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Rail News

PRASA reiterates commitment to improving service reliability

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th January 2022 State-owned Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has issued a statement clarifying a number of issues raised in an article published in the Sunday Times on January 23. PRASA stated that, with regard to the issue of the leasing of the diesel locomotives for the long-distance train... 

Metrorail closes one line between Soshanguve, Mabopane stations

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     24th January 2022 Passenger rail service operator Metrorail has closed one line between the Soshanguve and Mabopane stations following a technical fault and train incident. A train en route to Mabopane station experienced a technical fault outside Soshanguve station on January 24 at about 05:30. 

Africa needs to beef up and integrate infrastructure for AfCFTA to have desired impact

By: Donna Slater     21st January 2022 African nations need to establish and/or reinforce their infrastructure to meet the looming implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a panel of speakers participating in the UK-Africa Investment Conference, on January 20, have said. “For the African free trade area... 

Rain blamed for Phelophepa II Healthcare Train derailment

By: Darren Parker     20th January 2022 Seven coaches of the Phelophepa II Healthcare Train derailed near Adelaide, in the Eastern Cape, at about 18:05 on January 19. State-owned rail operator Transnet’s corporate social investment arm Transnet Foundation health portfolio senior manager Shamona Kandia tells Engineering News that the... 

A photo of one of the Phelophepa Healthcare Trains
The Phelophepa Healthcare Trains provide health services across South Africa

DoT, PRASA rehabilitating, reopening Mabopane rail commuter line

By: Schalk Burger     19th January 2022 The Department of Transport (DoT) and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) are making progress with the R1.4-billion programme to upgrade infrastructure and implement refurbishments to reopen the Mabopane Corridor, with Pienaarspoort to Pretoria and Mabopane to Pretoria services... 

PRASA has restored services in five of seven rail corridors in the Western Cape

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th January 2022 Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on January 17 said the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) had restored services in five of the seven passenger rail corridors in the Western Cape. Services had been suspended at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, in 2020, and... 

A photo of rail tracks

Tanzania, Burundi sign $900m railway deal to boost trade

By: Bloomberg     17th January 2022 Tanzania and Burundi have signed an agreement to build a $900-million railway that will connect the neighbouring East African nations. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to construct a 282 km line from the western Tanzanian town of Uvinza to Burundi’s capital Gitega. Finance and... 

City of Cape Town offers R5 000 reward for info on stoning of brand new train

By: News24Wire      12th January 2022 The City of Cape Town is offering a R5 000 reward for information that leads to the positive identification and arrest of those responsible for the stoning of a brand new train. A group of youth pelted the Metrorail train between Steenberg and Fish Hoek last week, damaging the train driver's window. 

Metrorail opens case as Steenberg to Fish Hoek train pelted with stone

By: Schalk Burger     5th January 2022 Passenger rail service operator Metrorail Western Cape has opened a case of malicious damage to property after a group of youths allegedly stoned a train at Steenberg station on its way to Fish Hoek station. The stone caused damage to the side window of the driver's cabin, which will have to be... 

Metrorail to resume services between Fish Hoek and Simon's Town stations

By: Schalk Burger     4th January 2022 Metrorail Western Cape will resume services between the Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town stations on January 5. This means all 29 stations between the Retreat station and the Simon’s Town station will be fully operational, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) said on January 4. 

PRASA to oppose former CEO's bid to halt termination of his employment

By: Schalk Burger     15th December 2021 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) will oppose the "meritless" application by its former Group CEO Zolani Matthews to interdict the termination of his employment, it said on December 15. It confirmed being served with an urgent application to interdict Matthews' already finalised... 

Private sector will play key role in AfCFTA industrial development, economic diversification

By: Schalk Burger     10th December 2021 The private sector in Africa will play a critical role in speeding up industrial development and economic diversification, particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic and other development challenges, as part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says logistics company... 

Transnet reiterates commitment to localisation

By: Schalk Burger     10th December 2021 State-owned Transnet has made significant strides to deliver on localisation, as part of the country’s industrialisation policy, and the logistics sector can support manufacturing demand within South Africa for key components and equipment essential for its operations, it said in a release on... 

