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Rail News

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... 

Grindrod keen on potential private-sector participation opportunities at Transnet

By: Irma Venter     8th October 2021 A port that runs efficiently “can bring prosperity all around”, says Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo. South Africa’s major ports are, however, currently ranked close to the bottom of the list in terms of global competitiveness. 

Transnet building pipeline of transactions for private sector participation 

By: Terence Creamer     7th October 2021 Transnet CEO Portia Derby says the State-owned group received a “fantastic” response to its two recent requests for information (RFIs) for private participation at the ports of Durban and Ngqura and that several other private sector participation (PSP) transactions are under development. The... 

Transnet CEO Portia Derby
Transnet CEO Portia Derby

TFR reopens Cookhouse-Blaney line in the Eastern Cape

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     7th October 2021 South African rail, port and pipeline company Transnet's Freight Rail subsidiary, TFR, on October 7 officially reopened the Cookhouse-Blaney branch line, in the Eastern Cape. This follows the completion of a R26-million investment in the reinstatement and rehabilitation of the 200 km branch line.... 

A photo of the newly reopened Cookhouse-Blaney branch line in the Eastern Cape
Photo by Creamer Media's Tasneem Bulbulia
TFR has reopened the Cookhouse-Blaney branch line in the Eastern Cape

Rail infrastructure vandalism causes safety risk, train delays in Cape Town

By: Reuters     6th October 2021 Vandalism to fibre optic cables in Cape Town has resulted in delays across several main railway corridors. Commuters have been advised to use alternative transport as the vandalism has resulted in a telecommunications outage that poses a safety risk to train services. 

Regulator emphasises the importance of upcoming rail safety conference

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th September 2021 South Africa’s Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has announced that the 2021 Annual Rail Safety Conference will take place from September 29 to October 1. Hosted under the theme “Embracing the new normal through innovative and sustainable rail safety solutions”, this year’s conference will be held... 

Eastern Cape Health Dept launches vaccination train with Transnet

By: Donna Slater     15th September 2021 Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth on September 14 unveiled Transnet’s first Covid-19 vaccination train – the Transvaco, in what Transnet says is its commitment to support the national vaccination effort and assisting South Africa in achieving community immunity. The new train, which... 

Govt’s private-sector participation drive could increase efficiency, prosperity – Grindrod 

By: Irma Venter     15th September 2021 A port that runs efficiently “can bring prosperity all around”, says Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo. South Africa’s major ports are, however, currently ranked close to the bottom of the list in terms of global competitiveness. 

Image of Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo
Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo

Govt targets August next year, or sooner, for third-party rail access

By: Irma Venter     10th September 2021 The current target date for allowing third-party operators to participate in the rail-freight sector is August next year, says Dr Sean Phillips, head of the National Treasury’s Operation Vulindlela unit. There are, however, ongoing efforts under way to speed up the timeframe put on the table by... 

Grindrod targets port, rail projects in govt’s private-sector participation drive 

By: Irma Venter     10th September 2021 Ports and logistics operator Grindrod is positioning itself to take part in the private-sector participation (PSP) opportunities to be created by government in the rail and ports sectors, says Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo. “Government has called for international players to come... 

Freight, logistics integration key to successful intracontinental trade

By: Theresa Bhowan-Rajah     10th September 2021 Although the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement aims to achieve an economically integrated continent, with successful trading among African countries, the Trade Research Advisory tells Engineering News that this will prove challenging in the short to medium term. “Government... 

Blue truck driving on an open road.
EASY TRADE Africa does not have the required and efficient physical infrastructure to move goods cost-effective and efficiently

26 suspects in the Western Cape arrested for various crimes, says Metrorail

By: News24Wire      8th September 2021 Twenty-six people were arrested in the Western Cape for various crimes ranging from robbery, malicious damage to property and drug trafficking to breaking and entering, according to Metrorail. It said the arrests were made between 19 August and 2 September. 

