For further information, rates and bookin...
exceptionally well received in digital
format. So much so that, not only have
we decided to make this successful,
SRG: Our company is cautiously optimistic of growth in the
short to mid...
wagons and locomotives for TransNamib in Namibia. This
includes extensive work on ten locomotives – including
some that ha...
Quick, critical decisions are needed from South Africa’s
railway authorities – and they are needed in the very
near future...
Class 7E1 (25kV AC) locos heading 200-wagon coal train across the
57m high Umfolozi viaduct.
The Richards Bay ...
Tubular Modular Track (TMT) - railway track with a difference
- is patented as a ballastless system having r...
in 1990. This has been followed by many successful
applications, particularly in South Africa, but also in t...
Gold Coast
sedate ride through the suburban stations of north Brisbane
until our first stop at Caboolture.
North of Caboolture we note...
Tel: +27 11 ...
However, most of the lines require investment in
infrastructure and rolling stock before being able to offer
efficient, let...
People involved with rail heritage in South Africa may fi...
The building of China’s dedicated high-speed rail network
was accelerated under China’s anti-crisis spending
package, leav...
Heavy-haul is the present backbone of railways in South
Africa, as well as in a few ...
It must be appreciated that diesel and electric traction are
of different system ty...
Benin-Niger Railway and Transport Unified company
(OCBN), operated by both states. The governments of
Benin and Niger have ...
Building the future
gautrain turnout assembly
According to an unconfirmed report in the Al Mal newspaper
on 3 October, Egypt’s...
de Desenvolvimento do Norte (CDN) and the Central
East African Railways (CEAR). CDN holds the operating
concession for the...
president Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika (who chairs the
African Union) said his government would ensure that
The largest single exhibit in Glasgow’s new Riverside
Museum will be ex-South Af...
In the financial year ending 31 March 2010, the Passenger
Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) reported an after-tax los...
services. This included the R25 billion spent on the Gautrain
project, “South Africa’s first high-speed train....
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

Railways Africa Sep/Oct 2010


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Railways Africa Sep/Oct 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. Nerina Skuy Richard Grönstedt Paul Roos Peter Rogers CONTRIBUTORS Allen Duff Bruno Martin Dave van der Meulen Dietmar Fiedel Dylan Knott Eugene Armer Jacque Wepener John Batwell Malcolm Bates Martin Welzel 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. exceptionally well received in digital format. So much so that, not only have we decided to make this successful, popular, completely free service a permanent arrangement, but the print magazine is to be discontinued as from the current issue. Digital’s the up-to-the-minute means of doing things and the way of the future: environmentally friendly, cost-efficient - for both reader and publisher - and with no carbon footprint. You can’t get more politically correct than that. The only real loser would seem to be the post office. Sorry guys - to put it bluntly, you’ve priced yourselves out of our business. To all our readers - see you on line in November! “Taking the train is a remarkably safe, civilised and enjoyable way to travel between cities in South Africa …. perhaps South Africa’s best-kept travel secret” – this according to “The Man in Seat 61”, a highly informative and widely respected world rail travel guide on the internet. Well, that was yesterday. Today a box on the site in bold red capitals warns prospective travellers: “IMPORTANT UPDATE: TOTAL SHAMBLES IN SOUTH AFRICA.” So what happened to those fine words pre-World Cup; the “legacy” of “world- class” transport to be maintained, long after the event? Barely three months down the line, with intercity train schedules in shreds, one has to ask: since when are internal government- department squabbles allowed to get away with it? The annual report of the Passenger Rail Agency of S A (Prasa) uses very hard words about the management and finances at Transnet, which it blames for its latest string of misfortunes. Transnet has hit back indignantly. According to spokesman Mboniso Sigonyela, Prasa’s claims are “very concerning as they are not true and defamatory.” Where on earth do we go next? The in-fighting and name-calling show no sign of ending. Prasa is asking for a mediator to sort out the impasse, Contents Comment Surtees 2 Export Coal 4 Tubular Track 6 Queensland Journey 8 Grain Trains 12 World: Pete the Pundit 14 Industry Comment 16 Africa Update 18 SA Rail News 24 Mishaps & Blunders 30 Railway Heritage 34 End of the Line 36 Surtees Rail Poised for Another 60 Years > Page 2 CFL Only Open in 2011 > Page 18 A Revolution in Rail Innovation > Page 6 New Zealand Earthquake > Page 31 Letter From Australia > Page 8 S Meyl Services Shredded > Page 28 but how exactly is this expected to fix something that is clearly going to take inordinate time and huge sums of money?” Whoever had the bright idea of separating passenger train management from freight, and placing them under two separate government departments, clearly failed to anticipate the complications and pitfalls – no, make that circus - that would ensue. Like one having to run on the other’s lines (and pay for the privilege) and making staff like engine drivers non-interchangeable. (Instead of drivers swapping from an outgoing passenger train to an incoming freight to get them back to base, a road vehicle now has to be sent out to bring them back – or so we hear.) According to Prasa’s annual report, long-distance on-time performance “has remained below 35% …. [and] has resulted in a 23% drop in passengers.” It tables a R1.3bn deficit (up 30%) and has raised the CEO’s salary to R4m (up 28%). Nice work if you can get it, as the saying goes. And dare we add – it wouldn’t happen under private enterprise. * * * * * * Railways Africa, complete editions of which can be read at www.railwaysafrica.com - and have been for quite some time – has been Phillippa Dean September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 1www.railwaysafrica.com
  3. 3. RA: HOW DO YOU VIEW BUSINESS PROSPECTS, POST 2010? SRG: Our company is cautiously optimistic of growth in the short to mid-term. Though we felt the effects of the economic downturn like everyone else, we were fortunate in that we have an established client base; mainly blue-chips in the mining sector, who rely on us for all their railway needs. Also, demand for our diverse range of rail equipment and services has grown steadily of late. We have worked hard over the years to achieve and maintain our reputation as a dependable supplier of parts and products, for various OEMs. RA: SURTEES HAS INDICATED INTEREST IN THE PROPOSED CONCESSIONING OF BRANCH LINES. CAN YOU ELABORATE? SRG: We are very interested, and are currently investigating and weighing up options. Already, as things stand, we carry out the entire rail function on certain stretches of line, for a number of clients. From our perspective, strategic partnerships could very well be the key to unlocking win- win scenarios for running branch lines. Surtees has the wherewithal, for example, to partner a logistics supplier meaningfully, but much would depend on specific requirements in each case. RA: ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL ABOUT THE LEVEL OF SKILLS IN THIS COUNTRY? SRG: Well, yes and no. The country has lost a significant amount of expertise and experience due to various factors, but it’s not as if we’ve suddenly all become incompetent. At Surtees we place a high premium on training. For example, we have one of the finest training facilities for train drivers in the country. With three accredited trainers testing and validating new drivers, we can hardly keep up with demand. There is certainly enough knowledge and skill to go round; we simply need a concerted effort to prioritise and encourage skills transfer. RA: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT (BEE)? SRG: BEE is a fact of life in South Africa and we comply fully. Naturally, improving one’s BEE status entails - to a large degree - finding suitable partners in various areas of your business, and one cannot always speak out about them before the fact. We continue to explore empowerment opportunities. RA: SURTEES IS THE OFFICIAL AGENT FOR MANY WELL- KNOWN NAMES IN RAIL PRODUCTS. CAN YOU GIVE SOME EXAMPLES? SRG: To start with, we are the Southern African agents for the popular Trackmobile bi-modial rail shunting units; also for PENN machine driving gears and pinions, a Transnet Freight Rail approved product. In addition, we have the agency for Whiting portable electric screw-jacks, widely regarded as world-leaders. RA: WHAT ABOUT BUSINESS IN THE REST OF AFRICA? SRG: We regard developments in sub-Saharan Africa as truly exciting. As you probably know, we were awarded a contract, along with Transnet Rail Engineering, to refurbish Surtees Rail Poised for Another 60 Years Q & A with Surtees’ Tony Woods It is fitting - 2010 being a significant year in the history of railways in South Africa - to train the spotlight on the Surtees Rail Group (SRG). This stalwart of the country’s rail industry celebrates 60 years in business in South Africa, this year. Railways Africa spent time with Surtees director Tony Woods at the company’s Heriotdale headquarters on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Surtees’ Tony Woods SURTEESSURTEES RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 20102 www.railwaysafrica.com
  4. 4. wagons and locomotives for TransNamib in Namibia. This includes extensive work on ten locomotives – including some that have been severely damaged – and we are pleased to say we are well ahead of schedule. In the rest of Africa, we interact continuously with various companies in a long list of countries, among them Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville,Cameroon and the DRC. We sell and lease locomotives and related equipment to clients everywhere and our artisans, technicians and sales executives undertake regular visits. We foresee steady growth and expansion in this area. RA: TELL US MORE ABOUT THE SURTEES GROUP AND ITS HISTORY. SRG: Well, it all began as a family business, with Arthur Surtees and his son Colin in 1950. Surtees Railway Supplies (SRS), as the company was later called, started out by manufacturing, stocking and supplying steam locomotive and hopper equipment and parts for the industrial railway industry in Southern Africa. With the introduction of diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric locomotives about a decade later, SRS began to import, manufacture and stock equipment and parts for these units. By the 1990s, SRS had increased its warehouse space substantially and added a second workshop, enabling it to offer specialised manufacturing, reconditioning and repair facilities for all types of rolling stock. Today the Surtees Rail Group of Companies consists of SRS, Surtees Engineering and African Rail and Traction Services. RA: ARE YOU INVOLVED IN THE PASSENGER SIDE OF RAIL AT ALL? SRG: Yes indeed: we are a registered supplier to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), and provide a range of important products such as wheelsets. RA: MUCH HAS BEEN SAID RECENTLY ABOUT RAIL’S SHORTCOMINGS IN HANDLING FREIGHT. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THIS? SRG: In the next few years, as we see it, the performance of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is going to be absolutely critical. We will gladly support them in any way we can, and I’m sure I speak for most of the major role-players in our industry. All of us need to encourage and support TFR in working towards the optimisation of freight movement on our railways. SURTEESSURTEES September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 3www.railwaysafrica.com