PRASA to resume Shosholoza Meyl operations 

By: Irma Venter     8th December 2021 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) says it is preparing for the resumption of the Shosholoza Meyl long-distance passenger rail service on December 15. The preparatory work follows the termination of the service at the end of March this year owing to Covid-19. 

Image of rail track

Grindrod reports solid progress in executing various strategies

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     6th December 2021 JSE-listed Grindrod continues to focus its efforts on executing the Port and Terminals, Logistics and Bank strategies and disposal of noncore businesses, it notes in a pre-close business update. Its Port and Terminals segment has reported healthy volume growth with record performances in the... 

PRASA fires group CEO

By: Marleny Arnoldi     2nd December 2021 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has decided to terminate the employment of its group CEO Zolani Kgosietsile Matthews, following the outcome of an investigation. The investigation was intended to establish whether Matthews deliberately failed to disclose material information to... 

PRASA CEO Zolani Matthews
PRASA CEO Zolani Matthews

Metrorail in recovery mode after vandals cripple embattled rail service in Cape Town

By: News24Wire      30th November 2021 Metrorail teams have started recovery operations in Cape Town after fibre optic cables were vandalised which resulted in the cancellation of services. "The lines were vandalised but they are telecom lines with no copper whatsoever," said its acting spokesperson, Nana Zenani. 

Rail operator eyes South African, African leasing expansion with renewed locomotive fleet

By: Donna Slater     29th November 2021 Freight logistics company Grindrod, through its 43% shareholding in Pretoria-based freight company Railco Africa, is looking to expand its locomotives leasing and rail operations business in South Africa and the rest of Africa. This comes after it achieved success in Sierra Leone, having brought... 

An image of a newly refurbished GL30 SCC locomotive at Pretoria-based freight company Railco Africa
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
A newly refurbished GL30 SCC locomotive at Pretoria-based freight company Railco Africa

PRASA granted extension for Langa relocation deadline

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     26th November 2021 The High Court in the Western Cape has granted the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) an extension for the lawful relocation of residents illegally occupying PRASA property along the Langa railway lines from November 26 to July 31 to allow for further consultations with affected... 

Gibela calling for bursary applications

By: Simone Liedtke     24th November 2021 The Gibela Rail Transport Consortium is calling for applications for 200 bursaries in engineering, manufacturing, computer science, supply chain and logistics, and various trade fields – for both universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions – for 2022.... 

African nations mend and make do as China tightens Belt and Road

By: Reuters     22nd November 2021 Deep in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, members of the National Youth Service tirelessly swing machetes to clear dense shrubs obscuring railway tracks more than a century old. It's a distinctly low-tech phase for China's Belt and Road drive in Africa to create the trade highways of the future. 

PRASA CEO suspended 

By: Irma Venter     19th November 2021 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) board of control on Thursday placed group CEO Zolani Matthews on “precautionary suspension”, says the parastatal in a statement. Exactly why is unclear, with the board noting only that it involves an “alleged sensitive matter of a security... 

Image of PRASA group CEO Zolani Matthews
Zolani Matthews

Third-party rail access necessary structural reform to supplement Transnet capacity - Busa

By: Schalk Burger     19th November 2021 Business formation Business Unity South Africa (Busa) backs third-party rail freight access with the aim of supplementing State-owned Transnet’s capacity, as a necessary structural reform that will contribute to a strengthening of the logistics network, Busa CEO Cas Coovadia said on November 18.... 

Transnet’s e-tender submission portal goes live

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th November 2021 State-owned Transnet says that, in line with its vision to digitally transform its business processes and systems, current and potential service providers will now be required to submit tender documentation electronically, using a Web-based electronic platform – the e-Tender Submission Portal.... 

Traxtion prepares to make use of ‘rare’ private sector rail opportunity

By: Marleny Arnoldi     15th November 2021 Private rail freight operator Traxtion sees the national government’s structural reform agenda as a rare opportunity for the private sector to leverage massive investment in train sets to unlock one of the biggest structural impediments to growth in the South African economy, which is train... 

