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Rail News

SAHHA Conference announces keynote speaker – Aurizon’s John Woods

By: Simone Liedtke     Updated 2 hours 34 minutes ago The South African Heavy Haul Association (SAHHA) Conference will feature a keynote presentation by rail transport company Aurizon planning and scheduling head John Woods. Woods, who is based in Australia, will share Aurizon’s case study, titled ‘Integrated Rail Planning & Scheduling... 

TFR offers deed of amendment to lift force majeure on coal exporters

By: Schalk Burger     Updated 3 hours ago State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) is encouraging coal export parties to sign a deed of amendment for the remaining term of a long-term agreement, which expires in March 2024, to lift its force majeure on them, which was declared owing to a severe shortage of operational locomotives.... 

Coal being transported to port by TFR

Gibela celebrates completion of one-hundredth X’trapolis Mega train for PRASA 

By: Sabrina Jardim     4th July 2022 Rail transport consortium Gibela on July 4 unveiled the one-hundredth X’trapolis Mega commuter train it is building for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). Gibela, whose shareholders are Alstom, Ubumbano Rail and New Rail Africa, in 2013 signed a R53-billion contract to supply... 

The one-hundredth X'trapolis Mega commuter train to be produced by Gibela for PRASA's Metrorail service
Gibela chairperson Irene Charnley, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane and Gauteng Premier David Makhura address media and dignitaries during the celebration of the one-hundredth X'trapolis Mega train to have been built at Gibela's Dunnotar factory in South Africa. Video: Shadwyn Dickinson; Editing: Nicholas Boyd.

TFR signs cross-border agreement with Railways of Mozambique 

By: Schalk Burger     1st July 2022 State-owned rail agency Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has signed a cooperation agreement with Mozambique State agency Ports and Railways of Mozambique (CFM) to implement an immediate train run-through model that will result in the export of chrome and ferrochrome moving seamlessly from Belfast, in... 

City of Cape Town pursues reinstatement of joint rail enforcement unit  

By: Irma Venter     1st July 2022 The City of Cape Town says it is keen to help revive the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) rail enforcement unit (REU), which operated as a three-way government partnership between October 2018, and July 2020.  The REU was launched by then Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande at a... 

Image of a vandalised Metrorail coach

Feasibility study on the City of Cape Town’s takeover of Metrorail gets under way

By: Irma Venter     1st July 2022 The City of Cape Town will, on July 1, start a feasibility study on the devolution of the city’s passenger rail system from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to the metro. PRASA currently operates all commuter passenger rail systems in the country, with the exception of the Gautrain. 

Third-party rail access unlikely to unlock private investment, owing to restrictive terms – ARIA

By: Irma Venter     1st July 2022 African Rail Industry Association (ARIA) CEO Mesela Nhlapo says the association has serious concerns regarding the restrictive terms and conditions Transnet has imposed on the use of the national rail network by private third-party freight operators. A key element of the newly unveiled National... 

Gautrain ridership recovers to 42% of pre-Covid numbers

By: Irma Venter     30th June 2022 Ridership on the Gautrain has recovered to 23 358 average weekday rail trips, which is 42% of pre-Covid-19 numbers, says Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) communication and marketing senior executive manager Dr Barbara Jensen. Average weekday bus trips are currently at 8 681, which is 46% of... 

Image of the Gautrain

PRASA awards R7.5bn in contracts for rolling stock overhaul 

By: Irma Venter     27th June 2022 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has awarded five companies general overhaul contracts for its older rolling stock to the value of R7.5-billion. The agency says the five-year contracts will allow for the heavy maintenance and repairs of its existing train sets, while also... 

A Metrorail train

Reform, State capability, corruption must be addressed before South Africa can progress – Mavuso

By: Donna Slater     24th June 2022 Three critical issues stand in the way of South Africa moving forward in terms of developing and attracting investment, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso said at the Southern Africa France Business Forum on June 22. Hosted by Business France, French Foreign Trade Advisors and the... 

An image of Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso

Zondo calls for new inquiry into how SA's passenger rail was left on brink of collapse

By: News24Wire      23rd June 2022 The final report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has recommended that a new probe be instituted to get to the bottom of why SA's state-run passenger rail agency was allowed to "slide into almost total ruin".  Despite dedicating 250 pages to wrongdoing and failures at the... 

Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana
Photo by Creamer Media
Former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana

Opportunities abound in transport, logistics if challenges can be addressed

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     22nd June 2022 There are considerable challenges facing the country’s commuter transport, freight and logistics sectors, which are impeding economic growth; however, there are signs of improvement. This was a key message from speakers during a transport and logistics panel discussion, on day two of the... 