TFR approaches customers on security levy to raise funds for rapid security overhaul  

By: Terence Creamer     3rd September 2021 State-owned railway utility Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is approaching its customers about instituting a three-year security levy, which will be used to raise the funding needed for the rapid deployment of technology-based security solutions across a network that is currently collapsing under the... 

A photo of a TFR locomotive

'Suez Canal on rails' - Egypt signs $4.5 billion high-speed rail deal

By: Reuters     1st September 2021 Egypt has signed a $4.45-billion deal for a high-speed electric rail line to link its Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts that contractor Siemens dubbed a "Suez Canal on rails". The contract between Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and a consortium including Siemens Mobility, Orascom... 

SIU, Transnet welcome judgment against former Transnet exec

By: Simone Liedtke     31st August 2021 The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and State-owned Transnet have welcomed the judgment handed down by Judge Lebogang Modiba at a special tribunal sitting on August 31, wherein former Transnet employee Herbert Msagala was instructed to pay back R26.4-million to Transnet. The special tribunal... 

Govt targets August next year, or sooner, for third-party rail access  

By: Irma Venter     30th August 2021 The current target date for enabling third-party operators in the rail-freight sector is August next year, says Dr Sean Phillips, head of National Treasury’s Operation Vulindlela unit. There are, however, ongoing efforts under way to speed up the time frame put on the table by Transnet, he adds. 

An image of a Transnet rail line

Automobile Association opposed to proposed Gautrain route extensions

By: Irma Venter     27th August 2021 Proposed Gautrain route extensions must be rejected by the Gauteng provincial government, as they will perpetuate a system which “caters for the minority of citizens who don’t need it, instead of the mass market which does”, says the Automobile Association (AA). The AA made a detailed submission... 

Transnet, Minerals Council to strengthen cooperation to improve network operations

By: Schalk Burger     24th August 2021 State-owned Transnet and mining industry organisation Minerals Council South Africa have agreed to collaborate to ensure operational improvements across the freight system to get back to target performance levels in the short term and then to position for growth in the future. The organisations... 

An image of Transnet Freight Rail's iron-ore rail corridor

City of Cape Town announces new transport mayco member

By: News24Wire      19th August 2021 Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato has announced that Hout Bay ward councillor Rob Quintas will be the City of Cape Town's new mayoral committee (mayco) member for transport. Plato made the announcement on Thursday during a council meeting. 

Richards Bay power outage affects TFR's services

By: Schalk Burger     13th August 2021 A power outage which occurred in the City of uMhlathuze, or Richards Bay, between the afternoon of August 12 and the early hours of August 13 has impacted on State-owned Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR's) services in the area. The outage meant that the Richards Bay Coal Terminal was unable to... 

Gautrain a white elephant, its extension unacceptable ­– AA 

By: Irma Venter     13th August 2021 Proposed route extensions to the Gautrain must be rejected by the Gauteng provincial government, as this will perpetuate a system which “caters for the minority of citizens who don’t need it, instead of the mass market which does”, says the Automobile Association (AA). The AA made a detailed... 

Image of a passenger boarding the Gautrain

Transnet, KwaZulu-Natal provincial govt review Durban-Gauteng corridor operations

By: Yvonne Silaule     10th August 2021 State-owned Transnet at the weekend hosted a trolley trip for the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government leadership to observe operations that constitute the Durban-Gauteng, or Natal, rail corridor, also known as Natcor. The corridor is considered the main artery linking the Durban port precinct to... 

Nigeria approves $15.4bn refinery, railway projects

By: Bloomberg     6th August 2021 Nigeria’s government approved major transport and energy investments, including a stake in a giant private refinery, that are expected to cost $15.4-billion. Ministers in the West African nation signed off Wednesday on the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.’s proposed purchase of a 20%... 

Gibela confident of meeting train production targets despite impact of Covid-19

By: Irma Venter     6th August 2021 Gibela has, to date, delivered 66 of the 600 X’trapolis Mega commuter trains it is scheduled to deliver to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) by the end of 2028. Eighteen of these trains were manufactured in Brazil, with the remaining 48 produced in a newly built plant in Nigel, on... 