  5. 5. Quick, critical decisions are needed from South Africa’s railway authorities – and they are needed in the very near future. Inexplicable hesitancy and unwarranted indecisiveness are losing the country vast sums every day. With countries like China currently buying as much coal as they can lay their hands on, imagine the frustration felt by Mpumalanga mining companies dependent on the railway to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT). This impressive facility has been successfully upgraded to a capacity of 91 million tons a year (mta), yet the rail line’s annual haulage is barely managing 65 to 70mta. According to Ernst Venter, executive general manager (business growth) of Exxaro, South Africa’s second largest coal producer, his company could potentially improve its revenue by R600 million per annum – together with a hefty proportional tax contribution - for every million tons of additional capacity on the railway. To its credit, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is pushing hard to improve its performance and the results are starting to show. For example, transport of domestic coal from Mpumalanga mines to Eskom’s Majuba Power Station in Standerton has grown by 36% from last year’s throughput of 5.8mt. The Majuba project has seen a consistent weekly average performance of 155,000 tons in recent weeks, which culminated in an all-time record of 170,000 tons in week 28. This project is an important initiative in power generation by Eskom for the whole country. EXPORT COAL COAL LINE AT THE CROSSROADS TFR acting chief executive Tau Morwe said this achievement came about as a result of collaborative effort and focus by all stakeholders involved. This contributed to improved train turn around times (TAT), infrastructure reliability, safety and security, amongst others. Transnet’s plan to invest R6 billion on the Richards Bay coal line over the next five years will increase the carrying capacity (theoretically) to 81mt by 2015. Group acting CE Chris Wells does not foresee the parastatal being able to afford any greater outlay. Hence, some form of private sector participation is urgently needed to lift the capacity closer to that of RBCT to ship the coal to an eager market. The coal mining companies, naturally, are more than ready to lend a hand. “We have already made a proposal to Transnet indicating that we are willing to invest in rolling stock to boost the coal line to the RBCT,” Venter says. Moreover, a coalition of mining groups is keen to participate in a public/private partnership (PPP) with Transnet – it’s very definitely on the agenda, he confirms. Ernst Venter, Exxaro executive general manager (business growth). EXPORT COAL RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 20104 www.railwaysafrica.com
  6. 6. EXPORT COAL Class 7E1 (25kV AC) locos heading 200-wagon coal train across the 57m high Umfolozi viaduct. The Richards Bay coal terminal. Similar deals involving coal miners and government-owned railways have worked well in countries like Australia. The only difference is that the Australians have fewer but larger users, making it easier to jointly manage a privately-owned rail and port system. South Africa has in excess of 20 companies using the coal line to Richards Bay. Exxaro believes a hybrid partnership of a consortium of mining groups and Transnet could work, Venter tells Railways Africa: “Considering how well the privately-owned coal terminal at Richards Bay is performing, perhaps we should consider a rail model along similar lines. We believe the coal line could be owned by a PPP vehicle and that coal-exporting participants should be allowed to introduce privately-owned rolling stock to the system.” He suggests an independent system operator could be created to ensure competent flow management, aligned with best practice principles. Asked if conventional privatisation and the effect of real market forces would not be the best way to solve freight movement problems in South Africa, Venter points out that in practical terms it is not as simple as this: “A mechanism needs to be created that will provide fair access to the system for the smaller and bigger players, without some getting preferential treatment. We believe a well-structured PPP is the best way to go.” A potential spanner-in-the-works appears to be the stance of trade unions. Cosatu has all but declared war at any hint of privatisation. The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) threatened mass action recently, in opposition to Transnet’s plan of offering concessions on branch lines, many of which are out of use anyway. On top of that ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has been calling for nationalisation of the mines. At a time when expansion and growth should be South Africa’s top priority, especially in the light of high unemployment and many other economic and social ailments, strong leadership is called for, to separate the wheat from the chaff. The country cannot afford the dubious luxury of dithering when it comes to earning – or losing – valuable foreign currency. In the case of the coal line to Richards Bay, a good recipe and all the required ingredients are ready and waiting on the table. It is high time that government - which stands to gain millions in tax money from increased mining revenue - should take the lead and hammer out a mutually beneficial agreement. This dilemma has gone on far too long. Is there nobody out there with enough nous to close the deal, clear the way for the mines to optimise earnings, and measurably benefit the whole country? Nseleni Richards Bay Emakawezini Isanangoyana Ilangakazil Ulundi Uloliwe Eqwasha Komvoorhoogte Engogwenil Vryheid Zungwenil Mahlummer Commondale Moolman Mkondo Piet Retief Kemp Iswepe OvervaalErmelo Webbsrus Broodsnyersplaas Paul Pietersburg White Umfolozi River INDIAN OCEAN Pongolo River Vaal River Assegaai RiverWITBANK N Transnet Freight Rail’s heavy-haul coal line. EXPORT COAL September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 5www.railwaysafrica.com
  7. 7. TUBULAR TRACK Tubular Modular Track (TMT) - railway track with a difference - is patented as a ballastless system having rails continuously supported on twin reinforced concrete beams laid on a specially designed formation. The beams are spaced apart with galvanised steel tie-bars, the ends of which encircle the beams, and are therefore not cast into the concrete. With pre-manufacturing, this track system is made up of twin reinforced concrete beams, linked with steel gauge- bars, on which rails are continuously supported. Tubular Track (Pty) Ltd has installed hundreds of kilometres in mines as well as at coal-loading and other sidings. The system has also provided a welcome solution for Metrorail passenger platforms, where consistent rail-to-platform height has been achieved. To insulate the system from shock when trains pass, rubber- bonded cork pads are placed continuously between the rails and beams. This innovative system replaces conventional track laid on sleepers and stone ballast, significantly reducing the cost of maintenance. The system is fully engineered, tested and quality-assured, and comprehensive warranties are offered, dependent on correct installation and maintenance procedures being followed. The reinforced concrete beams and the formation are designed by prominent consulting engineers to form an integral system. Site-specific designs are prepared to suit clients’ needs in respect of varying axle loads, operational speeds and annual tonnages, and are optimised to accord with prevailing geotechnical conditions. Track and turnouts are designed and manufactured in precast modular sections, with lengths to suit varying applications and handling constraints. Applications include main lines, marshalling yards, ports, urban light rail, tunnels, track alongside passenger platforms, level crossings, and lines in underground mines and at bulk loading sites. Conventional tracklaying is considered a “one channel of supply” construction where the critical path is the handling of material and equipment through a single supply line daily. TMT can be installed at many points simultaneously. SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF USING TUBULAR MODULAR TRACK: • TMT enables installation to be carried out at various points along the line, thereby permitting accelerated installation programmes. Logistically, TMT is such that materials can be delivered to any point at any one time. TMT does not need to rely on completed sections of the line being in place before bringing in materials for installation. • TMT, being pre-cast in modular sections, simplifies installation. • TMT design reduces rail stresses, formation costs, construction time and life-cycle costs. • Sand (in desert environments) does not affect the performance of TMT. Extensive testing of TMT by independent experts has shown that rail stresses are reduced by up to 75% compared with conventional ballasted track. This is due to the rails being continuously supported by the concrete beams. Significant savings are to be realised in the earthworks component as the formation width is narrower, offering up to 40% savings in construction costs. Formation design essentially follows the guidelines of Transnet’s S410 specification with the exception that the formation width is reduced to 3m for single track at a gauge of 1,067mm. TMT was first offered to the South African mining industry In 1989, and the first underground installation was carried out at the President Brand Mine. Since then, some 600km of tubular track has been installed on properties in the mining industry. The first South African and International patents were also registered in 1989. The first surface track for freight traffic was laid at the Consul Glass company in Wadeville Tubular Track: Revolution in Rail Innovation Tubular track in Namibia TUBULAR TRACK RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 20106 www.railwaysafrica.com
  8. 8. TUBULAR TRACK in 1990. This has been followed by many successful applications, particularly in South Africa, but also in the USA and Canada. Some of the surface installations carry more than 2.5 million gross tons per annum, with axle loads of up to 32 tons. In 1993/94, Transnet Freight Rail’s world-class Track Testing Centre was commissioned to carry out comprehensive practical testing, to validate early theoretical work done by Ove Arup Inc. At the same time, a control test was carried out on an equivalent length of conventional track. These tests validated the design procedure, and demonstrated very clearly the dramatically reduced stress levels and deflections in TMT when compared with ballasted track. Further confirmation was obtained from in-track tests, and on this basis Transnet Freight Rail approved the system for use in yards and sidings. In 1995, Transnet Freight Rail approved the installation of a test section adjacent to a passenger platform at Braamfontein Station in Johannesburg. This is one of the busiest commuter stations in the country, with freight and main-line passenger traffic also passing through. This TMT installation carries in excess of 15 million tons per annum. The successful development of TMT turnouts followed. These have been provided at sidings on the coal export line and at the Richards Bay Coal terminal, carrying axle loads up to 32 tons. Again, excellent geometric stability and reduced maintenance have been achieved. Significantly, these turnouts were constructed with 48kg/m rail and have carried in excess of 30 million tons. During 2003, precast modules designed for main-line (22 ton axle-load) conditions were tested successfully at the Transnet Freight Rail Track Testing Centre in Johannesburg. A report on the tests has been prepared by Africon Engineering International and Transnet Freight Rail. After simulating a five-year main-line usage period, settlement in the system of about 1mm was measured, with absolutely no damage to the precast modules or the grout underlying the modules. In-track testing subsequently took place on a section of the Sishen-Saldanha Ore Line