Rail technology manufacturer Bombardier Transportation South Africa (BTSA) is undertaking the manufacturing of the first batch of the 240 TRAXX Africa locomotives for State-owned freight and logistics group Transnet Freight Rail, BTSA head of sales Aubrey Lekwane tells Engineering News.
He says the $13-billion contract is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019 and more than 60% of the materials and services fulfill the contracted local content requirements.
The TRAXX locomotive platform consists of locomotives, which operate under alternating current, direct current, multi-system as well as diesel electric power. They operate in major countries throughout Europe and in cross-border services.
Bombardier says the locomotives are cost effective to produce and operate, owing to its low maintenance and life-cycle costs, as well as its high energy efficiency.
The company states that the TRAXX locomotive has high operational availability, low wheel and track wear, and is also designed for sustainable mobility.
Further, BTSA points out that the locomotives have crash- hardened carbodies, which are designed according to European Union technical specifications to ensure the interoperability of the European Community’s high-speed and conventional rail systems.
“Therefore, the TRAXX locomotives provide increased protection for driving personnel and low repair costs,” the company states.
Moreover, the locomotive is equipped with the latest insulated- gate bipolar transistor traction converter technology allowing for high performance, reliability and energy efficiency.
TRAXX’s modular moving-block signalling, or MBS brake system, has a high diagnostic capability and is available with the European Train Control System and the European Rail Traffic Management System, as well as conventional train safety systems for all rail networks.
“The locomotive’s high-quality communication systems, with proven Bombardier rail electronics and diagnostics systems, provides for all-round operational efficiencies and safety assurance,” states Bombardier.
Interlocking Pilot Project
BTSA is also piloting an interlocking signal platform system at the Bronkhorstpruit train station, about 50 km east of Pretoria, for Transnet.
He says the project started in July and will continue until the end of the year.
“The success of the pilot project creates potential to grow our signalling business in South Africa,” Lekwane states.
Lekwane points out that BTSA continues to undertake its 15-year contract to service and maintain the Gautrain fleet and its associated rail corridor infrastructure, including the rail control system.
“The fact that tens of thousands of commuters use the Gautrain service on a daily basis, without hassle, is testament to the high- quality trains that we manufactured, with the trains being supported by regular maintenance undertaken by staff,” Lekwane enthuses.
The majority of the 96 Gautrain vehicles underwent final assembly in South Africa. The Electrostar vehicles were designed for commuter operation and can operate at speeds of up to 160 km/h.
“The Gautrain project created more than 8 200 local direct jobs and about 44 300 indirect jobs,” Lekwane concludes.