Operation Vulindlela making progress in driving priority structural reforms  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     21st June 2022 The Presidency’s Operation Vulindlela (OV) has made markable process on accelerating implementation of priority structural reforms since its establishment in October 2020. Presidency project management office head Rudi Dicks addressed delegates during the Manufacturing Indaba, held in Sandton on... 

Solar PV panels
Presidency private office director Saul Musker explains how far Operation Vulindlela has come with assisting structural reform

Rail infrastructure thieves sentenced to ten years

By: Donna Slater     21st June 2022 Seven criminals, found in possession of Transnet railway tracks in January, were sentenced to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to tampering with, damaging and destroying essential infrastructure. In recent years, Transnet has experienced a sharp increase involving theft of cables and... 

An image of a rail line

Transnet to issue locomotive tender in July to address crippling port and rail backlog

By: News24Wire      21st June 2022 In a bid to improve on its operational performance, clear logistic backlogs, and claw itself out of its financial predicament, Transnet has confirmed that it will issue a tender for the procurement of new locomotives next month. This comes after Transnet Group CEO Portia Derby told Business Day... 

Impact of disruptive weather on supply chain requires mitigation

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     21st June 2022 Weather conditions in KwaZulu-Natal in April disrupted the entire supply chain, and while this is slowly being restored to normality, there are considerably direct and consequential costs to the region and country, and a full recovery will take much time, law firm Bowmans ports, transport and... 

Police arrest 2 men with more than 300kg of Transnet copper cable

By: News24Wire      20th June 2022 Two men were arrested in Vredenburg after allegedly being found with 302 kg of copper cable belonging to Transnet, Western Cape police said. Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said officers on patrol on Saturday night arrested the two at the R27 and R399 crossing in Vredenburg. 

Numsa signs above inflation wage increase with Gautrain operator

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     17th June 2022 The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it has signed an above-inflation wage increase of 7%, effective July 1, with the Bombela Operating Company (BOC), the agency which is running the Gautrain. In a statement, the union indicates that it has been engaging the employer... 

Faced with government ineptitude, Cape Town is going it alone

By: Bloomberg     17th June 2022  As South Africa’s government struggles to provide sufficient electricity, public transport and other basic services, the country’s main tourist hub is increasingly going it alone. Cape Town, which has been led by the opposition Democratic Alliance since 2006, is forging ahead with plans to... 

An image showing a view of Cape Town from Table Mountain

Sector can reap benefits from rail liberalisation

By: Sabrina Jardim     17th June 2022 Liberalising rail will allow for rail freight to be operated with the efficiency of the private sector at the core of designed operations, says rail infrastructure consulting company Taylorail CEO David Taylor. Taylor says this will allow for end-clients to benefit from lower cost-per-ton... 

An image depicting Taylorail's red rail wagon
TAYLORAIL WAGON Locomotives and wagons are capital intensive, with an estimated R600-million required to make use of one return slot out of the 16 that Transnet has issued advertisements for

Rail infrastructure challenges abound

By: Sabrina Jardim     17th June 2022 Train operators are working to restore the condition of South Africa’s rail network, including trains and stations, which is in “dire straits”, says Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) chief operations officer Tshepo Kgare. “The ageing infrastructure and limited capacity to move more goods and... 

An image depicting a smiling woman, Tshepo Kgare, wearing a blue blouse and black blazer
TSHEPO KGARE The RSR aims to develop a modern, flexible and efficient regulatory regime that ensures the continuing enhancement of safe railway operations

SGR to provide rail benefits

By: Sabrina Jardim     17th June 2022 With the National Rail Policy (NRP) emphasising the introduction of high speed standard gauge rail (SGR) technology on South Africa’s major rail networks, rail infrastructure consulting company Taylorail CEO David Taylor says this will make rail, as a mode of transport, a competitor for... 

A black and white image depicting a smiling man, David Taylor
DAVID TAYLOR Taylorail aims for the establishment of an open, efficient rail network by the public sector, which, alongside the private sector, enables the local economy to move forward

Policy opportunity for rail infrastructure

By: Sabrina Jardim     17th June 2022 With South Africa’s reliance on commodity exports, which can be handled only in large volumes by rail, law firm Norton Rose Fulbright Africa director and transport head Malcolm Hartwell says rail is a more efficient and environment-friendly way of transporting goods, making it crucial that rail... 

An image depicting railway tracks against the backdrop of a blue sky with white clouds and a bright shining sun
Photo by Adobe
RAIL POLICY The White Paper on National Rail Policy recognises problems with rail infrastructure and commits government to solving them

Policies require international funding – law firm

By: Sabrina Jardim     17th June 2022 Without international assistance, South Africa does not have the capacity to fund some of the large rail projects outlined by the National Rail Policy (NRP), released by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula this year as a draft White Paper and subsequently approved by Cabinet, says law firm Norton... 

