Railways Africa July/Aug 2010


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Railways Africa July/Aug 2010

  1. 1. RAILWAYS | HARBOURS | MINING | INTERMODAL | COMMUTER WWW.RAILWAYSANDHARBOURS.COM For further information, rates and booking details contact Sue Klomp Tel: +27 72 777 0092 Email: sue@railwaysandharbours.com 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. CONTRIBUTORS Bruno Martin Dave van der Meulen Dietmar Fiedel Dylan Knott Eugene Armer Jacque Wepener John Batwell Malcolm Bates Martin Welzel Richard Grönstedt Paul Roos Peter Rogers PUBLISHERS Phillippa Dean Barbara Sheat EDITOR Rollo Dickson DESIGN & LAYOUT Grazia Muto ADVERTISING Sue Klomp SUBSCRIPTIONS Kim Bevan Affiliated Associations & Societies Railways Africa Rail Link Communications cc P.O. Box 4794 Randburg 2125 Tel: +27 87 940 9278 E-mail: stationmaster@railwaysafrica.com Twitter: railwaysafrica Website: www.railwaysafrica.com ISSN 1029 - 2756 The copyright on all material in this magazine is expressly reserved and vested in Rail Link Communications cc, unless otherwise stated. No material may be reproduced in any form, in part or in whole, without the permission of the publishers. Please note that the opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers of Rail Link Communications unless otherwise stated.
  2. 2. barriers has been questioned, but full barriers capable of trapping a vehicle between them pose a greater hazard. Our thoughts are with the driver of Metrorail train 2309, the 06:35 from Bellville to Eerste River, doomed to relive the nightmare of the Blackheath collision every time his train nears a crossing. One doesn’t easily forget crashing into a minibus filled with children and seeing them hurtling through the air to their almost certain death, nor seeing the carnage afterwards at first hand. Getting freight off the roads and back to rail is a South African priority: that’s official. And here’s a new angle on the theme. According to independent researcher Peter MacKenzie, up to 45 road deaths could be saved every year in Australia if 15% of road freight were transferred to rail, with a potential saving to the nation of more than A$1 billion. In addition, 275 people or more could be saved from paraplegia, quadriplegia, brain damage and other serious, long-term disabilities. “This is not a competition with the trucking industry; we are simply advocating optimisation of the best mode of transport for each type of freight task,” Australasian Railway Association (ARA) chief executive Bryan Nye emphasises. “Our vision is that where there is a viable rail network, such as between the capital cities, freight is transported by an efficient rail network to integrated intermodal terminals where it is forwarded to its city location by smaller trucks, preferably avoiding peak periods of congestion.” Other aims common to both Australia and South Africa have to do with level crossing accidents, a subject highlighted by the recent horror collision at Cape Town’s Blackheath. In the view of Rail Safety Regulator executive Carvel Webb, interviewed on Contents Comment South African Rack Railway 2 Open Day at Cape Town 7 Opinion 8 Industry Comment 10 Africa Update 12 SA Rail News 18 Mishaps & Blunders 24 Review 28 Railway Heritage 30 End of the Line 32 South African Rack Railway > Page 2 Chipata-Mchinji Line opens > Page 16 Green Light for Atlantic Rail > Page 7 No cash, no trains > Page 32 Another Side of Railways > Page 10 Big manganese production boost > Page 23 radio, driving around a lowered boom is like running a red traffic light, with every chance of hitting a 30-ton truck. Let’s develop this analogy. To eliminate traffic lights, one has to build flyover bridges - or reconstruct intersections as traffic circles. Circles being inapplicable to level crossings, we are left with bridges. Now a single bridge costs in the region of R40 million, so replacing every road intersection in the country is right out of the question. For similar reasons, every level crossing in the country isn’t going to be replaced with a bridge tomorrow. In any case, if a minibus driver can approach a crossing on the wrong side of the road and drive round lowered gates and into a train, what is to stop another minibus driver from going up a bridge approach-ramp on the wrong side of the road and colliding head-on with something coming the other way? We might be able to replace one or two crossings with bridges, but which are these going to be, ie how does one choose? The busiest, in terms of vehicle totals and number of trains, are not always those with the most accidents. As for protective measures - no matter how ingenious, they are never going to deter people determined to dice with death. Railway practice of using half Phillippa Dean July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 1www.railwaysafrica.com
  3. 3. NOTABLE ENGINEERING IN MPUMALANGA, 100 YEARS AGO With railways in this country celebrating a century and a half of service this year, Bruno Martin delves into their colourful history and tells us about: SOUTH AFRICA’S ONLY RACK-ASSISTED RAILWAY: Waterval Onder to Waterval Boven From June 1894 until April 1908, a small fleet of steam locomotives, each equipped with a cogwheel drive, was assigned the duty of assisting trains on a rack-rail section between Waterval Onder and Waterval Boven in the Elands River valley. This section of the Eastern Line (“Oosterlijn”), linking Pretoria to Delagoa Bay, has been South Africa’s only rack-assisted railway, and one of only two on the African continent1 . By comparison with other rack-assisted railways worldwide, the incline in this case was neither overly steep nor was it of any significant length, but features nevertheless as one of 175 locations listed where a rack system was installed. Whereas many rack-assisted railways in Europe and the USA have remained in operation since their inception more than 100 years ago, the rack operation in South Africa lasted only a little under 14 years before it was discarded and replaced with a more easily graded alignment. RACK AND COGWHEEL SYSTEM In terms of this system, known sometimes as a rack-and- pinion railway, the driving mechanism of the locomotive is equipped with a cogwheel whose pinions or “teeth” mesh with a “toothed” bar or “ladder” mounted midway between the running rails. As the pinion teeth engage and mesh with the rack-rail, the tractive force is transmitted from the driving axle to the cogwheel and the locomotive is propelled forwards or backwards as required. The assistance of a rack and cogwheel system is essential on a steep incline, where the adhesive weight of a locomotive is insufficient to apply enough tractive force on the driving wheels without slipping excessively on the rail surface2 . More importantly, to avert the risk of a locomotive - with its trailing load - sliding out of control during the descent, the cog wheel drive is crucial for maintaining braking power. The cogwheel is either fixed to the axle of a SOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAY CCOMPILED BY BRUNO MARTIN 9/2008 'Horseshoe' Old Tunnel Double track Waterval Boven-Ondervalle Old single Track Bridge Original (built 1964) (459 metres) (built 1905) (built 1965) (built 1974) (built 1907) (built 1893) River Elandsrivier WATERVAL ONDER DEVIATION Waterval Onder Distance from PRETORIA WATERVAL BOVEN WATERVAL BOVEN - Elands Road Tunnel (305 metres) 1200 1400 1500 metres 10005000 (Ondervalle) 1400 Machadodorp 1500 1500 1600 No.1 Tunnel (381 metres) No.2 Tunnel (190 metres) (316 metres) 1400 15 November 1949. Location of major railway accident Elands River Bridge 1400 1400 1300 Elands River Falls NZASM Tunnel (213 metres) Bridge Five Arch Contours at 100 metre intervals Nelspruit 1400 1217m 1421m 1200 1400 1500 1400 1500 1500 1600 1400 1400 1300 1400 272km 259km River Elandsrivier Elands Elands River Falls WATERVAL ONDER DEVIATION Distance from PRETORIA WATERVAL BOVEN - NZASM rack railway Present alignment CCOMPILED BY BRUNO MARTIN 9/2008 'Horseshoe' Old Tunnel Double track Waterval Boven-Ondervalle twinning of tunnels and electrification 1964-1966. Track duplication to Ondervalle, alignment modifications, Old single Track Bridge Original (built 1964) (459 metres) (built 1905) (built 1965) (built 1974) (built 1907) (built 1893) Road Tunnel (305 metres) metres 10005000 Machadodorp No.1 Tunnel (381 metres) No.2 Tunnel (190 metres) (316 metres) 1400 15 November 1949. Location of major railway accident Elands River Bridge NZASM Tunnel (213 metres) Bridge Five Arch Contours at 100 metre intervals Nelspruit Original NZASM line opened 20 June 1894. Distance: 12 km (7 miles 40 chains). Deviation opened 1 April 1908 (single track). Gradient: 1-in-50 compensated, 125-metre min. radius curves. Distance: 6.77 km (4 miles 37 chains). rack section (system Riggenbach). Ruling gradient: 1-in-20, with 3382-metre long Waterval Onder WATERVAL BOVEN (Ondervalle) 4 N 4 N Starting point of the rack. Section of the original rack preserved at Waterval Boven. SOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAY RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 20102 www.railwaysafrica.com
  4. 4. SOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAY set of driving wheels, or sometimes attached to a separate axle. In the case of more complex locomotives, a second motion mechanism, entirely independent of the adhesion engine, is activated to drive the cogwheel(s). The assembly of the Riggenbach system3 , as used between Waterval Onder and Waterval Boven, comprised two parallel-running, vertically-mounted steel flanged plates, spaced about 100mm apart, with the intervening channel spanned by a row of closely-spaced, tapered rungs. The arrangement of the rungs gives the Riggenbach system its distinctive ladder-like appearance, but its complexity - particularly for turnouts and crossings - made it expensive to build and was prone to rungs becoming loose or breaking. CONSTRUCTION OF THE EASTERN LINE The Netherlands South African Railway Company (Nederlandsche Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorwegmaatschappij – NZASM) was formed on 21 June 1887 with a loan of 2 million Guilders raised in Holland and Germany. While the railway surveyors started setting out the route from Komatipoort, construction on the section from Delagoa Bay in then Portuguese East Africa (present day Maputo in Mozambique) progressed rapidly so that around 80km was completed by December 1887; but then work was suspended until a dispute over the precise location of the boundary with the then Transvaal Republic was resolved. Construction was resumed in 1891 but the malaria-infested region west of Komatipoort claimed the lives of hundreds of construction workers. The first locomotive crossed the bridge over the Komati River on 14 May 1892 and by 20 June the line was opened as far as Nelspruit (92km). From 1 June, 1893, the line was in use as far as Alkmaar. Further sections were opened in stages until on 20 January 1894, it was opened to Waterval Onder. Beyond, rugged terrain presented the greatest engineering challenge of the entire route. Passage up the Elands River valley was blocked effectively by a sheer rock wall, with the river tumbling 95m over the cliff face. The engineers decided to instal a Riggenbach rack section graded at 1:20 over a length of 3,382km. By this means, the railway was able to climb 208m in a rail distance of only 6.77km. A 213m tunnel – the only one on the line - was also constructed, and on 20 June 1894, the first train arrived in Waterval Boven, 94km from Nelspruit. Tracklaying continued westwards without further engineering difficulties over the highveld plateau, the highest point - near Belfast - being 1,920m above sea level. On 20 October 1894, at Balmoral, the work team met its counterpart which had been constructing the railway eastwards from Pretoria. President Paul Kruger put in the last bolt at Wilge River on 2 November and a preliminary service comprising three through passenger trains a week was inaugurated on 18 November. Full service commenced on 1 January 1895. A lavish formal opening of the railway took place in Pretoria on 8 July 1895. Except for the rack section, the entire Eastern Line (“Oosterlijn”) from Komatipoort to Pretoria was built with a ruling gradient of 1:50, uncompensated for curves of 150m minimum radius. CONSTRUCTION OF THE TUNNEL Work on the tunnel commenced from both ends on 18 October 1892, using compressed air drills for the drive at the ceiling for about 1.5 to 1.8m, followed by benching or widening. A deep cutting, 914m in length through solid rock led to the tunnel entrance at the Waterval Boven end. Working conditions were dangerous because of falling rocks. The tunnel was holed through on 9 September 1893. When the centre and levels were checked in the middle of the bore, they were correct to within 50mm. This was an amazing achievement, considering the tunnel was located on a curve of 225m radius. OPERATING THE RACK LINE Motive power for the rack section came in the form of three 29 ton 0-4-2 tank locomotives, ordered from the Emil Kessler Maschinenfabrik in Esslingen, Germany, and placed in service in 18944 . A fourth engine of the same design was obtained from the Emil Kessler Works in 1897. From photographs it appears that the driving mechanism comprised a direct-driven cogwheel located on a separate axle between the two sets of driving wheels. Once the teeth engaged with the rack, they remained in mesh from end to end. The tricky part came at the entry or “tongue” at either end of the rack, when the pinion first engaged with the rack ladder. Careless handling by the engine driver could cause serious damage to the rack teeth. For “up” journeys, the rack locomotive was placed at the rear of the train to act as pusher. On “down” journeys, it was placed at the head of the train to provide braking power, and the train locomotive brought up at the rear. The old NZASM tunnel is a declared national monument. NZASM 0-4-2 rack loco “Republiek”. SOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAY July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3www.railwaysafrica.com
  5. 5. Each load was limited to just 140 tons. Average trip duration was an hour, which included marshalling the load, coaling and watering. Being single track with no passing loop, only one train could occupy the line at a time. The volume of traffic increased steadily. During 1903, 406,000 tons had been conveyed from Delagoa Bay to the Rand. This figure increased to 458,000 tons in 1905, the total tonnage moved that year amounting to 687,000. With capacity limited to 2,500 tons a day, the rack section was becoming a serious impediment. During 1905, two 84 ton 4-6-4 rack-adhesion, 4-cylinder tank locomotives5 arrived from the Vulcan Foundry, designated as class M by the Central South African Railways (CSAR - formed by amalgamation of the NZASM and Free State railways following the Boer War). The two outside cylinders, 457mm in diameter and with a 660mm stroke, drove the conventional coupled wheels. The rack engine, which was independent of the adhesion engine, also comprised 2 similarly-dimensioned cylinders, driving the cogwheels carried on a frame suspended from the leading and coupled wheel axles. When engaging the rack, both sets of cylinders were steamed and traction was obtained from both the rack pinions and the adhesion driving wheels. Even with the two additional rack locomotives in service, chief locomotive superintendent L S Smart of the Central South African Railways (CSAR) reported in 1906 that the original batch of rack engines was fast being worn out. Consequently, the project of deviating the line received urgent attention. THE DEVIATION The route chosen for the deviation was designed to spread the climb over a track length of 12km on a compensated grade of 1:50 and the minimum curve radius was set at 125.3m (14°). According to B P Wall, chief engineer of the CSAR, engineers of the NZASM had already surveyed alternative routes on a 1:30 and 1:40 grade, but this would have entailed work of such an expensive nature that construction was deferred until the volume of traffic justified the capital outlay. In early 1904, a traverse was run between Waterval Boven and Waterval Onder on a 1:30 grade up to the Elands River falls, but gaining the necessary elevation was problematic without resorting to tunnels and other elaborate engineering. An easily graded route over the initial 3km from Waterval Boven down to the Elands River was not difficult to find. The crossing was made over a curved bridge comprising five 15.2m spans towering 18m above the river bed. Soon thereafter, the first krantz, a sheer cliff face rising out of the valley necessitated benching the line out of the hillside. At the 4.4km post, a deep cutting was unavoidable on the approach to no 1 tunnel, a straight bore 381m in length. Beginning on 25 November 1906, three “Climax” drills running at 100rpm were employed at each heading with The original five-arch stone bridge over the Dwaalheuwel Spruit is a declared national monument. steam supplied by two locomotive boilers. Break-through came on 17 July 1907, then the tunnel was widened out by hand. Fissures and clay seams were encountered and since, in many places, the roof appeared to be flaking away, a concrete lining was applied throughout. Since the distance from the east portal to the next cliff was less than 150m, a tight curve on an embankment was necessary. Thereafter, the line followed an easier alignment until the 7.6km post, where a very steep spur blocked the way. Here no 2 tunnel - on a curve 190m in length - proved more troublesome than the other due to unstable geology, with much of the rock crushed and distorted. Heavy timbering extending some 50m was needed for casting concrete 450mm thick to line the roof. The final part of the descent was made around a tight horseshoe curve to bring the line down to the Elands River. As the route approached the river near the 11.2km post, the horizontal distance between the upper and the lower levels of the track formation was only 7.62m, while the vertical difference was 32m. A curved bridge comprising five spans was provided to carry the line over the river at the 12km post. A junction with the original line was made about 1,600m west of Waterval Onder. There were 56 curves on the deviation, of which 16 were of 14° (125.3m radius). The new alignment, costing the CSAR administration some £140,000, was opened on 1 April 1908. At £18,667 per mile (1.6km), which ranked as the most expensive piece of railway built at that time. Elimination of the need to split loads saved an estimated £7,000 to £10,000 per annum in operating costs - both the locomotive depot and repair workshop at Waterval Onder were closed. Partial doubling and a further deviation of the line was undertaken between Waterval Boven and Ondervalle (6.09km) in 1965. This included a new bridge over the Elands River and twinning the tunnels. Google Earth imagery reveals that the upper crossing of the Elands River was made on a new curved bridge. Scars left by earlier earthworks on the adjacent slopes suggest the line was deviated from the original crossing, where the piers of the old bridge6 are still in place. The twin no 1 tunnel, built in 1964, measures 459m. Curiously, though tunnel no 2 was twinned in 1965, this section of the line has remained single track. GMAM Garratt near Waterval Onder prior to electrification . SOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAYSOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAY RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 20104 www.railwaysafrica.com
  6. 6. Going by the extended tunnel symbol depicted on the 1:50,000 topographic map 2530CB Waterval Boven (2nd Edition 1988), the original 1905 tunnel appears to have been abandoned and incorporated on a maintenance track. There is another section of double track, 2km in length, beginning just before the new lower bridge over the Elands River (the structural remains of the old single track bridge have been left standing alongside) and ending at Waterval Onder (12.75km). It would seem this lower bridge and doubling of the track is more recent. The complete line from Witbank to Komatipoort was opened to electric traction in April 1966. About 15 years after the clang and clatter of the rack railway ended in 1908, the old tunnel was used for road purposes for a short while but stands today as a silent monument to a great pre-1900 engineering achievement – and those who died building the “Oosterlijn”. FOOTNOTES 1. Rack assistance was used at only two locations in Africa. The other (from 1905 until 1948) was in the Lengue Gorge on Angola’s Benguela Railway. Both employed the Riggenbach system. Two lesser known rack railway examples existed on islands off the coast: Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea, and on Madeira. 2.An incline of around 1:14 is considered the limit on which a conventional adhesion locomotive with a trailing load, under optimal conditions, can ascend without excessive wheel slippage, and - more importantly - not slide out of control during the descent. 3.The first rack and pinion system, patented by John Blenkinsop in England in 1811, was used at the Middleton Railway in Leeds from 1812 to 1835. In 1871, the first section of the Arth-Goldau-Rigi railway was opened near Lucerne, Switzerland, employing a ladder-type rack system patented eight years previously by Swiss locomotive engineer Niklaus Riggenbach (1817-1899). It was considered an improvement on the system invented by an American, Sylvester Marsh, which was used up Mount Washington, New Hampshire, USA in 1869. Both take the form of a steel ladder, but whereas Marsh used rungs of circular section, Riggenbach’s were tapered to ensure better locking of the cogs and to counteract any tendency of the teeth to climb out of the rack. Later rack designs, such as Abt, Strub and Lamella, use one or more sets of solid bars or blades mounted vertically and have the “teeth” machined to a precise profile within them. This ensures continuous positive engagement of the pinions and can be accommodated in a very small track radius. Later forms of rack/cogwheel systems were developed and named after their inventors: Abt, Locher, & Strub. A more recent adaptation, the Lamella system, was devised by Von Roll, one of Switzerland’s longest established industrial manufacturing companies (now part of Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr). 4.NZASM “32 tonner” rack locomotives no 991 “Vierklem”, 992 “Drieklem” and 993 “Republiek” were placed in service in 1894. No 994 “Vaderland” followed in 1897. 5.CSAR class M rack locomotives, nos 995 & 996, placed in service in 1905. According to D F Holland, these locomotives were failures. The rack equipment was removed in 1906 and they were scrapped in 1912. 6.See page xx for 1949 Elands River bridge tragedy. RACK ASSISTED RAILWAYS: In today’s world of high speed and heavy-haul railways, a rack-assisted railway tends to be seen as a curiosity of yesteryear’s technology. Yet, there was a time when they were the aristocrats of the railways, engineered to follow the most audacious alignments and venturing to precarious locations which adhesion railways could not reach. Notably in Switzerland, rack-assisted railways still perform a vital role in the transport network; no other country has so many still in use. A number of lines with rack-assisted sections continue to operate in other parts of Europe and Great Britain, the USA and Australia. Typical present-day Swiss line using the Riggenbach rack system. Section of the NZASM Riggenbach rack rail. "RACK LADDER" 3 ft. 6 in. (1067 mm) TRACK DETAIL FOR SYSTEM RIGGENBACH RACK REFERENCES: 1. BULPIN T V. Lost Trails of the Transvaal, The Eastern Line. Cape Town, Howard Timmins, 1956. 2 DE JONG R C, VAN DER WALT G M and HEYDENRYCH D H. NZASM 100 1877- 1899. The buildings, steam engines and structures of the Netherlands South African Railway Company. Pretoria, Chris van Rensburg Publications, 1988. 3. HAINE G S. Through the Transvaal’s first tunnel. South African Railways & Harbours Magazine, October 1953, pp 733-745. 4. HOLLAND D F. Steam Locomotives of the South Africa Railways. Cape Town, Purnell, 1971. vol 1: 1859-1910. 5. JEHAN D. Rack Railways of Australia. Sydney, David Jehan (publisher), 2003. 6. MESSERSCHMIDT W. Zahnradbahnen - gestern-heute-in aller Welt. Stuttgart, Franck’hsche Verlagshandlung, 1972. 7. Report of the General Manager of South African Railways, UG 59, 1965/66, p 50. 8. WALL B P. The Waterval Boven Deviation, Transvaal. South African Railway Magazine, vol 2, no 3, June 1908, pp 131-137. 9. Information on lengths and dates of construction of the tunnels, was supplied by David Easton, and is gratefully acknowledged. SOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAYSOUTH AFRICAN RACK RAILWAY RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 20106 www.railwaysafrica.com
