Three-year contract for rail turnout sets awarded to voestalpine VAE SA

VAESA CEO Pulane Tshabalala Kingston

VAESA CEO Pulane Tshabalala Kingston

6th September 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter


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Railway infrastructure solutions provider voestalpine VAE SA (VAESA) has been awarded a three-year contract by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) to supply turnout sets and turnout components, which are mechanical devices used to guide trains from one rail track to another.

No contract value has been disclosed, but VAESA, which is controlled by black woman-owned company Mirai Rail Corporation, reports that the turnout sets and components will be manufactured at the company’s Isando facility, in Gauteng.

The factory was acquired 26 years ago by voestalpine Railway Systems, a unit of the Austrian-listed group and a global turnout technology leader.

VAESA CEO Pulane Tshabalala Kingston says the facility, which is the largest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, has the capacity to comfortably meet both TFR’s yearly demand, as well as other customer demand.

“It is noteworthy that this is the first substantial turnouts contract to have been successfully awarded in the last five years - and explains TFR’s significant maintenance backlog.

“This award is an important and positive step forward by TFR, which will go a long way to resolving cycle time issues, creating jobs, bolstering the revenues of users on the rail network and ultimately contributing to our overall economic growth,” Tshabalala Kingston says.

Turnouts enable trains to change tracks smoothly, without stopping, as well as for re-routing to avoid congestion, delays, or maintenance work. They also enable the creation of sidings that allow freight trains to pass each other on single-track lines.

VAESA has supplied TFR with 18 complete turnout sets, which were installed in July this year during the annual shutdown of the coal line that runs from Lephalale in Limpopo, through Mpumalanga, to the Port of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.

"We are delighted to have been selected by TFR for this significant contract," Tshabalala Kingston says.

She argues, too, that the award heralds a much-needed turnaround that will breathe new life into various facets of the industry, including downstream suppliers of nuts, bolts, chairs and fishplates.


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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