Battery Electric delivers on diesel machine conversion tech 

4th August 2021 As investors place greater emphasis on carbon footprints, underground railway control systems manufacturer Battery Electric is ready to assist companies on their decarbonisation journey. Tracy Hancock tells us more. 

Image of Battery Electric diesel machine conversion tech
Battery Electric delivers on diesel machine conversion tech

Specialty containers create easy access

30th July 2021 Niche market container product supplier Specialised Container Agencies (SCA) has developed SCA Intermodal Side Tipper Bins that ensure quick, safe and cost-efficient bulk handling in rail and road applications. “Robust Intermodal Side Tipper Bins have been designed for rapid and efficient... 

Railroad tipper bin standing upright
TIP IT OVER SCA’s Intermodal Side Tipper Bins increase payload on rail wagons from 54 t to 60 t

Gearboxes ensure increased safety

By: Theresa Bhowan-Rajah     30th July 2021 Engineering solutions provider BMG supplies the local railway sector with custom-designed planetary gearboxes for use in railway maintenance programmes. Design customisations are adjusted according to the demand and physical requirements of the application. 

BMG’s Dinamic Oil gearbox in a warehouse
CARRYING THE WORLD BMG supplies the local railways sector with custom-designed planetary gearboxes for use in railway maintenance programmes

Revitalisation vital to economic recovery

30th July 2021 South Africa’s transport sector is central to trade, and modernising and revitalising it is critical to the country’s recovery from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, says railroad equipment supplier Gibela CEO Hector Danisa. The country's economy went into its deepest recession in a century... 

A front view of an operational train set in a warehouse
VITAL FOR SURVIVAL The transport sector’s importance to South Africa’s economy was underlined by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s 2021/22 transport budget vote

Company steers through Covid-19 challenges

By: Theresa Bhowan-Rajah     30th July 2021 Railroad equipment supplier and manufacturer Gibela has not been immune to the challenges posed by the pandemic, particularly those presented by the third wave. “We have experienced a rise in cases within our company, which is impacting on operations. Most of our suppliers were also affected by... 

Gibela procurement executive Colette Yende stands outside in front of a train set at Gibela's premises
COLETTE YENDE What Covid-19 has taught us is to have and implement an alternative plan

Unitrans Africa launches dedicated Moz-Zim rail service

By: Irma Venter     30th July 2021 Using its partnerships with the National Railways of Zimbabwe, CFM Caminhos de Ferro de Mocambique and Traxtion, Unitrans Africa has opened a dedicated rail service between Maputo port and three major Zimbabwean trade hubs – Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru.  Until now, this key section of rail has... 

Transnet expects to lift force majeure at port terminals ‘soon’ 

By: Creamer Media Reporter      27th July 2021 State-owned freight logistics group Transnet, whose operations have been seriously disrupted by recent unrest and a major cyberattack, confirmed on Tuesday that Transnet Port Terminals had communicated a force-majeure declaration with customers on Monday July 26, covering the period from July 22... 

Photo of the Durban Container Terminal
Photo by Creamer Media
The Durban Container Terminal

KZN govt to support companies that want to rebuild businesses destroyed during unrest

By: Yvonne Silaule     26th July 2021 The KwaZulu-Natal government has committed itself to supporting businesses in rebuilding the premises that were destroyed during the civil unrest earlier this week. Premier Sihle Zikalala at the weekend addressed the media about the economic recovery efforts in the province. 

Transnet working ‘around the clock’ to fix IT disruption

By: Simone Liedtke     23rd July 2021 State-owned Transnet has identified and isolated the source of the disruption to its information technology (IT) systems and says technical teams continue to work “around the clock” to ensure the impact thereof remains minimal. Transnet on July 22 reported the disruption in some of its IT... 

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