Traxtion train
Traxtion locomotive

Minerals Council welcomes focus on structural reforms in MTBPS

By: Creamer Media Reporter      11th November 2021 The country requires a continued focus on stabilising the nation’s public finances and, most importantly, the critical need to implement more aggressive structural and institutional reforms that can drive up investment and inclusive growth in the economy, the Minerals Council South Africa says.... 

TFR bemoans unprecedented levels of cable theft, vandalism 

By: Simone Liedtke     10th November 2021 The theft of overhead cables and vandalism of Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR’s) property has reached unprecedented levels, the rail entity said on November 10. From January to October, TFR has lost over 1 000 km of copper cable, while an average of 600 theft and vandalism incidents a month were... 

Rail should be revisited as a means to contribute to sustainable tourism – PRASA CEO

By: Simone Liedtke     10th November 2021 Rail travel should be revisited as part of contributing to sustainable tourism, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO Zolani Matthews said this week, noting that this is especially important in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. Speaking to the Select Committee on Trade, Industry... 

Empty Blue Train derails in Germiston, no injuries reported 

By: News24Wire      8th November 2021 An empty 19-coach Blue Train has derailed at the Union Station Loop in Germiston on Sunday. According to transport company, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), the derailment occurred at approximately 00:35. 

Transnet reopens Cookhouse-Blaney line in the Eastern Cape 

3rd November 2021 South African rail, port and pipeline company Transnet’s subsidiary, Transnet Freight Rail, in October officially reopened the Cookhouse-Blaney branch line in the Eastern Cape. Tasneem Bulbulia tells us more. 

Transnet image
Transnet reopens Cookhouse-Blaney line in the Eastern Cape

Irregular expenditure albatross weighs as heavily on Transnet as R8.4bn loss  

By: Terence Creamer     29th October 2021 State-owned freight logistics group Transnet reported a loss of R8.4-billion for the year to March 31, 2021, and also received an audit qualification for the period relating to its ongoing irregular-expenditure problem. The loss, which is the first to be reported by the group for more than a... 

Photo of the Transnet logo

Gibela’s passenger train – a ride into the future

By: Creamer Media Reporter      29th October 2021 Train manufacturer Gibela offers South African rail users state-of-the-art commuter trains that focus on a safer, greener and more comfortable ride, says Gibela project executive Adrian Geekie. Gibela is committed to producing 600 trains for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) by... 

Blue Train resumes Joburg to Durban operations 

By: Schalk Burger     26th October 2021 The luxury Blue Train, which turns 75 this year, resumed operations between Johannesburg and Durban on October 21 with a private, overnight charter with luxury hospitality, fine cuisine, drinks and entertainment. “Our clients have continued to enjoy our scheduled journey between Pretoria and Cape... 

Rail operators note worsening struggles amid Covid-19 pandemic

By: Simone Liedtke     20th October 2021 The South African railway industry had already been embattled prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, which subsequently exacerbated the industry’s security challenges and led to an increase of 240% in security-related incidents during 2020, Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) chairperson Boy Nobunga said on... 

More collaboration needed to address ‘devastation’ of South Africa’s rail infrastructure

By: Simone Liedtke     20th October 2021 Presented against the backdrop of a world-altering pandemic, Transport Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga on October 20 said this year’s ‘State of Safety (SOS)’ report published by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) indicated that the Covid-19 pandemic “led to major operators across the country... 

Thungela lowers production guidance owing to deteriorating rail performance  

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     18th October 2021 JSE-listed coal exporter Thungela Resources says that, following an initial recovery in the performance of Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) subsequent to the yearly maintenance shutdown in July, rail performance has continued to deteriorate in the second half of the year. Thungela consequently... 

An image of a colliery

Vandalism attempt causes R1m damage to rail infrastructure in Cape Town, service affected for a week

By: News24Wire      11th October 2021 Vandalism to Metrorail infrastructure in Cape Town has resulted in more than R1-million worth of damage and has shut down the False Bay section of the rail service for a week. On Sunday, Metrorail's Protection Services prevented the theft of an 11 kV line but, in the process, the suspects threw... 

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