in an area noted for ground clay. Altogether a million tons of ore is conveyed over this route every month. To date about 25 million tons have passed over the TMT portion, which has required no maintenance. More recently Tubular Track (Pty) Ltd has been contracted to lay sections of line for Bombardier, a member of the Bombela consortium which is building the Gautrain system. The company is also involved in a joint venture with Central Mining Company Investment Limited (CMCI), named T-Track Saudi. Tubular Track Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the local railway authority recently installed a 900 metre section of TMT on the main-line between Harad and Al Tawdihiyah in the Eastern Province. This line carries mainly containerised freight between Dammam and the capital, Riyadh. In Namibia, the Department of Transport and consulting engineers Kleber & Associates have shown their faith in TMT technology by specifying it for the first 25km of the railway reconstruction between Aus and Luderitz in the south of the country. Maintenance is a very costly component in the life-cycle of any track system. Over time, extensive capital expenditure in plant and resources is required to maintain ballasted track, the bulk of the expenditure going into ballast cleaning and replacement, and tamping. TMT, being ballastless, requires minimal maintenance below the rails, and maintenance is not plant-intensive. Expected savings on maintenance can be up to 60% compared with ballasted track. “Ultimately, TMT offers many areas of savings, in particular, formation construction, rails and maintenance”, says Tubular Track (Pty) Ltd contracts director Craig Tengstrom. “Had TMT been in existence 150 years ago, it may well have been the first choice of the world’s railway engineers.” New platform specification - Platform and coach floor on the same level. Tubular track at a Metrorail station. Tubular Modular Turnout at Ermelo -After 360 MGT - Rail Grinding only done once. TUBULAR TRACK September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 7www.railwaysafrica.com
  9. 9. MAP GRAPHIC PRODUCED BY BRUNO MARTIN - 2010 Bundaberg Maryborough Gold Coast Gympie BRISBANE Dalby Toowoomba Mitchell Goondiwindi Warwick Stanthorpe Rockhampton Gladstone Cunnamulla Dirranbandi Mackay Springsure Bowen Emerald Moura Mundubbera Roma Miles Ayr Yaraka Longreach Quilpie Blackall Barcaldine Clermont Charleville Cairns Townsville Towers Charters Innisfail Kuranda Croydon Forsyth Normanton Richmond Winton CloncurryMount Isa Hughenden Ingham Darwin Brisbane eb r aC n QUEENSLAND Hobart rne e o ial d ble u ar Sydney Perth dA AUSTRALIA M e (423km) (152km) (34km) (777km) (977km) (1325km) (1681km) Tourist trains Brisbane - Cairns (1681km) Brisbane - Rockhampton (622km) MAP GRAPHIC PRODUCED BY BRUNO MARTIN - 2010 Traveltrain services Yaraka Moura Springsure Other passenger lines Kuranda Scenic Railway QUEENSLAND RAIL NETWORK Freight lines Savannahlander Gulflander Quilpie Kuranda Forsyth Croydon Clermont Gympie Maryborough Innisfail Ayr Bowen Stanthorpe Mundubbera Barcaldine Richmond Ingham The Westlander The Inlander Spirit of the Outback Tilt Train Sunlander / Queenslander QUEENSLAND Darwin Sydney Hobart bn err laie C de a ou Melb d rne aPerth Mackay A Brisbane Cairns Townsville Charters Towers Winton Hughenden Normanton CloncurryMount Isa Bundaberg Miles Roma Gladstone Rockhampton Warwick BRISBANE Goondiwindi Toowoomba Dalby Blackall Charleville Dirranbandi Cunnamulla Mitchell Emerald Gold Coast Longreach Q U E E N S L A N D AUSTRALIA Retirement gives increased opportunities to travel and with generous fare concessions available, there is no better way to see more of Australia than taking a long-distance train. While the Indian Pacific and the Ghan are among the best- known trans-continental journeys, Queensland Rail (QR) operates Australia’s largest network of intra-state long- distance passenger trains marketed under the Traveltrain brand-name. The choice of accommodation ranges from the luxurious Queenslander class for the discerning; 1st class for a bit of luxury without the lavish price tag, and economy class sleepers and sitters for the budget-conscious. Australia’s only Tilt Trains, which set an Australian rail speed record of 210km/h in 1998, represent the most modern additions although their operational speed is limited to a maximum 160km/h. QR operates 8,575km of 1,067mm gauge track, of which 1,970km is electrified at 25kV AC. Our journey on the Sunlander began at Roma Street Transit Centre in Brisbane, where all northbound long-distance services depart from platform 10. After depositing our luggage in our allocated berth 7 in Car B, I had an hour before departure at 13:30 to have a look at the train. Diesel- electrics 2320 & 1739 were followed by a baggage car, a staff car, then dining, lounge and sleeper for the upmarket Queenslander class, followed by six first-class sleepers, two economy class sleepers, dining car, club car, three economy class sitters, power car and a motorail carrier with three cars - 20 vehicles in total. My impression was that the occupancy rate for first and economy class sleepers and sitter cars was near to full. There would have been up to 14 passengers in the Queenslander class sleeper. The “lander” trains were introduced in 1952. Altogether 49 coaches were built, making up eight air-conditioned trainsets. Due to lightly-laid track on the western routes, axle loads were restricted to 9¼ tons. With regular maintenance and refurbishing, many coaches have provided nearly 60 years’ good service. The Queenslander was launched as QR’s flagship luxury train in 1992 on a once weekly return trip from Brisbane to Cairns. But with the introduction of the diesel Tilt Trains on the same route in 2003, the Queenslander and Sunlander were combined into one train. For an all- inclusive fare of A$784, Queenslander class passengers enjoy fine dining in an exclusive restaurant car, entertainment in the lounge car, and dedicated staff who pamper their guests with a “host of special touches” in keeping with the ambience of a five-star hotel on wheels. The Queenslander class was voted as one of the World’s Top 25 Rail Journeys by the US-based Society of International Railway Travellers in 2007 and 2008. In South Africa, Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa features on the same roll of honour. The first class “twinette” berth has comfortable day seating which converts to two fold-down beds, one lower and one upper. Bedding, pillows and bath towels are included in the fare. First-class accommodation also caters for single passengers travelling on their own and includes a coach with 14 “Roomettes”. Passengers in economy class have to bring their own bedding, pillows and towels. Each coach has two toilets similar to the retention type used on aircraft, and a shower cubicle with hot and cold water (soap and shampoo provided). Departure was right on time, the train immediately entering a tunnel beneath the city to the cavernous Central Station. Another tunnel – under Fortitude Valley - was followed by a Letter From Australia Swiss by birth, Bruno Martin worked and resided in South Africa for many years. Today he lives in Queensland, whose 1,067mm gauge railways provide instructive comparisons with those in South Africa. This is Bruno’s account of a recent journey on the Sunlander - from Brisbane to Cairns. FAST FACTS ABOUT QR’S TRAVELTRAIN SERVICES: ■ The Sunlander, Brisbane-Cairns, 1,681km, 31 hours, three times weekly in each direction. Premium Queenslander class cars are attached twice weekly. ■ Tilt Train, Brisbane-Cairns, 1,681km, 23 hours 55 min, twice weekly in each direction. ■ Tilt Train, Brisbane-Rockhampton, 622km, 7 hours 25 min, daily in each direction. ■ Spirit of the Outback, Brisbane-Longreach, 1,325km, 24 hours, twice weekly. ■ The Westlander, Brisbane-Charleville, 777km, 17 hours, twice weekly in each direction. ■ The Inlander, Townsville-Mount Isa, 977km, 20 hours, twice weekly in each direction. TOURIST TRAINS: ■ Kuranda Scenic Railway, Cairns-Kuranda, 34km, 1 hour 45 minutes, twice daily in each direction. ■ The Gulflander, Normanton-Croydon, 152km, 4 hours, once weekly return journey. Operates seasonally. ■ The Savannahlander tourist train, operated by Cairns-Kuranda Steam Railway, Cairns-Forsyth, 423km, once weekly return journey, service operates only between early March and mid December, 4-day excursion. QUEENSLAND JOURNEYQUEENSLAND JOURNEY RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 20108 www.railwaysafrica.com
  10. 10. sedate ride through the suburban stations of north Brisbane until our first stop at Caboolture. North of Caboolture we noted the most recent new construction in an on-going process of track improvements. The most prominent features along this section are the Glass House Mountains, the remnants of volcanic plugs, so named by Captain Cook in 1770 because they reminded him of the glass kilns of his home town in Yorkshire. We headed for the Club Car where drinks and light snacks are available at a service counter. The train picked up speed along another realigned section of track through the Blackall Ranges, then slowed again around a circuitous piece of the original alignment and back onto a newer section as we approached Gympie North - 174km from Brisbane - our next stop at 16:55. By the time we reached Maryborough West at 18:18. daylight had faded, and with an announcement on the intercom that dinner was being served, we made our way to the diner, not forgetting to place the “please turn the bed down” sign on our compartment door. The menu offered a choice of meat, fish or vegetarian dishes at very reasonable prices, all freshly prepared in the confines of the galley. Snacks or light meals - or just a cold beer – could be had in the Club Car until 21:30. After retiring to bed, it took a while to become accustomed to the motion but I did fall asleep, so missing seeing the train run down the middle of Denison Street in Rockhampton at midnight. This arrangement dates from 1899 when two separate railway systems were joined together with the construction of the Fitzroy River bridge. To save the cost of expensive property acquisition, the track was laid in the town’s main street. Although the 622km stretch from Brisbane to Rockhampton is under 25kV wires, diesel-electric locomotives power the train all the way to Cairns. When electrification came in 1989, the 39 class electric units were initially allocated to perform this duty, but were gradually withdrawn during 2003, rebuilt and are now assigned to hauling coal trains. Daybreak brought us to Mackay, 964km from Brisbane, with departure at 06:00. We now entered sugar-cane country with cane fields on both sides of the track, as well as orchards growing tropical fruits: mangos, paw-paws and avocados. In many ways it was reminiscent of travelling on the old SAR, and even uncanny, for a voice in unmistakeable South African English announced breakfast over the intercom at 7:00. There were brief stops for passengers at several small- town stations - this is by no means an express service. Between Home Hill and Ayr the line crosses the mighty Burdekin River on an 1,100 metre bridge, the longest on the route. In Townsville, 1,341km from Brisbane, the train stopped for 30 minutes during which both dining cars were restocked. At 12:15 the journey continued and once past Ingham the line enters the stunningly beautiful region of world-heritage-listed Wet Tropics rainforest. After a brief stop at Innisfail, Queensland’s highest peak, Mount Bartle Frere (1,622m) comes into view. There are numerous stretches of slow running, particularly north of Townsville and it is not surprising that it takes 7 hours to cover the 340km to Cairns; the last 87km from Innisfail to Cairns alone takes 1hr 45minutes. Here, in tropical North Queensland the use of narrow gauge (610mm) railways for cane haulage is very much in evidence. Six sugar mills operate around 1.000km of track with cane trains carrying very heavy loads, controlled by sophisticated operating systems. It is not unusual to see a cane railway crossing the QR main-line on a diamond crossing. It is of interest that this northern section of the main-line was the last to be linked in the piecemeal process of joining together Queensland’s nine separate rail systems. This was finally achieved in 1924, marking completion of the “North Coast Line” connecting Brisbane with Cairns –a misnomer, really, seeing the line actually follows the east coast of Queensland. Speed ranged from a snail’s pace at times to some brisk running at an estimated 80km/h in places, perhaps even 100km/h, but generally it was a smooth ride. The train ran to schedule and arrived around 10 minutes early in Cairns at 19:05. Diamond crossing: QR main-line and cane track. Townsville Station. Sunlander at Cairns. QUEENSLAND JOURNEYQUEENSLAND JOURNEY RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201010 www.railwaysafrica.com
