoria Falls, Plumtree and Mbalabala. “Right
A plaque or other means now we are going to exhibit the safari train at the Sanganai-
of identifying the sponsor Hlanganani travel expo, to be held this year in Harare,”
would by no means look out Masikati says.
of place as the steam loco
pounds proudly along with
its 600-odd passengers on
a day out – possibly along
the very tracks which the
sponsor company may be
Food for thought. Let’s get
branding on Heritage and not
just on everyday railway
- Trainman (Pretoria)
Class 20A Garratt no 741 on Victoria Falls bridge. Photo: R Clatworthy.
36 RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 2010 www.railwaysafrica.com
Transnet Rail Engineering
Specialists in maintenance, repair, upgrade,
conversion and manufacture of rolling stock,
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Tel: +27 (0)12 391 1304 Fax: +27 (0)12 391 1371 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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