  7. 7. Green Light for Atlantic Rail Ian Pretorius’s Atlantic Rail steam rail-tour company has been given the go ahead to run trains on Western Cape Metrorail lines. The interface agreement between the company and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has been renewed and the Railway Safety Regulator’s permit reissued. “We’re ready to go” says an excited Pretorius. “We were actually ready for the Soccer World Cup, but could not get permission to run any trains over that period. Our first trip is scheduled for Heritage Day (24 September) and we might even slot in an earlier run”. The situation has been complicated by closure of the line between Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town (6.3km) since last November due to sea damage. Nobody seems to know when this scenic section of single track will be repaired and reopened. “But it has been agreed that we can operate as far as Fish Hoek. Buses will transport anyone wanting to go on to Simon’s Town. We will also stop at Kalk Bay - for those who want to jump off there and perhaps ‘do lunch’ at the famous Brass Bell Restaurant. So there are a lot of options for a day out.” The train consists of 2-8-4 class 24 no 3655 (North British Locomotive Company, 1948) and four passenger coaches built between 1922 and 1953. The equipment belongs to the Cape Western Vintage Railway and is operated by Atlantic Rail under agreement. To publicise upcoming operations, an open day was held at Atlantic Rail’s Monument Station (formerly the parcels platforms at Cape Town Station) on Sunday 8 August. Despite starting off as a typical wet Cape winter’s day, the turnout was considered ‘extremely good’, with over 2,500 visitors attending. A number of railway-related stalls and displays had been set up and class 26 no 3450, the Red Devil, (currently in storage at Monument Station) had been placed in a prominent position after being very smartly turned out by Atlantic Rail volunteers. But the star attraction was undoubtedly a ride in the train behind the class 24 on a short up-and-down operation out of the station. For those of us who grew up with steam, it is sobering to think that for the younger passengers this was their first experience of a real steam locomotive! If Atlantic Rail’s plans come to fruition, this will hopefully not be their last… Details of planned trips can be obtained from Atlantic Rail at info@atlanticrail.co.za or by writing to PO Box 5333, Cape Town 8000. A supporting Friends of Atlantic Rail group has been formed and will provide a volunteer base to assist with maintenance and operation. For further details regarding FoAR, contact Brett Radloff at brett@atlanticrail.co.za or at the above address. - Peter Rogers Class 24 no 3655 and 26 no 3450: the star attractions at Atlantic Rail’s successful open day. Photo: Peter Rogers OPEN DAY AT CAPE TOWN July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 7www.railwaysafrica.com OPEN DAY AT CAPE TOWN
  8. 8. PETE THE PUNDIT muses over – CHINA’S GROWING AFRICAN FOOTPRINT, TICKET-MACHINE JARGON, PENALISING LATE-RUNNERS and MOONING AMTRAK MANY A FINE WORD Official descriptions of the rail accord signed between China and South Africa bristle with fine words: words like consolidating, expanding, deepening, focusing, cooperating, promoting, benefiting, empowering; even “win-win”. Win-win has a nice, Chinese-sounding ring about it. Reading between the lines: China is to magnanimously share things like know-how and experience with South Africa, and will happily supply useful things like locomotives and rolling stock. To assist South Africa in accepting this obviously unbeatable offer, generous loans are to be made available. In other words, China is a very willing seller and South Africa, on the face of it, an attractive potential buyer. After all - this year alone - it had so much money over after paying for healthcare, education, electricity and other priority essentials that it found many billions of Rand, Yen or whatever for recreation and related infrastructure. South Africa, we are told, will only need to make nominal down payments. For instance, in respect of the proposed high-speed railway from Johannesburg to Durban (we all know this is what transport ministers Ndebele and Zhijun really have in mind), a mere 40% of the total cost is hinted at. So if the line in question costs $US30 billion – this figure has been mentioned – we are in for a paltry R90 billion. No doubt that is an eminently reasonable outlay, but one foresees difficult people asking embarrassing questions like “How many world-class soccer stadiums could one build for R90 billion?” Back in April, after minister Ndebele returned from his earlier jaunt to China, this column speculated that his high- speed dream to Durban might set us back R869 billion (at today’s prices). The calculation derived from the 80km-will- probably-cost-R30 billion Gautrain precedent. Durban is about nine times that distance, we pointed out, and all sorts of obstacles (such as the Drakensberg) lie in the way. Tony Fisher, writing in Business Report, thinks R1 trillion might be nearer the mark, once the thing actually gets built. Getting back to our new-found sponsors, they seem to know what they are doing - certainly in the running of very fast trains. On the other side of the coin, there have been two or three hiccups with past and present Chinese railway involvements in Africa. Four troublesome Chinese-built locomotives imported into Namibia “at very competitive prices” in 2004 have been declared unfixable and are currently for sale as spare parts. A diesel-multiple-unit train of similar vintage also had problems and has been out of service for several years. Nigeria employed Chinese specialists several times in recent times and seemed – until very recently – to have little to show for it. According to a typical story (1 October 2002) in This Day, published in Lagos, “Most of the locomotives supplied by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) have collapsed”. In the capital, Abuja, government funding was being allocated so slowly to building the new light rail line that the work – in the early 2010 view of sceptical residents - would take 100 years. China responded helpfully with a loan worth $US500m. (The contractor for this $US840m project just happens to be the CCECC). In April 2010 however, a majority of government senators raised strong objections to the interest applicable. For a project on this scale, they argued, 10% is outrageous and very likely the highest in the world: “It is unacceptable and unprecedented.” Further east, much was made of the Chinese-built Tanzam railway from Zambia to Dar-es-Salaam. Today both infrastructure and rolling stock are dilapidated and barely operational, though obviously this reflects more on the quality of local management and maintenance than on China – which recently agreed to pick up the pieces (and renew a sizeable loan). Even further east, during June 2010, Chairman of Pakistan national assembly’s standing committee on railways Sardar Ayaz Sadiq reportedly criticised 114 locomotives supplied by Dong Fang Electric Corporation of China, saying they were “a total failure”. There was a further issue of allegedly “unauthenticated certificates” praising Chinese locomotives supplied inter alia to the Tanzam railway. No doubt there are other sides to all these stories but the message is fairly clear. Those who import anything from anyone – including China – need to be sure they get value for money. A perception widely held in Africa sees China as a fairy godmother – a view that China is at no pains to dispel. In this context there are two sayings worth bearing in mind: you only get what you pay for, and there’s no such thing as a free Chinese lunch. OPINION Chinese transport minister Liu Zhijun told Ndebele: “We operate 7,000km of high-speed rail - the largest network of high-speed rail in the world.” Profile: 600km of the existing Durban-Johannesburg main-line. There are 27 tunnels, the longest 6km. 100km 200km 300km 400km 500km 600km DRAKENSBURG Standerton1532 Palmford1742 LangsNek1615 Newcastle1187 Alcockspruit1195 Dannhauser1350 Wasbank1075 Wesselsnek1131 Ladysmith1001 Colenso962 Frere1048 Ennersdale1193 Estcourt1168 Hidcote1439 NottinghamRd1465 Cedara1052 Pietermaritzburg676 UmlaasRd794 CatoRidge753 DURBAN8METRESABOVESEALEVEL OPINION RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 20108 www.railwaysafrica.com
  9. 9. CONFUSING TICKET MACHINE JARGON British rail companies are being asked to simplify ticket- issuing machines following a study finding that passengers are being “defeated” by the “bewildering jargon” they encounter. According to customer watchdog Passenger Focus, quoted by the BBC, many travellers prefer queuing to speak to ticket office staff, despite the absence of queues at ticket machines. As a result, waiting times at ticket offices often exceed the five-minute guideline in peak hours. NAZI INVOLVEMENT TO BE DECLARED Some companies bidding for the contract to operate California’s $US45 billion proposed high-speed line between Los Angeles and San Francisco may have difficulty meeting a likely requirement. It seems that any involvement in taking people to work, concentration, prisoner-of-war, or extermination camps between January 1942 and December 1944, will have to be disclosed. Reportedly, the proposal is specifically aimed at Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF - the French national railway). But the measure would also affect any rail firms from Germany, Japan, Spain, and Italy that were involved in transporting prisoners. Executives at Japanese companies are said to be particularly concerned that they may face a public backlash if forced to reveal details of their treatment of American prisoners. The companies will have to provide records of their operations and details of whether they paid restitution to victims. ENERGY SAVING MODE East Midlands Trains – a passenger service operator in the UK - has introduced an energy-saving mode on 27 of its Meridian power units, to help save fuel and cut down pollution. If a train stands in a station for more than seven minutes, most of the engines will shut down automatically, resulting in reduced noise and emissions. Under present circumstances, trains can wait up to an hour at stations such as Nottingham and St Pancras before setting off. When switched on, the energy saving mode slightly reduces interior lighting, cuts the power from the at-seat sockets and limits heating and air conditioning. However, passengers will still be able to board the train while it is in energy saving mode and the doors, display screens, WiFi and toilets will all continue to work as normal. According to East Midlands Trains’ head of environment Matt Browne: “As well as the reduction in emissions, this will save up to 54 litres of diesel per train for every hour they are not used, saving a massive 800,000 litres of fuel every year, which is enough to fill 20 articulated road tankers. There will be further benefits such as improved fleet reliability and cleaner and quieter stations and depots.” AUSTRALIAN PROJECT NOT VIABLE A recently completed cost-benefit study on the $4.7 billion proposed Melbourne-Brisbane line found the project would have a negative net worth, even if construction were delayed until 2040 to allow for freight traffic demand to grow. “Inland Rail will not generate sufficient access revenue relative to costs to make it financially viable. The total nominal capital and operating costs exceeded the total nominal track access revenues, regardless of the assumed operational start date of 2020, 2030 or 2040,” the Australian Rail Track Corporation study