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. However, most of the lines require investment in infrastructure and rolling stock before being able to offer efficient, let alone flexible services. But it is the only way forward. If professional logistics operators cannot find efficiencies through aligning their existing road-based services with those lines currently supporting agricultural products, then the future for rail in the sector is not good,’ Marsay says.” According to I-Net Bridge, quoting South Africa’s grain silo industry (GSI) managing director Dr Anton Dubbe, “the silos were built to receive grain by road and dispatch it by rail. In the early nineties more than 85% of all grain was dispatched from silos to the industry by rail. The present ratio is lower than 30%, Dubbe says: ‘This means higher transport costs to the grain value chain, more road trucks on the national roads, more trucks on silo sites and capital outlays by silo owners to adopt silos to out-load by road’. “Also, the grain industry has lost the rail capacity to dispatch high volumes to export harbours, if opportunities to export arise. ‘At least 10 million tons of grains are used locally, implying that a substantial sustained business opportunity to transport grain by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is lost,” Dubbe says. But while acknowledging attempts by TFR to improve the grain business, ‘real inputs’ are needed to better the capacity, capability, infrastructure - lines and rolling stock - and the will to service the grain industry. ‘Establishing a Grain Desk to co-ordinate and focus on grain transport by rail might contribute to a better turnaround in this regard,’ he says. Transport economics specialist Andrew Marsay, quoted by I-Net Bridge, says the background to the use of rail in SA agriculture goes back to the 1913 South African Railways & Harbours Act (SAR&H). It set out a twofold mandate for the railway: to operate profitably, and to open up the country for mining, agriculture and manufacturing. “SAR&H set about the task with vigour,” Marsay says, “and much of the rail network as we know it today - other than the main intercity routes - was built during the next 10 years. The company succeeded in both elements of its mandate, though sometimes going to government for additional funding if it felt that a good economic case existed for opening up a new area, even though revenues could not fund the required investment.” “In this way,” I-Net Bridge explains, “the grainlands of the Free State, Transvaal and Western Cape, the fruit industry of the Western Cape, and the Natal and eastern Transvaal timber industries were successfully developed. But from the early 1920s onwards, a new transport technology emerged, threatening what railways had so effectively done to the ox-wagon, namely displace it with a more effective mode of transport capable of yielding far wider benefits even though at higher immediate cost. “Protective measures were then put in place to protect the rail market, especially in the agricultural sector. For 60 years, from the mid 20s to the mid 1980s, rail enjoyed a privileged position in which road transport was excluded from much of the business that it could otherwise have undertaken profitably, he said. “When the transport sector in South Africa was partially deregulated in the mid-1980s, the consequence was a huge drop in rail freight and a competitive advance in the role of road transport including the agricultural sector. ‘Even bulk materials such as grain have been substantially taken over by road transport.’ “Asked about the future of rail transport in the agricultural sector, Marsay says the railway needs to bring in supply chain expertise and not operating expertise if it hopes to retain - let alone win - new business. ‘Transnet appears to be aware of this and is currently in the process of concessioning some branch lines - the very ones that serve the agricultural sector,’ he says. ‘Hopefully private sector logistics companies, who understand the importance of service quality above price, may be able to make some of these lines work better than Transnet can. GRAIN TRAINS AGRICULTURE AND THE RAILWAY Grain train at Houwhoek, 100km east of Cape Town, behind four class 35 diesels. “The strongest remaining rail businesses in the agricultural sector are grain in the Western Cape’s Overberg region and also timber in KwaZulu Natal.” – Andrew Marsay. Photo: Peter Rogers. Photo: Paul Ash in the Sunday Times. Silos at Caledon, 140km east of Cape Town. Photo: Peter Rogers. GRAIN TRAINS RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201012 www.railwaysafrica.com
  13. 13. PETE THE PUNDIT’S BRIEF WORLD WRAP-UP FUNDING A REVIVED RAIL LINE People involved with rail heritage in South Africa may find this story instructive: Campaigners for the restoring of the 19km Colne (Lancashire) to Skipton (Yorkshire) line, taken up in 1970, have run a series of special trains to prove the route is viable. The British government’s attitude is interesting: A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are broadly supportive of the project but we are not funded to deliver it so the scheme does not figure in our current plans. Should third party funds become available we would be happy to work with the funders on progressing the scheme.” The Skipton, East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership (Selrap) has been identifying alternative funding sources, such as a proposed regional growth fund, described as “a £1bn pot of government money which will allow groups to bid for money for plans which increase investment, jobs and growth in their area.” Pennine Lancashire is seen as an economically deprived area that “needs connectivity if it’s going to grow,” Selrap says. The group, which believes the line would provide an essential alternative to existing full capacity trans-pennine routes, hopes to lobby the Department for Transport (DfT) to make rebuilding the line a condition of the trans-Pennine franchise renewal. Representatives are also talking to private train operating companies and developers with a track record in successfully re-opening old railway lines. UK UNION SLAMS TOILETLESS TRAINS The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ union (RMT) has described Southern Railway’s decision to forgo toilet facilities on its latest trains running from Portsmouth to Brighton as “unacceptable”. Designed to create ‘more space’ for passengers, the trains are being introduced to the network in December. Representatives for Southern Railway deny the move will cause passengers any discomfort, suggesting they simply use the toilet before boarding the train and dismissing the suggestion that it is unusual for carriages not to provide the facilities. A spokesperson also pointed out that the latest trains will feature “refreshed” interiors including new seats and flooring, a passenger information system and flexible spaces for wheelchairs and cycles. DRASTIC MEASURES IN GREECE Organismos Sidirodromon Ellados (OBE - the Hellenic Railways Organisation, ie the Greek state railway) is a major liability that provides sub-standard service, says Prime Minister George Papandreou. OBE currently owes some €10.7 billion in debts. Transport minister Dimitris Reppas has announced drastic restructuring that will see employee bonuses and overtime pay slashed. Loss-making rail services are to be shut down and a 49% stake in rail operator TrainOSE is to be sold. Unions have already held protest strikes against a planned cut in employee strength from 6,300 to 3,800. Passenger services are to be opened up to private competition. LIRR SERVICE CUTS Some of the most drastic service cuts in the 176-year history of the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) into Manhattan were scheduled from 13 September. Weekend service to nearly a dozen stations has been eliminated, and a number of morning and evening rush hour trains have been cancelled or delayed. The service cuts, part of a larger package of reductions adopted by the Metropolitan Transport Authority’s board of directors in March, will impact more than 14,000 commuters. They aim to save the LIRR $US950,000 this year and $3.8 million annually beginning next year. The cuts represent only a fraction of the pain that Long Island commuters could be feeling soon. Fare hikes are expected to take effect across the MTA in January, including LIRR ticket price increases of almost 10%. The LIRR is expected to lay off 98 employees this month. Though 65 will transfer into other positions. 33 will be out of work altogether. MTA management has said unions could help cut the line’s deficit by agreeing to concessions. The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen says management’s pleas are “insincere” and come at the same time they are “wasting billions”. SPENDING CUTS TO HIT RAIL GROWTH According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, the global railway supply industry can expect “sharply lower growth” as investment falls in China and Europe. Commissioned by Unife, the European railway industry association, the study forecasts that growth in the sector, which has reached 9% annually in recent years, will fall to 2.4% in the period until the financial year 2015-16. Chinese manufacturers are expected to become an “increasingly important force” worldwide, with slowing domestic growth pushing them into exporting their products. The World Rail Market Study 2020, published on 13 September, has been compiled ahead of the biennial InnoTrans exhibition, the biggest worldwide railway industry exhibition, which opens in Berlin on 21 September. Peter Ulrich, the BCG partner who oversaw the study’s preparation, says recent years saw high growth in both demand to use trains and for rail equipment - ranging from rolling stock to track and signalling equipment. “We’re coming now into a phase where, based on the very high baseline, we will still have very high demand but a slightly slower growth trajectory,” he says. Long-term trends such as increased urbanisation and greater global trade will help the railway industry, the projection for slower growth in the near future is based on signs that the Chinese market’s growth would slow. WORLD Believed to be Volksrust. Photographer unknown.Believed to be Volksrust. Photographer unknown. WORLD RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201014 www.railwaysafrica.com