An image depicting a man, Malcolm Hartwell, wearing a red tie, light blue shirt and black blazer
MALCOLM HARTWELL Hartwell says investment in infrastructure is needed to stimulate the economy, create employment and help address social and economic imbalances

Gordhan gives Transnet a pat on the back for progress made on repairs in KZN

By: Darren Parker     14th June 2022 Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has commended State-owned Transnet on what he called “significant progress” in the undertaking of repairs to operational areas damaged by the April floods in KwaZulu-Natal, which were declared a national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The repair... 

A repaired railway line in KwaZulu-Natal

RMB says Rail Policy White Paper lays foundation for private investment

By: Marleny Arnoldi     13th June 2022 Financial services provider Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) says the private sector stands ready to invest in South Africa’s rail industry, in partnership with government. Referring to the recently released National Rail Policy White Paper, RMB infrastructure finance public-private partnerships and... 

Cape Town to start Metrorail take-over feasibility study on July 1 

By: Irma Venter     13th June 2022 The City of Cape Town will, on July 1, start a feasibility study on the devolution of the city’s passenger rail system from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to the metro. PRASA currently operates all commuter passenger rail systems in the country, with the exception of the Gautrain. 

Image of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis
Geordin Hill-Lewis inspecting a Metrorail station

Route of Phase 1 of proposed Gautrain extension published

By: Irma Venter     10th June 2022 Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo has made public the preferred route for Phase 1 of the proposed expansion of the 80-km Gautrain system, in what is called the Gauteng Rapid Rail Integrated Network (GRRIN) project.   This route has been published in the Gauteng... 

Moody’s raises alarm on Transnet, puts it on notice for downgrade

By: News24Wire      9th June 2022 The credit ratings agency Moody's has placed most of Transnet’s credit ratings on review for a downgrade. Moody’s says it has become increasingly concerned over the Transnet's exposure to weak liquidity management and high refinancing risk. 

Transnet’s interpretation of third-party access will see no investment – ARIA 

By: Irma Venter     8th June 2022 African Rail Industry Association (ARIA) CEO Mesela Nhlapo says the association has serious concerns regarding the restrictive terms and conditions Transnet has imposed on the use of the national rail network by private third-party freight operators. A key element of the newly unveiled National... 

Image of Transient trains

Two PRASA employees shot, wounded by suspected cable thieves in Cape Town

By: News24Wire      8th June 2022 Two Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (PRASA) workers are in a critical condition after being shot and wounded while repairing cables on Cape Town's beleaguered Central Line. On Tuesday morning, police were called to the scene at the railway lines near Kalksteenfontein where the workers... 

National rail policy to support local industry, manufacturing  

By: Schalk Burger     3rd June 2022 The National Rail Policy White Paper has a deliberate bias towards local manufacturing to ensure industrialisation and the local production of steel, railway lines, rolling stock and supplies, and the State and private sector operators should procure all supplies from South African manufacturers,... 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula

Rail White Paper stresses private sector participation, move to standard gauge  

By: Schalk Burger     3rd June 2022 The National Rail Policy White Paper will see the rail network opened to participation by the private sector, along with a progressive national move to standard gauge to increase the average speeds of trains, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on... 

Image of a rail line in South Africa

PRASA starts rehabilitation of three Gauteng corridors

By: Irma Venter     3rd June 2022 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) says it will terminate rail services on three Gauteng corridors for the next few months to allow for the rehabilitation and restoration of the electrical cables and traction substations that were vandalised or stolen during the Covid-19 Level 5... 

Mbalula says decision on e-tolls ‘imminent’, calls for scrap metal export ban

By: Irma Venter     3rd June 2022 Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has yet again promised that a decision on the future of e-tolls in Gauteng is imminent. Delivering his department’s Budget Vote speech late last month, he noted that the matter was on Cabinet’s radar, and that a pronouncement would be made once the final decision... 

New export route for Botswana coal

By: Irma Venter     3rd June 2022 Grindrod’s Matola terminal at the Port of Maputo says it has welcomed its second coal train from Botswana. The terminal also managed to successfully discharge the 50 wagons using the terminal’s tipplers. The first train arrived at the port in April, marking a milestone for Grindrod’s Mozambican... 

Former PRASA employee receives jail sentence for cable theft

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     1st June 2022 The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has welcomed the sentencing of a former employee, who was found guilty of tampering or destroying essential infrastructure in the Mkhomazi area by the Scottburgh Regional Court. Sphiwe Mngadi and an accomplice were caught by two PRASA security... 

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