concluded. The study also found that the inland line would cut the traffic on the coastal Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane to Sydney routes by a third. This would have a negative impact equivalent to A$1.6 billion. It would also threaten the future of existing railways through Sydney. MELBOURNE DELAYS PENALISED Melbourne’s train concessionaire Metro has agreed that A$4 million in revenue be withheld in recognition of continued poor punctuality. The company is to implement a number of initiatives to boost performance, to better meet passengers’ expectations. Public transport minister Martin Pakula explains that the franchise agreement between Metro and the state enables the Victorian Government to take action above the normal penalties imposed on public transport operators for failing to meet prescribed targets. “We are sending a strong message to Metro, that the community expects and deserves better performance from their train system,” Pakula said. On top of the improvements agreed by Metro and the Department of Transport, a record A$220 million is to be spent during the financial year upgrading and improving key infrastructure. MOONING AMTRAK IN CALIFORNIA Thirty years ago, a patron of the Mugs Away Saloon, across the street from the tracks in Laguna Niguel, California, offered to buy a drink for anyone who would “moon” a passing Amtrak train. Anyway, that’s how the story goes. The fact of the matter is that ever since, in an annual ritual, locals have lined up to bare their bottoms to passing trains. There were about 100 participants this July - a whole lot less than the number seen in years gone by. It appears that mass action involving thousands was discouraged by a police crackdown, following complaints – something to do with variations on the theme. OPINION East Midlands Trains: a class 222 “Meridian” set. Photo: P Sangwell. In South Africa, Gautrain is a prominent user of automated ticket-issuing equipment. OPINION July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 9www.railwaysafrica.com
  10. 10. INDUSTRY COMMENT INTRODUCTION This month Railways Africa features a fascinating field that bears penetrating thought. Appreciate first that railway strengths rest on genetic technologies, which differentiate them from other transport modes. Appreciate next that they also share some other technologies with modes with which they compete. The following brief examples illustrate the point: All transport modes need movement control of some sort, essentially to ensure separation between vehicles moving in the same direction, to avoid collisions between vehicles moving in opposite directions, and generally to keep all participants within the system boundary. Entry-level movement control solutions are pragmatic-manual-visual vehicle guidance plus elementary rules of good order. However, as single- or combined vehicles become heavier and travel faster, trains for example, movement control solutions must become more complex. Similarly for propulsion: Historically, railways tended toward external electric energy sources, renewable where available, while road tended toward onboard sources, typically non-renewable (obvious exceptions do exist). Nowadays, as more expensive renewable energy sources displace presently less expensive (though finite) non- renewable sources, such tendencies are bound to dissolve. Already hybrid- and straight electric rail- and road vehicles are ascendant. Next generation light rail propulsion technology will regenerate braking energy and replenish losses through inductive coupling to an external electric energy supply during stops at stations: It could conceivably also support bus rapid transit. So also for capacity and scheduling: All transport modes share the basic requirement of relating capacity to demand. At entry level, random, single vehicle movements fulfil many logistics needs. While they are indeed the forte of road transport, higher throughput does require the integrated control and ordered movements that associate with railways. While railway implementations of the shared technologies illustrated here may differ in detail and scale, the principles apply universally. For example, trolleybus traction motors are smaller than light rail traction motors, but they use the same technology to achieve the same objective. Let us now explore some technologies that railways unavoidably share with their competitors, to learn how railways can nevertheless sustain their competitive advantage. SIGNALLING AND CONTROL Competitive railways exploit their bearing, guiding, and coupling genetic technologies to dominate the well-known heavy-haul, heavy intermodal, high- speed and very high-speed intercity, and high-capacity urban rail market spaces. Here it is useful to call them sub-modes. From a signalling perspective, the extremely divergent performance of these sub-modes challenges designers’ ingenuity. Where dedicated infrastructure comes naturally, and where interoperation thus does not occur, divergent performance is of course a non-issue. For example, urban rail seldom if ever interoperates with the other three sub-modes. Similarly, very high-speed intercity does not, or should not, interoperate with heavy-haul and heavy intermodal. Therefore, differences in their characteristics are of no concern. However, railways that have insufficient traffic to support lines dedicated to particular sub-modes, but which may be able to aggregate sufficient traffic to upgrade certain routes to high performance, can and do seek to interoperate sub-modes that are not natural symbionts. Although it has long existed in Europe, such interoperation is relatively new elsewhere in the world. China has implemented shared high performance routes. Note, however, that it has also built, or is also building, both freight- dedicated lines and passenger-dedicated lines. Following President Obama’s recent economic stimulus package, the United States sees interoperable high-performance routes as the way to open up high-speed corridors in several regions. Saudi Arabia also intends its new railway network to carry both heavy-haul and high-speed traffic. Nevertheless, such solutions are sub-optimal for several reasons. In Europe, freight has played second fiddle to passenger services, resulting in inability to raise freight axle load to competitive levels, and requiring freight trains to run inordinately fast to minimise their impact on passenger line capacity. It may also be necessary to accommodate collisions between vehicles of disparate mass and speed. Expectations in the US are that high- speed trains may reach 25-ton axle loads to ensure they are crashworthy against heavy freight trains. Note that interoperation of disparate trains necessitates compromises. Heavy-haul trains typically operate at 80km/h maximum speed, with axle load tending to 40 tonnes. Very high-speed (300+ km/h) intercity trains typically restrict axle load to less than 20 tonnes, to contain dynamic wheel- rail forces. Mixed systems typically find common ground in the range 120-200km/h and up to 25 tonnes/axle. This occurs without achieving the maximum performance of either sub-mode, thereby compromising the competitiveness of both. It also sacrifices line capacity where that is a requirement, which it should be for a competitive railway. While heavy-haul has rooted itself in Africa, and will likely continue to grow, other potentially competitive railway applications have lagged. Freight is therefore likely to dominate the African railway mix, with possibly some high- speed and perhaps a few very high-speed intercity services. The NATMAP 2050 preview findings indeed foresee Gauteng-Polokwane and Gauteng-Durban as candidates. Another Side of Railways Dave van der Meulen, managing member, Railway Corporate Strategy CC Light rail – next generation will regenerate braking energy. Photo: Editor (San Diego LRT at Mexican border). INDUSTRY COMMENT RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  11. 11. INDUSTRY COMMENT The challenge to railway signalling in Africa is clear - support positioning rail ahead of road as prime transport mode, noting that entry-level movement control works just fine for roads. In a setting where traffic density will likely be relatively low, and some routes may ultimately carry mixed freight and high-speed traffic, is the solution likely to lean towards the Positive Train Control (PTC) model set for implementation in North America by 2015? The latter addresses a comparable setting, while minimising ground- borne equipment. ENERGY, EMISSION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE Rail’s steel-wheel-on-steel-rail system has lower rolling resistance than that of road, comparatively more so at low speeds (because aerodynamic drag dominates resistance at high and very high speed). To illustrate, where competition is arguably most direct and intense, light rail uses approximately half the energy of bus rapid transit per passenger-kilometre. The higher rolling resistance of rubber tyres accounts for the higher energy consumption. Thus, for the same throughput capacity, rubber tyres require more energy to overcome resistance, and can regenerate less during braking. Electric railways are also able to regenerate energy for use by other trains. With current technology, even that on the horizon, road may emulate rail with difficulty in this regard. Diesel locomotives have recently embraced hybrid technology. In a domain where battery weight at worst will not detract from payload, and at best may even add to the adhesive mass of locomotives, it appears a sure winner. In a rubber-tyred system, the mass of batteries would likely detract from payload. Hybrid propulsion thus works well for transport modes with an affinity for electric propulsion, and better for those that have lower rolling resistance. Note, however, that road and rail technologies are converging in response to energy scarcity. For example, many mines use hybrid, diesel-electric mining trucks with external electric energy supply on steep gradients, while trolleybuses with diesel engines or batteries for sensitive areas and/or dead spots have emerged. Energy scarcity thus potentially reduces the natural competitive advantage of rail vis-à-vis road, by encouraging the latter to emulate some of rail’s strengths. Note also that infrastructure characteristics influence energy consumption. Old railway alignments often take a long way round on easy contours. However, distances on such tortuous routes can be 50% longer than road between the same origin-destination pair, which counteracts rail’s energy efficiency. Likewise, vertical alignment should maximise the use of regenerative braking and minimise the need for friction braking. Appreciate that, while energy conversion technology has made, and is making, rapid progress, only state-of-the-art equipment can realise the associated energy and emission reductions. Emissions of course depend on the source of energy, but whatever that is, lower energy consumption must concurrently reduce emissions, giving rail the advantage. However, aged rolling stock usually does not incorporate energy-efficient technology, and in this respect, road vehicles typically have a shorter life-cycle than railway rolling stock, giving road the advantage of more advanced technology. How do railways sustain competitive advantage in this milieu? To the extent that competitive modes erode their lead by advances in shared technologies, railways need to shift their attention to the differentiating strengths endowed by rail’s genetic technologies. CAPACITY AND SCHEDULING Smart operators know what their customers want. Information technology is available, or customisable, to enable them to deliver it. Identifying customers or their freight is the sharp point of that process. Radio frequency identification (RFID) has become the glue that integrates logistics or mobility systems, transport service providers, and their customers. This applies to providers of both freight and passenger services. Smartcards for passengers also facilitate operation across modes and services: Gautrain has already introduced them to South Africa. RFID is also gaining ground in logistics. The prime requirement is