  14. 14. The building of China’s dedicated high-speed rail network was accelerated under China’s anti-crisis spending package, leaving less work for future years. The study took into account the likelihood that high debt loads in many “mature economies” would lead them to scrap planned rail investments. Many of those interviewed for the study said they expected Chinese suppliers to make a significant impact on the international market in coming years, as they used expertise gleaned in their own market’s expansion to win export orders. Signs of this were seen after Germany’s Siemens pulled out of bidding to supply high-speed trains to Saudi Arabia and instead joined a consortium with China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation. NZ PUB CHARITY SUPPORTS RAIL MUSEUM Pub Charity, one of the major gaming trusts in New Zealand, has granted NZ$400,000 towards the building project of the country’s National Railway Museum. Fortunately the library and archives suffered no structural damage as a result of the recent 7.1 Richter earthquake. However, a number of shelving units fell over, spilling books and boxes of archive material. 24HR RUNNING FOR SEVERN’S 40TH Sharply contrasting with South Africa’s disinterest in its railways’ 150th birthday, the restored Severn Valley Railway’s (SVR, UK) 40th anniversary was celebrated in style. Trains ran throughout the night during a three-day steam gala from 24-26 September. More than 60 hours of activities were organised from the start of the event at 07:30 on Friday to the final train whistle at 18:00 on Sunday. By closing time, more than 350 train journeys were made during the weekend with passenger trains set to run through the night at 90-minute intervals. More than 5,000 visitors were expected over the three days. The number of trains operating on the route was comparable to a busy summer weekend on one of Britain’s main lines in the 1950s. Five extra locomotives were brought in from other lines in the UK for the event. It was a homecoming for an engine which worked the SVR’s first public passenger trains during the attraction’s infancy in 1970. The Great Western Railway 2251 class 0-6-0 no 3205 returned from its present home at the South Devon Railway’s Buckfastleigh to the Severn Valley after 25 years. It was scheduled to replicate some of its first duties on the SVR by working a series of three-coach Bridgnorth to Highley shuttle trains and also trains between Kidderminster and Arley. Fittingly, in the 70th anniversary year of the Battle of Britain, a visit by a 4-6-2 locomotive named Manston (Battle of Britain class dating from 1947) was arranged. The last steam locomotive built by the Southern Railway, it is now based at the Swanage Railway in Dorset. Another visitor was the former Great Western Railway’s City of Truro, which claimed the world’s first 100mph record by a steam locomotive. CHINESE RAIL TRAFFIC STATS According to China’s ministry of railways, railway passenger traffic in August rose 8.1% year on year to 162 million, due largely to large numbers of holiday makers and students travelling prior to the school-opening season. During the first eight months of 2010, the country’s railways transported 1.14 billion passengers, up 8.9% year on year, even taking into account the adverse effect of record flooding during the recent summer. Persistent heavy rains and the resulting floods struck a dozen south China provinces, including Jiangxi, Fujian, Hunan, Guangdong and Sichuan. From January to August, railway freight traffic reached 2.4 billion tonnes, surging 12.8% year on year, led by robust coal transport. China railways transported 1.32 billion tonnes of coal in the first eight months, up 16.4% year on year. WORLDWORLD September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 15www.railwaysafrica.com
  15. 15. INDUSTRY COMMENT ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND Heavy-haul is the present backbone of railways in South Africa, as well as in a few other African countries. It is appropriate therefore to step back and assess heavy-haul positioning against some challenging metrics that the author selected from a paper presented to the recent US Joint Rail Conference on Heavy-haul railway electrification - experiences and prospects. South Africa has two electrified 1,067mm gauge heavy- haul lines, both commissioned in 1976. Planned before the 1973 oil crisis, both lines initially featured industry-standard diesel traction. Subsequently, a threatened oil embargo plus low electricity tariffs stimulated extensive railway electrification. Hence they were electrified in 1977, and the South African Railways and its successors developed expertise to regularly operate electrically-hauled trains of 20,000 tonnes or more. Readers will be familiar with the details (the following two paragraphs simply recap pertinent aspects). The Ermelo-Richards Bay Coal Line was commissioned for 15 million tonnes per annum (mta), initially with diesel traction, later electrified at 25kV 50Hz AC. Maximum axle loads were 20 tonnes for wagons and 21 tonnes for locomotives. Ruling gradients in both directions were 1.52%. The line was upgraded to 65mta in the mid 1980s, by raising wagon axle load to 26 tonnes, locomotive axle load to 28 tonnes, laying heavier rail, double tracking, flattening gradients against loaded trains to 0.625%, and acquiring new electric locomotives and new 200-wagon, 20,800 tonne trains. Ruling gradients in the empty direction remained unchanged. The trains still maintain their slender lead as the world’s heaviest electrically-hauled line. In 1994, operating costs were benchmarked as the world’s lowest cost-per-net-ton-km, confirming soundness of design. The then South African Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation (Iscor) conceived the Sishen-Saldanha iron ore line originally as a standard gauge, diesel-traction, heavy- haul railway. During design, it was drawn into the South African Railways fold, and built to South Africa’s 1,067mm gauge. The single-track route was commissioned for 18mta, initially with diesel traction, but was later electrified at 50kV 50Hz AC. Maximum axle loads were originally 26 tonnes for wagons and 28 tonnes for locomotives. Both were raised to 30 tonnes in 2002, currently the world’s highest axle load on less-then-standard-gauge. This appears to be a resistance point, so train length has proved the next best option to increase throughput. Ruling gradients have remained at 0.4% against loaded trains and 1% against empty trains since inception. Expansion to 60mta is currently under way, by providing more crossing loops, adding new wagons and new electric locomotives, and strengthening the traction power supply. The rest is history. Fast forward now to the present. Both lines are commissioning new locomotives, class 15E on Sishen-Saldanha and class 19E on Ermelo-Richards Bay. A comparison between state-of-the-art in South Africa, and two other significant heavy-haul railway settings, yields interesting insights. COUNTRIES SELECTED FOR COMPARISON The author selected two representative settings: first the US, where heavy-haul originated (and where diesel traction currently reigns supreme) and second China, a relative newcomer that operates electric heavy-haul. Together, they representextremepolesbetweenwhich to evaluate heavy-haul railways in other countries, including South Africa. By using extreme examples, the issues are illustrated dramatically. The US allows relatively high axle load, namely 32.4 tonnes in unrestricted interchange. It is sufficiently high to support an industry-leading load/tare ratio of 5.86:1, a critical parameter for energy optimisation. Trains are comparatively short at 150 wagons or less. The power output of locomotives determines balancing speed under load. Diesel locomotives compare modestly with electric locomotives in this regard. With traction motors of ≈640kW at rail, using high adhesion, they achieve 15- 20 km/h on typical 0.8-1% upgrades. Depending on throughput, this may require up to four tracks at some sites, for example the Powder River Basin Joint Line, with 400mta nameplate capacity. China’s economy is set to overtake that of the US, currently the world’s largest. It is also closely comparable to the US in physical size, although their populations are of course vastly different. Along the way, it has developed the Datong-Qinhuangdao heavy-haul railway, with 400mta nameplate capacity. The 653km route length features asymmetrical gradients, 0.4% against loaded trains, and 1.2% against empty trains. Topographically, it is thus comparable to South Africa’s Sishen-Saldanha line. Its present 25 tonne axle load is low by global heavy-haul standards, but balancing speed on long upgrades is a high 70km/h. It is electrified at 25kV 50Hz AC. As in South Africa, capacity has grown to several multiples of the original design, of course off a much higher base. However, growth pains have been similar, reflecting the challenges of expanding the throughput of an electrified railway. Problems included absorbing regenerated energy, a weak external power supply system, and low line voltage. CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE The fundamental drivers of heavy-haul system design are axle load, load/tare ratio and traction motor rating. These in turn influence payload per train, the number of trains per unit time for given capacity, and the required traction power. The accompanying table compares selected variables of the US, South African and Chinese heavy-haul solutions: Note that the parameters are given per traction motor, to obviate confounding the analysis by locomotive axle arrangement, train length, and other considerations. Design of a real railway will of course consider multipliers such as ruling gradients, number of tracks - single, double, triple or quadruple - train length, locomotive configuration, energy supply constraints, and many others. In a globalised economy, one would expect convergence among solutions. One might even argue that diesel heavy- haul has converged. Few would dispute that Fortescue Metals Group’s new heavy-haul railway in Australia’s Pilbara represents a model specification, featuring 40-tonne axle load, diesel traction, ECP braking, and other hallmarks of contemporary heavy-haul. However, the table suggests that electric heavy-haul solutions have diverged rather than converged, not only among each other, but also with respect to diesel traction. In a world where the prospects of electric heavy-haul are rising, the industry needs to understand the drivers of convergence and divergence. In particular, the metrics in the last two lines bear deep thought. Some Thoughts on Optimising Heavy Haul Dave van der Meulen, managing member, Railway Corporate Strategy CC INDUSTRY COMMENT RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201016 www.railwaysafrica.com
  16. 16. INDUSTRY COMMENT ENERGY CONSIDERATIONS It must be appreciated that diesel and electric traction are of different system type. Diesel traction is a closed system, subject to entropic decay and the need, quite literally, to add external energy from time to time by way of refuelling. By contrast, electric traction can function potentially as an open system: To the extent that it is open, it can interchange energy with, and even contribute energy to, its environment. Many heavy-haul railways descend from mine to port, including those in South Africa. Ermelo’s altitude is 1,645m; Sishen’s is 1,295m. Both lines are potential net energy generators. In other words, the altitude of the mines is such that energy dissipated in maintaining the speed of loaded trains on downgrades to the ports can be more than sufficient to return empty trains to the mines. Practice rarely achieves this ideal, because the entropy of existing heavy-haul systems is high. Railway electrification originally provided a one-way energy supply. Where locomotives were able to regenerate, the technology of the time did not support returning energy to the supply grid. Resistors at substations or on locomotives dissipated any local surplus and, as a closed system, it was unable to turn a net surplus to advantage. However, the notion of simply dissipating local surplus energy in resistors is increasingly untenable. Even energy drawn from renewable sources incurs the cost of harnessing it. Matching single-phase overhead traction equipment to a three-phase supply grid requires the three supply phases to be connected in turn to consecutive OHTE sections. While the objective of regeneration is to transfer potential energy from a descending train to where another consumer can use it productively, surplus trains and demand trains (or external consumers) could be some distance apart. They could therefore be on different electrical phases, linked only through the external supplier’s grid. Furthermore, surpluses and demands may occur at different times. Conducting energy from surplus sites to demand sites