to integrate the customer-facing systems of individual entities along the value chain to support seamless service delivery. The wake-up call is that none of these good things is unique to railways. They merely facilitate integration into the business systems, mobility systems, and supply chains of others. However, the service provider that actually wins the business is the one that offers the most attractive value proposition. In this setting, RFID and the systems behind it is a leveller. The challenge for railways is thus to exploit their genetic technologies to differentiate and enhance their value proposition. CONCLUSIONS Differentiating and sharing are important positioning strategies. Differentiating should increase competitive advantage in particular market spaces. Sharing should increase business interoperability among service providers in general. Both are important for minimising the cost of logistics and mobility to customers. Shared technologies favour no player. However, to the extent that they tend to level the playing field, rail needs to redouble its efforts to innovate continuously to leverage its genetic technologies and the competitive strengths they endow. As road emulates it, rail needs to differentiate itself further to increase its competitive distance from road in the market spaces in which it chooses to compete. In African context, energy is abundant. The Congo River, with the second largest flow in the world after the Amazon, reputedly has the hydropower potential to supply all the continent’s electricity needs (although one hears no mention of the economic development level at which this will occur). African oil has become significant - it supplies more to the US than Saudi Arabia, albeit from more dispersed deposits. Nigeria is the world’s tenth largest producer, followed in Africa by Algeria, Libya, Angola, Egypt, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Congo, and Gabon. Africa’s economic growth is on an upward trajectory, the median growth in 2009 being 2.6%, against -1% for the rest of the world. Notwithstanding such solid foundations, intra-African trade is low volume. The cost of transport is one of the impediments. The foregoing thoughts should trigger some insights that will encourage railways to increase their contribution to exploiting Africa’s evident potential. Rail’s steel-wheel-on-steel-rail system has lower rolling resistance than that of road. INDUSTRY COMMENT July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 11www.railwaysafrica.com
  12. 12. “We are talking about the railway master plan which is expected to consume between $20 and $25 billion,” he said, adding that work on upgrading existing railways and build new lines is likely to start in 2013. New rail links are to be constructed between inland countries and the ports of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania and Kenya’s Mombasa. The African Development Bank is the lead financial advisor to the railway project and the EAC is exploring all options to raise the necessary capital. Mutabingwa said: “We are looking at equity, raising capital on the debt markets, all these options will be explored”. The EAC launched a common market in July, opening the borders of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with a combined GDP of $75 billion, although poor roads and railways remain an impediment to greater trade, Reuters points out. KENYA NAIROBI CITY RAIL GOES AHEAD Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has advertised for contractors to build a new station in Nairobi. “We expect construction to start in the next 60 days,” managing director Nduva Muli told the newspaper The Nation. The facility will be “somewhere along Mombasa Road” and is to include a shopping centre, carpark and bus terminus. “We are implementing the project with government support,” Muli was quoted saying, “and plan to put up others at Imara Daima, Makadara and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).” Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta has allocated Sh1.9 billion in this year’s budget to finance railway upgrading. The first phase of the project, which was allocated Sh600 million in the 2009/10 budget for feasibility studies, will involve the rehabilitation of about 160km of the existing rail system within Nairobi. About 7km of new track is to be built to JKIA’s Unit 3, and stations and other facilities on the network are to be rehabilitated. Work is expected to be finished by early 2012. As a public-private partnership project, the government intends to own, upgrade and maintain the track as well as stations and the signalling system, while the private sector is to operate the trains. A regular and efficient commuter service is envisaged, using coaches designed to carry a maximum of 200 passengers. Most trains will consist of AFRICA UPDATE ALGERIA ALGERIAN LIGHT RAIL CONTRACT Isolux-Corsan has been appointed by Enterprise Metro d’Alger to implement the Telvent SmartMobility(TM) light rail solution for the new 18km, 32-station light rail line in the Algerian city of Oran, scheduled to begin operating by 2011. The system will enable effective, coordinated interaction between city road traffic and the line, with capability to prioritise rail at any time over private transport at intersections. ANGOLA TECHNICAL WORKSHOP IN LUANDA In advance of the resumption of full public service on the 424km Luanda-Ndalatando-Malanje line in December, a training course for technicians is to run from September until January 2011. According to Adalberto de Morais, an official of Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL), subjects covered will include line control and station management. The line was reopened on 27 July following a test trip after rehabilitation, prior to which the entire line had been closed for 18 years. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) EAST AFRICA EAST AFRICA NEEDS $US25 BILLION East Africa needs to raise up to $US25 billion, or nearly two-thirds of Kenya’s annual output, over the next decade to upgrade its railways, Reuters reports, quoting the East African Community’s (EAC) deputy secretary-general for infrastructure and planning Alloys Mutabingwa. Nairobi’s present station, seen at the time of the British Royal visit in 1983. Telvent SmartMobility fare machines. Not much is running in the DRC today. In happier times, Martin Welzel foundNot much is running in the DRC today. In happier times, Martin Welzel found this GE U15C Krupp-built (1982 - 1,067mm gauge) loco at Kinshasa in 1991.this GE U15C Krupp-built (1982 - 1,067mm gauge) loco at Kinshasa in 1991. AFRICA UPDATE RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201012 www.railwaysafrica.com
  13. 13. Building the future gautrain turnout assembly GM414_VAE_Presslink
  14. 14. TANZANIA TANGA-MUSOMA RAILWAY East African Community (EAC) secretary-general Juma Mwapachu, commenting on the new railway being planned to link the port of Tanga in Tanzania with Musoma on Lake Victoria (with onward ferry connection to Kampala in Uganda), said it will “boost the economy and facilitate smooth implementation of the bloc’s “common market protocol.” It is by no means a new concept, having been on the drawing board far too long, in the view of press observers. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has been quoted saying the Musoma link was “the lifeline of the Uganda of his dreams”. The port of Dar-es-Salaam is severely stretched. It handles about 95% of Tanzania’s international trade in addition to serving neighbouring landlocked countries. Development at the port of Tanga, with a current annual handling capacity of 500,000 tonnes, would reduce the load on Dar meaningfully. TUNISIA TUNIS: ALSTOM TO SUPPLY MORE CITADIS TRAMS The Tunis transit authority, Transtu, has awarded Alstom a €58 million contract to supply 16 additional Citadis tramsets, as well as maintenance services for its entire existing fleet. The new vehicles will be identical to the 39 delivered between 2007 and 2009. In operation since October 2007 on the network’s line 1, the trams carry over 460,000 passengers per day. Tunis was the first city in the Maghreb region to acquire the Citadis technology. Algiers, Casablanca, Constantine, Oran and Rabat now also utilise vehicles from the Citadis tramway range. TUNISIAN HIGH-SPEED LINE Tunisia is planning to invest $US5.5 billion over the next decade in the development of a high-speed rail link with Morocco, Algeria and Libya. Despite an existing rail network of more than 2,100km, operational efficiency is hampered by gauge differences and limited electrification. Less than 10% of the country’s freight is carried on rail, a situation that could change radically if the envisaged “Trans-Maghreb” high-speed railway is built to link Casablanca with Tripoli in Libya, via Algiers and Tunisia. The project would see Tunisia build 780km of high-speed track, as well as related support infrastructure. However, at a summit meeting hosted by Tunisia’s transport ministry to discuss the “Trans-Maghreb” - which brought together the country’s shippers union and representatives eight coaches, giving a total capacity of 1,600 passengers per train. Compared with current passenger totals of about 20,000 passengers daily, it is expected that 200,000 will be moved once the Sh24 billion project is complete. BOND ISSUE TO HELP FUND NAIROBI LINE Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) plans to issue bonds to fund part of a $US200 million upgrade to the rail system in the capital Nairobi, Mugo Kibati, head of the government’s long-term development plan (“Vision 2030”) told the media. LIBYA LIBYAN TRACK COMPONENTS General contractor China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has awarded the German company Vossloh two contracts to supply rail fastenings and turnouts for 1,300km of the new rail network in the west of Libya. The contracts have a total value of €115m and deliveries will run to 2012. ANSALDO TO SIGNAL LIBYA A consortium of Finmeccanica companies Ansaldo STS and Selex Communications has received a €247 million contract from Russian Railways subsidiary Zarubezhstroyteknologiya to provide signalling, automation, telecommunications, power supply, security, and ticketing systems for Libya’s new Surt-Benghazi line. Ansaldo STS leads the consortium with an 81.8% share, which equates to around €202 million, and includes the installation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), interlockings, trackside equipment, the control centre and power supplies. The work will take around three years to complete. The 551km Surt-Benghazi section is the first phase of a line that is to extend along the length of Libya’s Mediterranean coast from Tunisia to Egypt. The line will initially use diesel locomotives operating at up to 160km/h, although it will later switch to electric traction with a maximum operating speed of 250km/h. China Railway Construction is building the adjoining 352km Surt- Misratah-Al Khums section, as well as the 172km western stretch of the line between Tripoli and the Tunisian border at Ras Adjir. Ansaldo STS was awarded the signalling, telecommunications, and power supply contract for both sections, as well as the 992km inland branch from Al Hishah to Waddan and Sabha. LIBERIA LIBERIAN STATISTICS According to the 2010 CIA World Factbook, route distance covered by railways in Liberia totals 429km, 345km on 1,435mm gauge and 84km on 1,067mm. “Most sections of the railway are inoperable because of damage suffered during the civil wars from 1980 to 2003.” The Encyclopaedia of the Nations records that “Liberia’s railways in 2002 were all owned by foreign steel and financial interests in conjunction with the Liberian government and used for transportation of iron ore from mines to the ports of Buchanan and Monrovia. One of these, the Lamco Railroad closed in 1989 after iron ore production ceased; the other two were shut down by the civil war. Large sections of the rail lines have been dismantled, and an estimated 60km was exported for scrap.” Ansaldo signals. AFRICA UPDATE Bujumbura TangaMuheza Kilosa Manyoni Singida Kaliua Mpanda Moshi AFRICA UPDATE RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201014 www.railwaysafrica.com
  15. 15. SCAW METALS GROUP SPECIALIST CASTINGS FOR THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY SPECIALIST CASTINGS FOR THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY Tel: +27 11 842-9303 • Fax: +27 11 842-9710 Website: www.scaw.co.za 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: • Side Frames • Bolsters • Yokes • Cast steel monobloc wheels • Draw-gear components • Centre plates Cast steel frames for locomotives: • Steerable locomotive frames • Mounting for electrical parking brakes and brakehangers • Traction motor end shields and suspension tubes in cast steel, manufactured to customer requirements Passenger car castings: • High speed, high stability radial axle bogies for motored and unmotored passenger vehicles • Self steering bogies • Fully machined frames ready for assembly into bogies, including the fitting of bushings and wear plates • Integrally cast brake hanger brackets and mounting for auxiliary equipment Scaw has produced castings for the railroad industry since 1921 and is a technological leader in this field and has participated in the development of unique designs such as the cast adaptor sub-frame assembly used in the “Scheffel” radial axle truck. Scaw manufactures castings under licence to various licensors, but is an open foundry with the capability to undertake work according to individual customer requirements. The company has produced thousands of sets of steel castings for freight cars for both the local and export markets. These include side frames and bolsters that have been approved by the Association of American Railroads for use on North American railroads. Scaw supplies globally and also offers nationwide distribution in South Africa through its strategically located branches throughout the country. FabformGraphicscc(011)622-9917
  16. 16. the Albertine Basin. The EastAfrican speculates that the Pakwach line “is critical because of political undercurrents. It is the link to the region that opposes Museveni most stridently. Citadel has promised Museveni that it can get trains running on the northern line in 24 months. Museveni reportedly needs to demonstrate to the people of the north that he cares for their welfare.” CITADEL & RVR Citadel Capital, the Egyptian private equity firm with a 51% stake in Rift Valley Railways (RVR), says it has “effected major management restructuring”, has hired additional executives to run the railway and has introduced “three more lenders into the fold”. According to a press statement, Citadel has “roped in South America’s independent rail operator America Latina Logistica (ALL) as a new partner which is expected “to bring on board the technical capacity needed to salvage the concession.” It describes ALL as being “registered as a Brazilian holding firm that operates railway lines in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It provides transport services such as logistics, intermodal transport, port operations, movement and storage of merchandise and manages a rail network that extends for more than 20,000km.” [A comment posted following the appearance of the above report on the internet contended: “the Brazilian railway company ALL does not (and has never) operate trains in Uruguay. There are just from time to time wagons from ALL Argentina entering to Salto in Uruguay, but ALL has no operating concession in Uruguay. The same in the case of Paraguay. And the way ALL isn’t fulfilling its work, for example no infrastructure maintenance in Argentina, isn’t the best reference to be operator in more countries.” - Editor] ZAMBIA CHIPATA-MCHINJI LINE OPENS The official opening of the Mchinji (Malawi) to Chipata (Zambia) line was set for 27 August, Zambian Eastern Province minister Isaac Banda told the press. The government invited Malawian and Mozambique officials to attend. Banda said the date was set to coincide with the hosting of this year’s Kulamba traditional ceremony of the Chewa-speaking people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, scheduled to take place in Katete on 28 August. Building of the 24km Chipata extension beyond Mchinji was launched in 1982 as a bilateral project between Zambia and Malawi but the Zambian Government abandoned it 10 years afterwards because of lack of funds. The scheme was revitalised in 2006 by late president Levy Mwanawasa. In 2009, the government allocated another K10 billion in the national budget for completion of the line. AFRICA UPDATE of state railway utilities in Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia - no time-frame was drawn up for construction. UGANDA LATEST ON UGANDA & RVR In the words of The EastAfrican, what has been going on at Rift Valley Railways (RVR) “involves a colourful cast of inept public officials and World Bank advisors, scheming businessmen and profiteers, political sharks, an ambitious and untouchable Kenyan investment house and a brash private equity operator from Egypt with lots of cash.” Ugandan businessman Charles Mbire is said to have acquired his 15% stake in the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) consortium with strong backing from the World Bank’s private sector lending arm and German-backed development lender KfW. This is believed to pave the way for RVR to lock in loans urgently needed to fund infrastructure rehabilitation and to buy rolling stock. Reportedly “four new lenders” have made commitments. Equity Bank is said to have signed a $US20 million deal. African Development Bank has committed $30 million. The emerging Market Fund for Africa has committed $20 million. Mbire, says The EastAfrican, was recently appointed as one of the International Monetary Fund’s regional advisors and “easily passed the extensive due diligence that IFC is obligated to carry out on its potential business partners.” Earlier, says the paper, “it appeared like RVR’s never-ending shareholder saga was headed for more weeks of drama” with suggestions that Uganda wanted to exclude the Pakwach and Kasese branch lines from a pending re-signing of the RVR concession. Both were omitted from the original 25-year deal signed in 2006, comprising the 1,200 kilometre Kenya-Uganda railway from Kampala to Mombasa, together with the Nakuru-Kisumu (Lake Victoria) branch. Citadel Capital of Egypt, the new majority shareholder in RVR, has asked that the branchlines be included now. Kampala-Kasese, 333km, is described as a “key gateway” to Uganda’s copper mines. Tororo-Pakwach (503km) runs through major cement mining zones and mineral fields, passing to the north of the newly discovered oil fields in First train arrives at Chipata,12 December 2009. Coupling up in Tunisia. Photo: Richard Grönstedt. Photo: Daily Nation files. AFRICA UPDATE RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201016 www.railwaysafrica.com
  17. 17. AFRICA UPDATE ZIMBABWE ZIMBABWE “FREEDOM TRAINS” “There was always drama at the main railway station in Harare barely a year ago as commuters jostled to take a ride in the cheap commuter trains -- the Freedom Train,” writes Fortious Nhambura in the state-owned Herald. “So popular were the trains that some people chose to take a ride from town to Cold Comfort before taking a commuter omnibus to Kuwadzana only to have a feel of the train. That was indeed the freedom of the Freedom Train that time. “But barely a year later and after the introduction of the multi-currency system the train has lost its appeal. “Introduced in 2001 to alleviate glaring transport problems experienced by many urban commuters, the Freedom Train became an instant hit. Most urban commuters opted for the Freedom Train as it offered and allowed them to travel in a relaxed atmosphere that was also cheap and convenient for the hard-hit factory city worker. Although the prices have remained fairly low the increase of quicker alternative transport to and from the city centre has drawn commuters away from the Freedom Train. “Commuter trains ply the city-Mabvuku, city-Tynwald and the city-Dzivarasekwa routes. Demand for their services soared as the economic challenges hit commuters hard on their heels thereby forcing the National Railways of Zimbabwe to increase both the morning and evening services in all the intra-routes in Harare. The greatest undoing by the commuter train has been its failure to observe timetables, forcing commuters to seek alternative transport. “One of the biggest let downs by the Freedom Train has been time-tabling. You expect to get to your destination on time and be assured that your train comes at the correct time. That has not been the case with Freedom Train. Unfortunately this has even affected the organisation’s management to a point that it has failed to ensure the train keeps schedule or even care to apologise for the delays. Commuters say the railway authorities have also done a disservice to the travelling public by failing to refurbish the wagons despite the handsome income they are generating. They say they expected NRZ to start refurbishing the trains as a way of attracting more passengers. In this era of the US dollar one needs to get value for their money but nothing has been done to refurbish and beautify the coaches. “As the economic sanctions bite, the metal snake made sure the low-income earners of Harare were taken from their homes to work. Political, religious and economic debates made the day as the chongololo explored the city’s townships. It is indeed the hope of the people, we still want you Freedom Train. You must not go.” NRZ SET TO BUY 29 CHINESE COACHES According to the Zimbabwe Independent, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is in the process of procuring 29 “state-of-the-art” passenger coaches from CSR Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Company Ltd, a subsidiary of China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR). NRZ spokesperson Fanuel Masikati confirmed the purchase, but declined to give details saying it could jeopardise the arrangement. He explained: “We once gave details of an Angolan deal and our counterparts pulled out as they were not happy.” Masikati did not disclose the amount involved. “Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that NRZ officials have visited the headquarters of the companies in China to ‘tie loose ends of the deal’. “According to the order, the ailing parastatal would get six types of coaches -- special express hard-seat coach, special express cushioned-seat coach, special express semi-cushioned berth sleeper, special express bar-coach, luggage and power generating combination coach and a commuter car.” The Independent recalled that NRZ concluded other contracts with CNR of China in 2004 for the supply of locomotives, trainsets and main-line coaches at a cost of $US110.4 million. “Each contract required the establishment of a letter of credit covering the total price of the equipment against which a 10% deposit would be drawn for production to begin. NRZ paid $US2.5 million in 2006 as part of the deposit, leaving a balance of $US8.9 million.” In the event, no rolling stock was delivered. The Independent comments: “The parastatal is buying coaches when workers are going for months without pay. Last month scores of wives of the parastatal’s workers demonstrated outside the headquarters building in Bulawayo over their husbands’ unpaid salaries.” The paper quoted NRZ sources saying that “NRZ has 168 locomotives of which only half are functional. It has 10,123 wagons, but only 5,000 are available for operations.” Harare commuter “freedom train”. Photo: NRZHarare commuter “freedom train”. Photo: NRZ Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540 www.thermitrex.co.za AFRICA UPDATE July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 17www.railwaysafrica.com