thus invokes the classic logistics challenge of place and time utility. On-board energy storage in batteries, as on hybrid diesel locomotives, might have value, if the total system is not a net generator of energy: If it were, surplus energy would need to be dissipated or exported. Grid storage should rise to the need, although some power utilities still seem disinclined to accept electricity generated by others. However, contemporary power electronics, and emerging smart grids, have made it possible to conceive of open traction systems, whereby energy flows to mutual benefit in both directions between the environment and trains. A new paradigm is therefore required - smart total energy management. It is evidently valuable to minimise system entropy from a total energy management perspective. Note thus that load/ tare ratio is a function of axle load. The higher the axle load, the higher the load/tare ratio. The higher the load/tare ratio, the larger the surplus energy remaining at the end of a loaded journey to ports, and the less energy required to return empty trains to mines. Recall also that heavy-haul runs loaded one way, and empty the other. While it might have been sensible formerly to provide flatter gradients against loaded trains than against empty, to regenerate all surplus energy (but dissipate none in friction braking), requires locomotives to control the same load on downgrades that they can haul on upgrades. Up and downgrades should therefore be approximately equally steep. Excessive asymmetry will force loaded trains to dissipate potential energy through friction braking on downgrades, thereby increasing the entropy of such railways. CONCLUSIONS The selected tonne-km/h per traction motor metrics are too far apart to ignore. South Africa appears to perform at a higher level than the US, but standard gauge rolling stock exhibits superior performance to that on narrower gauges. China appears to play in a league of its own, but its low axle load trailing stock is passé. Capital costs have not been considered at all. What could heavy-haul achieve if all parameters were set to best-of- breed? A rethink of key heavy-haul parameters following an open systems approach seems indicated. What magnitude of axle load and traction motor size might be ideal? Will acceptance of independent power production and a mature approach to building symbiotic relations among multiple energy consumers and multiple sources be required? Interesting times lie ahead! COMPELLING INSIGHT FROM ORIGINAL RESEARCH www.railcorpstrat.com COUNTRY US SOUTH AFRICA SOUTH AFRICA CHINA Commodity Coal Coal Iron ore Coal Motive power type Diesel 19E Electric 15E Electr + diesel Electric Motor, kW at rail 640 735 735 1,250 Adhesion, % 37.0 31.7 25.7 26.0 Tractive effort, kN 118 78 76 64 Loaded upgrade, % 1 0.625 0.4 0.4 Empty upgrade, % 1 1.52 1 1.2 Locomotive axle load, tonnes 32.4 25 30 25 Wagon axle load, tonnes 32.4 26.0 30.0 25.0 Tare axle load, tonnes 4.7 5.0 5.0 5.0 Payload, tonnes/ wagon 111 84 100 80 Load/tare ratio 5.9 4.2 5.0 4.0 Loaded speed, km/h 19.6 34.0 35.0 70.6 Trailing load, tonnes/ traction motor 1,056 1,040 1,490 1,217 Wagons, number/ traction motor 8.1 10.0 12.4 12.2 Payload, tonnes/ traction motor 902 840 1242 974 Tonne-km/h per traction motor 17,680 28,549 43,472 68,735 Tonne-km/h ratio 1.00 1.61 2.46 3.89 INDUSTRY COMMENT September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 17www.railwaysafrica.com
  17. 17. Benin-Niger Railway and Transport Unified company (OCBN), operated by both states. The governments of Benin and Niger have decided to float the operation of the OCBN railway and its trade dependencies in Niger by mean of an international offer call. This process is to be placed in the hands of a private partner “with a good financial base” and proven experience in railway management. There have been two previous attempts at creating such a concession - in 2005 and 2008 – but neither was successful. Total Benin-Niger freight traffic is growing steadily, from 1.04 tonnes in 2005 to over 1.9 million tonnes in 2009. It is expected to grow further with the development of the major mining and petroleum potential of the Niger, as well as the agricultural development in northern Benin. CAMEROON MBALAM PROJECT CRCC China-Africa Construction Limited (CAC) and Sundance Resources Ltd (Sundance) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the scope, cost and delivery programme for the railway track and rolling stock needed to support Sundance’s Mbalam Project in Cameroon and Congo, West Africa. The MOU binds the parties to work together to establish: 1. Scope, cost and programme for delivery of track and rolling stock sufficient to support planned output of 35mta of iron ore from Sundance’s proposed Cameroon and Congo mines and 2. Terms of EPC contract under which CAC would deliver the mine rail project. At the conclusion of that work the parties may enter into a delivery contract for the mine rail project. Neither party is bound to enter into the delivery contract if it is not prudent to do so. The MOU recognises that the mine rail project will be integral with the mine project itself and the Lolabe port development project. The MOU also recognises that the rail, mine and port projects are subject to a range of conditions. AFRICA UPDATE ANGOLA CFL ONLY OPEN IN 2011 The full 424km length of Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL) to Malanje will not open in December as planned, but only in the second half of 2011, director of the National Railway Institute Julio Bango announced early in October. This is due, he explains, to “some technical, operational and administrative delays”. The line has been inoperative for 18 years, due to the armed conflict. Rehabilitation, which began in 2005, has involved the reconstruction of 40 bridges and 16 stations. PRIVATE PARTICIPATION WANTED IN ANGOLA According to director of the National Railway Institute Julio Bango, the government of Angola is keen to encourage private sector participation in the country’s “railway business”. Addressing the press in Luanda following a meeting between transport minister Augusto Tomás and the board chairmen of each of the country’s railways, he said the government is open to partnerships with private Angolan and foreign companies wishing to cooperate, provided they comply with requirements. There is “no exclusivity for state companies,” Bango stressed. Opportunities are open for all willing to intervene in the railways controlled by his institute (NCFA), which is responsible both for certifying equipment in use and the licensing of operators. The railways represented at the meeting were Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB), Caminhos de ferro de Namibe (CFN) and Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL) BENIN EXTENDING FROM BENIN TO NIGER The cities of Niamey in Niger and Cotonou in Benin are to join forces in financing a series of technical studies into the economic and environmental impact of rehabilitating and extending the existing 438km Cotonou-Parakou railway in Benin to Dosso in Niger. The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is said to be supporting the studies with $US250 million. In its initial phase, it is envisaged that the project would be controlled by a joint Though the rehabilitated line from Luanda to Malanje was officially opened at this ceremony on 30 August 2008, the start-up date for public service has been put back to the second half of 2011. BURKINA FASO NIGERIA Kano Jos Kaduna Niamey Kaya Banfora Ougadougou Dosso Malanville Parakou Blitta Ilorin Abuja Makurdi Lagos Port Harcourt Accra Lome Cotonou Gulf of Guinea Km 400200 300100 Takoradi Kumasi Praga Abidjan NIGERMALI COTE D’IVOIRE GHANA BENIN TOGO N AFRICA UPDATE RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201018 www.railwaysafrica.com
  18. 18. Building the future gautrain turnout assembly GM414_VAE_Presslink
  19. 19. EGYPT EGYPT RAILWAYS AUTHORITY PLANS BONDS According to an unconfirmed report in the Al Mal newspaper on 3 October, Egypt’s National Railways Authority is considering issuing 10bn Egyptian pounds ($US1.76bn) in bonds to finance projects over the next 10 years. The bonds, which would fund projects worth 60bn pounds, would be secured by the assets of seven companies belonging to the state authority. Egypt changed its laws in December to allow utilities and other quasi-government organisations to issue bonds directly. Projects under consideration by the government include a high-speed railway between Alexandria and Cairo (208km) and a 77km line linking Cairo to Tenth of Ramadan City. ERITREA ETHIOPIA ETHIOPIA’S “MASSIVE” RAIL CONSTRUCTION STARTS Ethiopia has launched construction on 5,000km of new railway, to link the capital Addis Ababa to various regions of the country, the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) announced on 24 September. According to ERC director- general Getachew Betru, the project will be tackled in two phases. The first will be the construction of five lines, creating work for over 300,000 citizens nationwide, at an estimated cost of $US336 million annually. In addition, the Addis Ababa urban light rail scheme project will offer employment to some 5,000 citizens. Eighteen Ethiopian consulting groups, together with Chinese company CRCC, are involved. ERC board chairman Hailemariam Desalegn is quoted explaining: “the railway will enable the nation to transport 6 million tones of freight.” In May 2010, China granted Ethiopia a loan of more than $US100 million to help finance the project, which forms part of part of the country’s five-year transformation plan. GHANA CHINA TO FUND PAGA LINE The government of Ghana has secured a $US10.4 billion dollar concessionary loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to develop the country’s infrastructure. Out of the funds $4 billion will be used to extend the Takoradi- Kumasi railway to Paga on the border with Burkina Faso. Ghana Railway Authority Chairman Dan Markin says the agreement in the railway sector is very significant because it marks a new chapter in the country’s railway industry. (See map on page 18). CRCC China-Africa Construction Limited was established earlier this year to consolidate the activities of its parent, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) in Africa. CÔTE D’IVOIRE NEW RAILWAY IN IVORY COAST According to Ivory Coast mines and energy minister Augustin Comoe, construction is to begin in 2014 on a new railway running some 250km north-westwards from the port San Pedro to Man, a former rebel-held town. The main objective is to serve nickel and iron mines in the Guinea and Liberian border region. In addition the line is expected to carry about 24,500 tons of timber annually and 45,000 tons of cocoa. Ivory Coast is said to be the world’s largest cocoa producer. “The west is overflowing with nickel, manganese and iron,” the minister told the press. “We’re looking to transport about 22 million metric tons of minerals a year.” He hopes to boost the contribution of mining to the nation’s gross domestic product from 1.5% to 10% by 2020. Infrastructure in the region deteriorated following a 2002 armed conflict that split the country into a government- held south and rebel-controlled north. Studies prior to this estimated that the cost of the proposed line would be about $US1.8 billion at that time. “There is no more conflict, elections are going ahead, so we are assuring investors it is now safe to begin exploiting minerals here,” says minister Comoe. Companies including BHP Billiton Ltd and ArcelorMittal, which have operations in neighbouring Guinea and Liberia, are potential investors in Ivory Coast, the minister suggests. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) AFRICA UPDATE Flashback: Martin Welzel captured this scene at Lubumbashi in 1991. LocoFlashback: Martin Welzel captured this scene at Lubumbashi in 1991. Loco 1419, then some 30 years old, was an ex-South African Railways class 32 (GE1419, then some 30 years old, was an ex-South African Railways class 32 (GE U18C1, 1-Co-Co-1, 1,975hp). The electrification, which covered 858km andU18C1, 1-Co-Co-1, 1,975hp). The electrification, which covered 858km and dated from the 1950s, was one of the world’s early 25kV AC systems.dated from the 1950s, was one of the world’s early 25kV AC systems. Double-headed 0-4-4-0 Mallets taking water: another of Richard Grönstedt’sDouble-headed 0-4-4-0 Mallets taking water: another of Richard Grönstedt’s evocative recent photos of the railway in Eritrea.evocative recent photos of the railway in Eritrea. AFRICA UPDATE RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201020 www.railwaysafrica.com