  18. 18. SA RAIL NEWS FAR-REACHING RAIL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME The National Department of Transport (DoT) has completed a detailed investment programme in respect of the South African rail network, including high-speed rail. According to DoT director-general George Mahlalela, “We are adopting a sequenced delivery approach for the rail sector over a 20-year period.” The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has identified a need to recapitalise rolling stock over the next 18 years at an estimated cost of R95 billion. A due diligence study has been carried out on the acquisition of new equipment for the entire commuter rail system in South Africa. DoT is looking at “innovative ways” to fund these projects, without necessarily relying on Treasury. Mahlalela suggested funding could be leveraged, for example, through “country- to-country relationships”, or from the private sector. He said “We are planning to go to the market next year.” “We are defining what we want,” Mahlalela explained, “so that when we engage anyone, we have a policy position available. We are engaging every stakeholder globally and locally, it’s not exclusive to the Chinese.” HIGH-SPEED RAIL Three routes have been identified by the National Department of Transport (DoT) for possible high-speed rail development – Johannesburg-Durban, Johannesburg-Cape Town, and Johannesburg-Musina. According to DoT director-general George Mahlalela, the necessary feasibility studies are to be put in hand, starting with the Durban-Johannesburg route. A team is to commence work in October “with the dual process of concept development and testing the market for a period of six months. We are hoping that, at the end of this process, we will be able to determine whether there is enough appetite for this project in the market. “The initial scoping suggests that the project could be commercially-driven on a public-private partnership model. There are also possibilities for country-to-country cooperation.” The high-speed rail projects would not fall under the Prasa umbrella, as this already faces a “big challenge” in upgrading commuter rail. SA’S AMBITIOUS RAIL PLANS – THE REALITY Editorial in Business Day: “To change the world, one needs to be bold. And in the world of transport, big, brash projects such as the Gautrain are the catalysts needed to change the way people travel. It is the kind of project that may cost billions now but in a decade or two will have stimulated the economy in ways one never before thought possible. “Already we have seen the nodes of Sandton and Rosebank respond to the introduction of the rail link, with new development mushrooming around the two almost- complete stations. Future projects laid out in the national transport master plan -- which plots the future of transport in SA until 2050 -- certainly contain those elements of boldness. “The master plan recognises that a decent transport infrastructure is the backbone of strong economic development. Among the projects that are outlined in it are proposals to build a rapid rail link between Johannesburg and Durban, as well as gradually shifting Transnet’s rail infrastructure from the Cape narrow gauge to the wider standard gauge. These are big projects with multibillion-rand budgets and cannot be tackled without careful planning and budgeting. It is here that there are major flaws. “On Tuesday [1 June], the chairwoman of Parliament’s public enterprises committee, Vytjie Mentor, lambasted Transnet acting CEO Chris Wells for not adopting the master plan - as he had not started to lay out the new wider gauge across its 23,000km network. Wells quite rightly pointed out this was not a project that could be carried out overnight. It was hugely expensive, he said, and he did not think it “appropriate” to tackle such a project in the medium term. “Transnet is barely able to keep its current trains on the track and already faces enormous operational challenges. It is also in the midst of a major infrastructure upgrade programme. While the wider gauge would allow Transnet to carry heavier loads at higher speeds, the parastatal is hardly in a position to pay for it or to physically lay it out. “So while we welcome talk of such ambitious projects, they need much more thought to make sure they make sense financially and that there is capacity to manage them. The Joburg-Durban rapid rail link, which would have to deal with serious and expensive topography challenges, may be prohibitively expensive. “Once these things have been established, full integration across transport modes is needed. For example, will a new rail link be able to be used for both passenger and freight operations and could the Department of Transport find a South African Rail News Prasa rolling stock recapitalisation: R95 billion needed over 18 years. The ramifications of an overall gauge change: imagine the implications at Sentrarand. SA RAIL NEWS RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201018 www.railwaysafrica.com
  19. 19. THEY WENT THE EXTRA MILE During the period 11 June to 11 July, the 22 eight-coach trainsets allocated to Cape Town’s Southern Line operated an additional 68 weekday, 43 Saturday and 26 Sunday services. According to Metrorail, these extra trips were well supported. TRAINS REVERT TO PRE-WORLD CUP TIMETABLES In mid-July, Metrorail trains reverted to their pre-World Cup schedules. In Cape Town, minor timetable changes were made to include the new Century City station on the line to Bellville via Monte Vista. In late July, a string of problems affected services in the mother city, with numerous complaints aired in the press and radio. The Cape Argus reported: “Improving the city’s deteriorating railway service, which came under the spotlight this week, has become the top priority for the provincial department of transport and public works. On Wednesday [21 July], the Cape Argus reported that the unreliable service was having a serious impact on the city’s productivity and economy. ‘I have undertaken to put maximum pressure on national government,’ said transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle, who has raised the severity of Metrorail’s crisis with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and the national transport ministry. “Carlisle said a sustainable funding model and one central authority to govern the metro’s public transport network were the keys to effect change. He estimated a need for 40 new coaches to replace existing ones that are already past their lifespan. The department however, stated that the large-scale subsidy needed to rescue Metrorail from its declining quality of service remained a matter for the national treasury. “Central co-ordination of the various branches of public transport would ensure better services, save money and reduce the burden on trains, Carlisle said. ‘During peak hour on the Khayelitsha line over 4,000 people commute on coaches restricted to only about 2,200 passengers. Transport needs to be reliable and safe, that’s all that people want.’” OUTENIQUA CHOO-TJOE Transnet Limited has issued the following statement: “In 2007, Transnet Limited identified the Outeniqua Choo- Tjoe steam train service operating between George and Mossel Bay as one of its non-core assets. Following extensive mechanism to force freight off the roads onto rail? Finally, these projects would have to be funded and managed outside the parastatals. “Just ask Airports Company SA MD Monhla Hlahla, owner of the R6.7bn King Shaka airport, what a burden unwanted and capital- intensive projects are.” PRASA FACTS & FIGURES From a 36-page Prasa booklet – Metrorail: 2.2 million passenger trips, Monday-Friday. 468 stations, 3,180km of track. 406 trainsets – 4,638 coaches. Shosholoza Meyl: 3.970 million passengers per year. 1,223 active coaches. 21 scheduled routes. Premier classe, Tourist Class, Economy class. Baggage & car transport. Autopax – Translux & City-to-City: 2.6 million passengers per year. 50,000 bus trips per year. 42.2 million kilometres per year. Intersite: 374 rail commuter stations. 4,200 hectares of land. Rolling stock general overhauls & upgrades: Metro 700 = 2009/10, 700 = 2010/11, 700 = 2011/12. S Meyl 30 = 2009/10, 40 = 2010/11, 50 = 2011/12. Buses 0 = 2009/10, 240 = 2010/11, 200 = 2011/12. INTERCITY TRAINS SUSPENDED A dispute between Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) resulted in all Shosholoza Meyl long-distance passenger train services throughout the country being suspended for an indefinite period from 14 August. The shutdown affected Transnet Freight Rail employees and pensioners who are entitled to travelling concessions on what are now Prasa-owned trains. The disagreement centred around maintenance undertaken on behalf of Prasa and also a substantial sum reportedly owing by Prasa to Transnet in respect of work done on its behalf. Prasa deployed buses from its Autopax subsidiary to provide alternative transport. SA RAIL NEWS Shosholoza Meyl intercity trains: August total shutdown. Photo: Eugene Armer. Metrorail train at Cape Town’s new Century City station. Photo: Malcolm Bates. SA RAIL NEWS RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201020 www.railwaysafrica.com
  20. 20. SA RAIL NEWS studies and stakeholder consultation, the company decided to follow an open tender process to find a new operator. “Unfortunately, this process could not identify a new operator and as a result, Transnet was left with no option other than to terminate the service subject to the required approval by the Minister of Public Enterprises in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. This has since been finalised. The Outeniqua Transport Museum in George will remain open to the public. “The requisite consultation with organised labour has taken place through the company’s engagement structures. The George-to-Mossel Bay Line, on which the Choo-Tjoe service is currently operated, is part of the Southern Cape cluster of branch lines that have been identified to be concessioned to a private operator. This concessioning process is being undertaken by Transnet through an open, competitive process. Further announcements on branch line concessioning will follow in due course. “Transnet and the MEC for finance, economic development and tourism of the provincial government of the Western Cape, have been in discussions regarding the George- Knysna line, which was severely damaged in 2006 by floods. The intention is to ensure that tourism and other opportunities are unlocked on this line through the facilitation of the provincial government. Further details of this process will be announced in due course.” MEC for finance, economic development and tourism in the Western Cape Alan Winde followed Transnet’s notice with the following statement: - “Despite Transnet’s announcement that they will terminate the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train service, I remain resolute in my commitment to reviving it and ensuring that it remains a vital part of the South Cape’s heritage and tourism offering. “The Choo-Tjoe railway line between Knysna and George was built in 1922* and handed over to Transnet’s Heritage Preservation unit in 1993. It carried an annual average of 115,000, mostly foreign tourists, until 2006, when severe storms damaged the line. Since then, the Choo- Tjoe has operated between George and Mossel Bay, and has continued to generate international interest from rail enthusiasts, as well as economic spin-offs in the Garden Route area. “Transnet reports that they are left with no option other than to terminate the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe service in its entirety. Their decision came after an open tender process did not yield any positive applicants to take over its operations, which they state have become financially unviable. Transnet hoped to privatise the Choo-Tjoe in line with their policy of moving away from non-core business. “I am eagerly awaiting the final outcome of our negotiations with Transnet to take over the George to Knysna line. I will also keep a close eye on further developments regarding the privatisation process of other branch-lines.” [*A small correction: the George-Knysna line was opened in 1928 – Editor] WATERBERG COAL Australia’s Resource Generation (Resgen), described as a prominent new coal player on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, is involved in ambitious schemes including raising R2.5 billion to help fund new rail lines. The group plans to construct a large new coal mine in the Waterberg, close to the Botswana border. The likely start-up cost would be in the region of R6 billion. The objective is to produce 3 million tons annually (mta) of