  20. 20. de Desenvolvimento do Norte (CDN) and the Central East African Railways (CEAR). CDN holds the operating concession for the 872km North Mozambiquan line from Entre Lagos in Niassa province to the Indian Ocean port of Nacala in Nampula province. CEAR holds the concession of the railway system in Malawi, which currently comprises 797km of line. The CDN and CEAR rail systems meet end-on at Entre Lagos. The acquisition of SCDN will provide CVRD with much of the necessary logistics infrastructure for transporting the output from the second phase of the Moatize coal project development. The Moatize coal deposit has proven and probable reserves of 1.087 billion tonnes of coal and the project includes an open pit mine operation. Moatize 1 has a nominal production capacity estimated at 11 million tonnes of coal - 80% metallurgical and 20% thermal - with start-up expected in 2011. In the first stage of development, coal will be transported by the Sena railway to the port of Beira. In the second phase, coal will move from Moatize via a new rail link to Malawi and thence along the Northern Mozambique line to the port of Nacala. LIBYA BORDER LINKS FROM LIBYA Libya is optimistic that the new standard gauge line currently under construction from Benghazi to the country’s western border at Rass Ajder will be extended eventually to connect with Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Tunisiens (SNCFT - the Tunisian National Railways). This would entail building some 170km of route inside Tunisia to reach the present railhead at Gabes. Unfortunately the existing 422km line from Gabes to the capital – Tunis - is metre gauge, so through services will not be possible. Some of the 268km Tunis-Sfax section has been realigned and the 3-hour expresses are reputedly the fastest metre gauge trains in the world. On Libya’s east, a 350km extension of the new standard gauge line is planned to Tobruk from Benghazi. Beyond Tobruk, the formation of a long abandoned (World War II) standard gauge railway extends some 140km to Egypt’s western border at El Soloum, endpoint of a 560km line from Cairo. MALAWI UPGRADE OF MALAWI RAILWAYS PROMISED Speaking at the opening of the new rail extension from Mchinji to Chipata in Zambia on 27 August, Malawian AFRICA UPDATE GUINEA Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) has entered into contracts with the government of Liberia for the construction of an integrated railway and port system for transporting the production of iron ore from Simandou in Guinea. KENYA KENYA TO DEAL WITH SQUATTERS The Kenya Railways Corporation has secured World Bank funding of $US11 million to move squatters who have encroached on its land in Nairobi. Up to 5,000 households living on the railway reserve in Kibera are affected. The reserve land extends 30 metres on either side of the track. Studies along the railway have established that 4,500 commercial and institutional structures are involved. Action is expected to commence in June 2011. The squatters, according to Kenya Railways managing director Nduva Muli, are the greatest impediment standing in the way of moves to improve the urban railway system in Nairobi. Trains currently move at a maximum 20km/h through Kibera – 50-70km/h less than the optimum. “Rift Valley Railways can only pull half of their freight to Kibera station because there is too much slippage on the tracks - because a lot of waste is dumped there,” Muli told a meeting of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. The relocation action plan devised by the corporation and the World Bank is to be implemented in three phases at a cost of $33 million. The first phase will involve the acquisition of land for the squatters living in the Mukuru slums on the eastern side of the railway. This will make way for the first part of the improvement project, the building of a line to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. In Kibera, it is planned to build high-rise residential houses for the squatters and a wall along the length of the reserve boundary, Muli says. MOZAMBIQUE VALE BUYS 51% OF SDCN Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) has purchased a 51% stake in Sociedade de Desenvolvimento do Corredor do Norte SA (SDCN) owned by the Mozambiquan company Insitec SGPS SA. SDCN in turn holds 51% of Corredor ZIMBABWE MOZAMBIQUE MALAWI ZAMBIA Beira Dondo Inhamitanga Manica Mutare To Harare Caia Vila de Sena Marromeu Mocuba Nacala Monapo LumboNampula Cuamba Entre Lagos Nkaya Moatize Chiromo Mutarara Blantyre Tete Lichinga Lilongwe Chipata Quelimane Indian Ocean Cabora Bassa Dam Zam besiRiver TANZANIA LakeMalawi 1500 300 450 Km Morrumbala Al Kuma Sabha AFRICA UPDATE RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201022 www.railwaysafrica.com
  21. 21. AFRICA UPDATE president Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika (who chairs the African Union) said his government would ensure that the 810km of line to the Mozambique border will be fully rehabilitated and upgraded to provide full connectivity to the port of Nacala. This he said would enable the people of Zambia and Malawi to benefit through cheaper transport of agricultural, mineral and manufactured products. He called on the private sector in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to take advantage of the line in enhancing trade. Speakers at the ceremony included Zambian president Rupiah Banda and Mozambiquan transport and infrastructure minister Paulo Zucula, who read a speech on behalf of president Armando Guebuza. President Banda appealed to Central Eastern African Railways (CEAR) in Malawi, as well as Zambia Railways, to ensure efficiency in operations of the newly commissioned Chipata- Mchinji railway line. “If efficiency erodes this service, it will discourage potential users of this huge investment,” President Banda was quoted saying. Zambian communications and transport minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa and his counterparts from Malawi and Mozambique, Sidik Mia and Paulo Zucule respectively, signed a tripartite regional agreement on the railway route from Chipata via Malawi to Nacala. The Chipata-Mchinji project was initiated in the late 1970s. Construction began in the eighties but work on the Zambian side was discontinued due to lack of funds. Work resumed in 2006. It is hoped to extend the line westwards from Chipata to the Katete district and later to the northern part of the country. The commissioning of the new line attracted diplomats, traditional leaders and other important dignitaries.“Today, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique have done one more significant thing to materialise the vision of the generation of our freedom fighters,” Mozambiquan minister Zucule told them. NAMIBIA NAMIBIAN WAGE INCREASE SETTLED Following several weeks of dispute, TransNamib and the Namibia Allied and Transport Workers Union (Natau) have signed a new wage agreement. Employees in the so-called A band will receive a 10% increase - 1% less than the 11% that Natau originally asked. Employees in the B band are to get a 9% adjustment, and C band workers will receive 7% - 3% less than Natau wanted. Employees will receive one month’s back pay and a transport allowance of N$370 - up N$70 from N$300, but N$50 less than Natau asked. As from 16 September, TransNamib increased its contribution to the medical aid of A band employees from 66.6% to 80%. General secretary of Natau John Kwedhi urged workers to increase their productivity: “The customers out there are the only source of income for the company. If they are not satisfied, the company will die.” TransNamib CEO Titus Haimbili said that the institutional culture of the company needs to be addressed: “We must work together in transforming TransNamib from public to a fully fledged commercial entity.” According to Haimbili, TransNamib’s salaries have gone from being 30% below the market benchmark to 20% below. “My debt towards the employees is thus partially washed away. When you are in financial difficulties, don’t start cutting on salaries. Start elsewhere. While a hungry employee is an angry employee, a motivated employee is a productive employee.” Thermitrex (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27 (0)11 914 2540 www.thermitrex.co.za Malawian Railways train arrives at Chipata in Zambia. GE U20C (formerly Spoornet class 33) diesel at Karibib in June 2010. More than 40 years old, these Co-Co locos are rated at 2,150hp. Photo: John Batwell. AFRICA UPDATE September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 23www.railwaysafrica.com
  22. 22. SA RAIL NEWS SA LOCO BIGGEST IN UK MUSEUM The largest single exhibit in Glasgow’s new Riverside Museum will be ex-South African 4-8-2 class 15F no 3007. Its transfer onto the premises – ahead of the official opening next year – was scheduled for late September 2010. According to a BBC report – “Built in 1945 in Polmadie, Glasgow, the 15F mountain class locomotive spent all its working life in South Africa before being brought home in 2007. The engine worked for 40 years pulling the Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town until 1988 when she was mothballed. “The locomotive was brought back to Scotland by transport giant FirstGroup, which is founder patron of the Riverside Museum Appeal. Since 2007, it has been undergoing extensive restoration work. Sir Moir Lockhead, chief executive of FirstGroup, said: ‘It is a privilege for First to help return part of our proud engineering heritage to Scotland. Its return to Glasgow will give new generations the chance to marvel at this wonderful example of the rail revolution Scotland gave to the world. Glasgow’s transport collections are of international importance and it is fitting that the mountain class locomotive will be at the heart of the new museum.’” [It is true that 3007 was among the locos that worked trains (including the Blue) but this was only over sections at the outer ends of the route, and they were displaced by electrification during the fifties. Nowhere near 40 years, to be precise - nor was their run anywhere near the total 1,500km. - Editor] SIMON’S TOWN LINE REPAIRS The single track over the rocks from Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town (6.3km) has been closed for 12 months, following washaways caused by heavy seas early in November 2009. According to Metrorail’s Western Cape newsletter Blits, work to restore the line commenced on 15 September 2010: “The railway is supported and protected against the sea by seawalls. The seawalls have been protected against direct wave action over the years by old concrete sleepers which were placed against the wall, forming a haphazard revetment. However, this protection has not always been effective, leaving portions of the seawall exposed - resulting in erosion and compromising the structural integrity of the wall and safety of the line. “Metrorail appointed Perstedge Retief Dresner Wijnberg (PRDW), specialist port and coastal engineers, to design suitable coastal protection structures to stabilise the seawall at two locations, one north of Long Beach and the other at the Marine Oil site. Ms Lindsey Bungartz, spokesperson for the environmental management plan (EMP), said an engineered rock revetment, consisting primarily of Table Mountain sandstone, will be established to stabilise and protect the wall, thereby offering a more permanent solution and replacing the old sleepers. “An EMP for the construction has been approved by the department of environmental affairs and development planning. Relevant permits have been granted by the integrated ocean and coastal conservation department of environmental affairs. Environmental Resources Management (ERM) has been appointed as the environmental control officers to ensure that the EMP is adhered to. ‘Construction will be ongoing for approximately four months. The rock will be transported to site by road and rail in order to complete the construction activities as quickly as possible,’ said Bungartz. “For public safety. The Marine Oil and Long Beach sites will be fenced from the public for the duration of the construction activities. Access to Long Beach itself will not be affected by the activities. Ms Riana Scott, head of marketing and communications, said: “We look forward to completing the works timeously so that normal train operations can resume to Simon’s Town.” PMB STATION UPGRADE The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has commissioned a refurbishment of Pietermaritzburg’s historic station in conjunction with business in the area and the Msunduzi municipality. Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from a Natal Government Railways train here in 1893, while on his way to Pretoria. A passenger objected to his presence in a first-class carriage. After refusing to move, he was thrown off (by conductor Marius Weyers in the film Gandhi). The incident prompted him to remain in South Africa and sparked his campaign against racial discrimination. On Sunday 3 October, members of the Mahatma Gandhi Committee went to the station to help pick up litter and clean the area ahead of a visit by an Indian delegation. Msunduzi municipality speaker Babu Baijoo said plans are in place to revamp the station and turn it into a “thriving business hub”. He said that there are plans to make the precinct a transport node for buses, trains and taxis. In addition, there are to be upgrades of business and residential components in the area. “We will be looking at synergistic activity outside the station in terms of commercial development in the area, as well as inner-city housing,” he was quoted saying. “There will also be private development around the area to enhance it.” Because it is a historic site, there are also plans for a museum. The introduction of a business express train between Pietermaritzburg and Durban is still under consideration, Bijoo says. “If we get a business express between the two cities, we may be able to reduce some of the load on the N3 highway. People would be able to park their cars in Pietermaritzburg, do their business and then come back. For this to work, we need a station to support it, such as having waiting-room facilities and an Internet cafe. This is what we are hoping for.” A technical and political team was set up a month ago to address the planning. “This is a plan that can be achieved. If all the partners, including local businesses in the area, South African Rail News Seawall restoration near Simon’s Town. Photo: Peter Rogers. SA RAIL NEWS RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201024 www.railwaysafrica.com
  23. 23. PRASA RESULTS In the financial year ending 31 March 2010, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) reported an after-tax loss of R13bn (2009: R1bn) on revenue of R5.6bn (R4.2bn), with operating expenses amounting to R6.7bn (R5bn). Personnel went up R546m due to former Transnet subsidiaries Autopax (buses) and Shosholoza Meyl (intercity trains) being transferred to Prasa. Energy costs, ie electricity, added nearly R100m to operational expenses. CEO Montana’s annual salary reportedly rose R904,000 (a 29% increase ) to R4m (2009, R3.2m).l HIGH-SPEED STUDY TO START The process of testing the market for a high speed rail link between Durban and Johannesburg would start in October, transport minister Sbu Ndebele announced on 27 September. Launching Transport Month at Bridge City in Durban, he said: “By next month, we will commence with the dual process of concept development and testing the market for a period of six months.” The proposed high-speed railway between Durban and Johannesburg would cut transport times dramatically, he said. He was also quoted saying the project is “crucial” because the Durban-Gauteng corridor is the “busiest in the southern hemisphere”, both in value and tonnage. [Somebody in Australia might just take issue with this claim – Editor.] JOHANNESBURG-DURBAN : BUSIEST SA CORRIDOR Edward West, writing in Business Day about the proposed high-speed railway from Johannesburg to Durban, repeats the claim that the Durban-Gauteng corridor is “the busiest corridor in the southern hemisphere, both in terms of value and in tonnage and is the backbone of SA’s freight transportation network. Key nodal points within the corridor are the Port of Durban, Cato Ridge, Harrismith and City Deep in Johannesburg.” [Not quite sure how nodal points are defined, but what about Maritzburg – a fairly big provincial capital along the way? Also, the Johannesburg-Durban railway has never gone anywhere near Harrismith, nor would Harrismith figure if one drew a straight line between the endpoints. Newcastle, which West does not mention, might make the grade. – Editor Railways Africa.] WHICH 1ST HIGH-SPEED TRAIN IN SA? Speaking at the launch of Transport Month at Bridge City in Durban, transport minister Sbu Ndebele said South Africa had invested R40 billion in passenger rail infrastructure and begin to have a single vision, we should be able to achieve this quite fast. We want to maximise the station and the precinct effectively.” He said they would be working closely with stakeholders, including the Mahatma Gandhi Committee. David Gengan, the public relations officer of the Mahatma Gandhi Committee, says the organisation wants the station to be declared a national heritage site. CATENARY REPLACEMENT Copper overhead traction wire is being replaced with “Tiger wire” on the Kroonstad - Bethlehem line, resulting in extended occupations on this section. The replacement material is a stranded cable comprising some aluminium and some steel. Unravelling this for recycling would be very time-consuming, apart from which the low copper content means that it has minimal value at scrapyards. GAUTRAIN BENEFITED FROM THE WORLD CUP Abey Mokgwatsane, summing up the benefits of the World Cup in South Africa, observes on www.bizcommunity.com: “Billions of Rand were invested in the economy for infrastructure, training, and production, and so on. Add to that a deadline where all this investment needed to be realised. That hardly happens in African countries, money is invested but it hardly reaches its intended purpose. Would the stadiums, Gautrain, airport developments have been completed at such a pace if there was no deadline? I doubt it. It could more likely have been squandered by the swarm of consultants that feed off our inefficiency.” PRASA SEEKS PARTNER In an endeavour to raise some of the funding needed to finance operations and expansion, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) would like to find a “strategic equity partner” for its subsidiary Intersite which manages the property portfolio, encompassing commercial and retail sites at and adjoining stations. The total value of this is put at R236 million. Intersite currently holds R124m in the form of loans from Prasa. “Selling a stake in Intersite forms part of the rail agency’s new five-year strategy,” Engineering News reports, “to transform itself into a commercially viable entity and strengthen its balance sheet. “The government’s subsidy of R3.2bn last year (2008-09: R2.5bn) was not enough for the agency’s needs and it had to use its own reserves (R1.5bn). ‘The rail agency has depleted its reserves resulting in a weak balance sheet,’ Prasa CEO Lucky Montana said”. He added that the group’s management has embarked on a cost-containment programme. SA RAIL NEWS Station on a curve: Pietermaritzburg at night. The new Century City station in Cape Town. Prasa ran at a loss of R13bn in the last financial year. Photo: Malcolm Bates. SA RAIL NEWS RAILWAYS AFRICA September - October 201026 www.railwaysafrica.com
  24. 24. SA RAIL NEWS services. This included the R25 billion spent on the Gautrain project, “South Africa’s first high-speed train.” [Minister Ndebele needs to reread his history book: • 1978: Test train reaches 245km/h near Johannesburg. • 1984: Metroblitz 160km/h scheduled express (Johannesburg-Pretoria in 42 minutes). • 2010: Gautrain 160km/h airport train. • 2011: Gautrain 160km/h scheduled express (also planned to do Johannesburg-Pretoria in 42 minutes). – Editor.] BLUE TRAIN IN THE OFS An out-of-the-ordinary Blue Train excursion on 4 September comprised a visit to Bloemfontein. The customary class 14E dual-voltage electric was in charge – one of these being very rare on the Free State main-line The train departed southbound from Kroonstad at 08:24 and Jacque Wepener was ready at Hennenman to photograph the visitor. TFR AUCTION 17 TFR auction #17 closed on 7 October 2010. Peter Bagshawe reports: “The auction included 294 wagons of a variety of types situated at various places around the country, 14 coaches a nd 24 cabooses (all at Port Elizabeth), and other miscellaneous items. There were also four lots of used railway line (350 tons of 60kg/m along the Saldanha-Sishen line; 17.52 tons of 48/50kg/m at Vereeniging and 29.376 tons and 31.104 tons of 48/50kg/m, both lots at Leeuhof. “The coaches were: 4669 (according to list, but photo says 4668)/8146/15034/23318/23319/25707/25709/28107/ 28110/28159/40034/40123/40145/40147 The cabooses were: 14006/14315/14317/14322/14505/1450 8/14520/14599/14603/14624/14627/14649/14654/14655/146 69/14678/14680/14731/14732/14751/14766/14833/14884/149 41 “The condition of the coaches and cabooses was very poor, with a lot of rust evident.” OUTENIQUA CHOO-TJOE CAR RENTAL AT GAUTRAIN STATIONS Three car rental companies are soon to be represented at all Gautrain Stations, which are recognised as being strategically positioned. According to one of the operators, the facility will “add a new dimension to public transport and provided fast accessibility to areas between OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria.” BRIDGE CITY UNDERGROUND STATION, DURBAN Edward West, writing in Business Day, says Durban’s new Bridge City Station, “being built under the R5bn Bridge City shopping, commercial and residential development situated between four townships north of the city centre, is the first in a roll-out of new stations.” [Assuming West is talking about Metrorail (after all, four new Gautrain stations opened this year), Bridge City is not the first new station to come on stream in 2010. Century City in Cape Town opened in June, as did Rhodesfield near O R Tambo airport and the new stadium station in Durban. – Editor.] “The underground station, already 50% complete, involves 3km of underground track and will be the first underground railway station in SA.” [What about Sandton, 40 metres below ground? Or Rosebank, which is probably closer to finishing than Bridge City? - Editor] “The development, which will also be a bus and taxi hub - the eThekwini municipality is investing more than R150m on a taxi and bus rank - is planned to ease transport problems and provide convenience for about 613,000 people living in the KwaMashu, Phoenix, Ntuzuma and September 2010 saw the last Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe pulling out of George -September 2010 saw the last Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe pulling out of George - behind a class 32 diesel. Photo: Allen Duff.behind a class 32 diesel. Photo: Allen Duff. Two class 34 diesels head a George - Voorbaai freight across the MaalgatenTwo class 34 diesels head a George - Voorbaai freight across the Maalgaten bridge between George and Mossel Bay, on the route of the discontinuedbridge between George and Mossel Bay, on the route of the discontinued Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. Photo: Allen Duff.Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe. Photo: Allen Duff. SA RAIL NEWS September - October 2010 RAILWAYS AFRICA 27www.railwaysafrica.com