coal for sale to Eskom from 2013 and another 3 million tons for export, “with strong interest from India and China.” That is in phase one. Phase two will see production reaching 40mta by 2018. Rail connections are envisaged to move the coal to Eskom power stations and to the coast, both Matola in Mozambique and Richards Bay being possibilities. Resgen CE Paul Jury is quoted saying: “We are not trying to tackle this in any small way,” and explaining that “We’re in discussions with Transnet, taking them solutions, rather than waiting for them to find solutions”. The group is to contribute R4m to the current surveying of a rail route from eastern Botswana to the Atlantic coast in Namibia. CIC Energy is involved in this project, to export coal from its own Mmamabula mine in Botswana. However, Jury told the press, Resgen is prepared to put up “at least” R2.5 billion towards additional rail infrastructure in South Africa. TFR TO BOOST LIMPOPO Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is set to reduce the cost of fruit transport in Limpopo from R1.9 billion to R1.7 billion over the next five years. This is provided that TFR gains 35% of the fruit producers’ transport share. This in turn will reduce the number of road trucks annually transporting citrus fruit to the port from 55,000 trips to 32,000 which will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of citrus from 56 million tons of CO2 to a more acceptable 25 million tons. The move follows “collaborative partnership discussions” between TFR and the Departments of Road and Transport, Agriculture and Economic Development in Limpopo. The province is responsible for 30% of the country’s citrus and 45% of South Africa’s Valencia exports. TFR transported a mere 5% of this in 2009. “Increased road transport costs, congestion on the roads as well as the deteriorating state of some of the roads have necessitated a re-think on how best to enhance the profitability of the agricultural sectorFlood-damaged Knysna line. Photo: Peter Rogers. Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe at Mossel Bay. Photo: Richard Clatworthy SA RAIL NEWS July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 21www.railwaysafrica.com
  21. 21. SA RAIL NEWS in Limpopo and rail is in a position to do just that”, TFR general manager, container and automotive business Themba Gwala explains. TFR’s corridor-focused approach, its integration with the ports as well as its ability to support intermodal growth by consolidation, access and transhipment has seen the company gain market share in this highly competitive industry. “The growth of rail-based container volumes supports the national interest because it alleviates congestion on the national road network and reduces the cost of logistics in South Africa”, TFR acting chief executive Tau Morwe says. AfDB TO LEND TO TRANSNET The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of up to $US400 million to help Transnet fund some of the rail projects in its five-year, R93.4 billion capital investment programme. The group plans to spend a record R22.8 billion in 2010-11, most of it on rail-related infrastructure. The AfDB loan adds to some R4 billion that Transnet previously secured from other development-finance institutions and export credit agencies over the past few years. The other key sources of concessional funding included: Agence Française de Développement, Finnvera, Atradius, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Aflac Incorporated Transnet pursued the AfDB loan as part of a larger funding, which would involve it raising some R41.1 billion over the next five years, R35 billion of which would arise from the debt capital markets. A further R73.1 billion is to be generated internally. The group plans to source around R17.2 billion in 2010/11, including R5.5 billion from an as-yet-untapped global medium term note programme, which has been listed in London. According to AfDB, the loan will help fund Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR’s) capitalised maintenance plan, which forms part of the parastatal’s overall investment programme. In 2009/10, TFR spent R6.9 billion on rail maintenance. MOLOTO CORRIDOR National Department of Transport (DoT) director-general George Mahlalela says the the long-mooted commuter rail corridor between Tshwane and Moloto, which may be developed jointly with the provincial governments of Gauteng and Mpumalanga is “rail priority number one” on the drawing board. Currently government spends R350 million annually in subsidising workers’ bus travel between Tshwane and KwaNdebele. A feasibility study has been completed for the project, which has been registered with the Treasury as a public-private partnership (PPP). TRANSNET CONCEDES COAL LINE PROBLEMS Talking to the press during June, acting Transnet CEO Chris Wells conceded that Transnet Freight Rail was largely to blame for the disappointing performance of the Richards Bay export coal line. This was after taking into account the downturn in the coal export market related to the recession, as well as seasonal problems in output from the mines. Annual volumes carried on the line have decreased every year for the last five, from 68.8 million tons in 2005-6 to 61.8 million in 2009-10. In 2004-5, “world- class” performance was claimed. Transnet is determined to put the situation to rights, Wells says, pointing out that during the final quarter of the financial year to 31 March 2010, volumes conveyed grew by 6.3%. Transnet is working with the coal industry to get actual performance closer to the 70 million tons per year (mta) current available capacity, and to raise throughput to 81mta by 2014/15. Even higher levels are foreseen thereafter –between 90 and 100mta. However, upgrading of the order of R15 billion needed to meet such targets would depend on Transnet securing take-or-pay contracts from the mines, but they would only participate if they were confident about market prospects. Recent upgrading means that the Richards Bay Coal Terminal can handle 91mta, but the railway – according to Wells – is “only one impediment to matching that capacity, inadequacy of mining capacity being the other.” Current contracts between Transnet and the mines remain short-term, until expansion plan details are finalised. TRANSNET, IRON-ORE AND MANGANESE By contrast with the situation on the coal line, Transnet has already signed contracts with both Kumba and Assmang to raise iron ore throughput to 60.7 million tons per year (mta) by 2013/14. Export volumes on the iron-ore line from Sishen to Saldanha Bay grew by 21.5% to 44.7 million tons in 2009/10 and plans envisage raising this figure to some 50 million tons in 2010/11. Transnet is talking to both the iron-ore and manganese mine companies about “the next big expansion.” The iron-ore entities want to increase yearly exports to 80 million tons; the manganese mines have a figure of at least 14mta in view. This compares with the current upper limit of only 7mta through the harbour at Port Elizabeth. The manganese industry would prefer to share the Saldanha line with iron-ore traffic but Transnet is still considering the possibilities of exploiting the new Ngqura harbour in the Eastern Cape. Feasibility studies are being carried out jointly with the industry, “with the support of an independent consultant.” W CAPE METRORAIL: “NEAR TERMINAL DECLINE” The following was taken from an article in Blits, newsletter of Western Cape Metrorail, on 5 August 2010. It was reprinted from the Cape Argus: SA RAIL NEWS RAILWAYS AFRICA July - August 201022 www.railwaysafrica.com
  22. 22. SA RAIL NEWS “Let nobody deceive themselves, Metrorail in the Western Cape is in near terminal decline. We have this on no lesser authority that the national minister of transport. Speaking in the National Council of Provinces in February, he said that unless there was urgent and significant investment in Metrorail, then the commuter rail systems would collapse in every major city in SA in the next 10 years. ’There has been no such investment, and to the best of my knowledge, none is planned, despite government promises of massive infrastructural investment. If Cape Metrorail collapses, it will take the whole public transport system down with it, and all our very real hopes and plans for creating a great world city will turn to dust. Greater Cape Town will become an urban sprawl, its transport arteries clogged and congested; its atmosphere even more polluted; its economy stagnating and its apartheid configuration forever institutionalised. ‘Currently, Metrorail carries over half of our commuters. It operates on less than 60% of the trainsets it requires. Those it has are, to the greatest extent, long past their scrapping date. The result is grossly overcrowded peak hour trains that are almost invariably late, often because a train ahead of them has broken down. ‘At the heart of the deteriorating quality of rail infrastructure is the national government’s underinvestment in rail services. As the rolling stock deteriorates and the infrastructure crumbles, the number of Metrorail passengers has increased by 150,000 over the last 3 years as the current economic recession bites. I have seen at first-hand the misery of the daily commute to work or school, particularly for women and schoolchildren on my numerous train trips since becoming minister. Bluntly, the current state of rail passenger services is an affront to the human dignity of commuters. ‘We need at least 40 additional trainsets to provide decent passenger rail services. The greatest needs are on the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain lines and on the section from Kraaifontein to Bellville. We need trains that get people to work on time, that are safe and that operate for 18 hours a day, and don’t close down at 7.00 pm. We need scheduled road-based transport that gets commuters to the stations, or to their destinations in areas where there is no rail transport. But above all, Metrorail needs to be recapitalised. ‘What then is the problem? Prasa’s capital requirements have been known to its parent Department of National Transport for years. National Transport does not have a budget to meet those capital requirements. ‘Successful cities and urban regions around the world are investing heavily in public transport, with significant benefits for their citizens, the environment, the economy and in the reduction of energy costs. In the end, we have learned that nothing more profoundly determines the future of our cities - for better or worse - than their public transport systems.’” BIG MANGANESE PRODUCTION BOOST Kalagadi Manganese –a new manganese mine project at a cost of more than R2.2 billion near Hotazel in the Northern Cape - will be the South African Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC) biggest investment in the 2010-11 financial year. The expected output is to be some 3m tons annually (mta). Construction of a sinter plant at the mine has begun and in May 2011, work is to start on a manganese smelter at Coega in the Eastern Cape. In 2009, the Rio Tinto group dropped plans to build a major aluminium smelter at Coega, citing concerns about the cost and supply of electricity. However, says IDC divisional executive (resources) Ufikile Khumalo, the Kalagadi smelter “is a very robust project”. The complete scheme is expected to cost about R12 billion. ArcelorMittal, which has a 50% stake, has agreed to buy 50% of the output from the sinter plant and smelter, to supply its steel mills across the world. Khumalo is quoted saying that about 700,000 tons from the sinter plant will be consumed at the smelter, the rest going for export. If all goes according to plan, the first production from the smelter - which will produce about 320,000 tons of high-carbon ferromanganese a year - should be seen in 2015. The transport implications of the project have not been spelled out at this stage, but impact very obviously on the railway between Hotazel and the Eastern Cape, together with its recently completed connection to the new harbour at Coega. COMPELLING INSIGHT FROM ORIGINAL RESEARCH www.railcorpstrat.com SA RAIL NEWS July - August 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 23www.railwaysafrica.com