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Rail News

UNTU calls for PPE for Transnet employees as iron ore line reopens

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     30th March 2020 The United National Transport Union (UNTU) has acknowledged the decision of Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to reopen the iron ore rail line operated by State-owned Transnet. This will require Transnet employees from various divisions to be ready to report for duty from March... 

Transnet scales back to only essential services, operations

By: Simone Liedtke     27th March 2020 In line with government’s implementation of a three-week lockdown of the country to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, State-owned entity Transnet will be scaling down its transportation services and operations of non-essential cargo during this period. After consultation with various... 

Transnet appoints new acting CFO

By: Marleny Arnoldi     26th March 2020 State-owned freight utility Transnet has appointed Mark Gregg-Macdonald acting CFO following the resignation of acting CFO Mohammed Mahomedy. The utility is in the process of recruiting a permanent group CFO. 

Train services suspended for duration of lockdown - Mbalula

By: African News Agency      25th March 2020 All commuter rail services will shut down for the duration of South Africa's national lockdown, transport minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday. "All long-distance passenger rail services, both public and private, will stop operations for the duration of the lockdown. Services of Shosholoza... 

Blue Train halts trips until end-April

By: Marleny Arnoldi     19th March 2020 The Blue Train has announced the suspension of its transport service between Pretoria and Cape Town effective immediately, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, owned by State-owned freight utility Transnet, on Thursday said the suspension would be effective until April 30, as... 

Blue Train halts trips until end-April
Photo by Creamer Media
The Blue Train at Pretoria Station

Hearing into PRASA administrator’s appointment postponed

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     18th March 2020 An urgent court application to set aside Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s decision to appoint Bongisizwe Mpondo as administrator of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has been postponed to April 21. The court application was lodged by civil society coalition UniteBehind, which... 

Coronavirus in SA: Gautrain exec tests positive, staff self-isolated, station deep clean

By: News24Wire      18th March 2020 A Gautrain business unit director who travelled from France has tested positive for Covid-19. According to the company, the executive visited its Midrand offices between 12 and 14 March, as well as the Gautrain Park and Sandton stations. He is currently in self-isolation. 

Coronavirus in SA: Gautrain exec tests positive, staff self-isolated, station deep clean

Union calls on Minister to dissolve RSR board

By: Marleny Arnoldi     16th March 2020 The United National Transport Union (Untu) has asked Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to dissolve the board of Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) with immediate effect. Untu general secretary Steve Harris says the union is concerned about the ongoing breaches of rail safety at Metrorail – a... 

Union calls on Minister to dissolve RSR board

Tanzania set to launch tender for single gauge railway to Rwanda, DRC

By: African News Agency      12th March 2020 The Tanzanian government has announced that it will soon invite international tenders for the construction of a standard gauge railway (SGR) to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), building and construction magazine, Construction Review Online reported. Tanzania's chief government... 

Transnet bemoans cable theft at Pretoria Complex, rolls out diesel locos 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     12th March 2020 Another incident of overhead cable theft at State-owned Transnet’s Pretoria Complex has further crippled the group’s Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) subsidiary’s ability to deliver goods to customers on time. It said in a release on Wednesday that the Pretoria Complex, which is one of the country’s... 

Cape Town cuts water to PRASA, electricity to follow

By: African News Agency      10th March 2020 The Cape Town municipality has cut water supply to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and will do the same with electricity supply to the troubled entity on Tuesday, deputy mayor Ian Neilson said on Monday. The disconnection comes after PRASA missed a deadline of Friday imposed by... 

Companies sign MoU for rail development on the continent

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     6th March 2020 Multilateral development finance bank African Export-Import Bank and local railway services company Thelo DB signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop, finance and operate railway projects in Africa. Thelo DB is an incorporated partnership between Thelo Ventures and Germany-based... 

Companies sign MoU  for rail development  on the continent
Photo by Ben Bergh
GREATER COLLABRATION Thelo DB and African Export-Import Bank will collaborate to support the modernisation of Africa’s railways

South African rail manufacturing sector needs to reinvent itself

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     6th March 2020 Despite South Africa’s having a strong presence on the railway scene – claiming almost 30% of the continent’s kilometres and more than 60% of its rail freight – the country’s rail manufacturing sector has not leveraged this position to lead in the manufacturing of rolling stock on the continent,... 

South African rail manufacturing sector needs to reinvent itself
Photo by Creamer Media
CONTINENTAL BENEFITS Through the AfCFTA, the benefits for South Africa and its African peers will be easier distribution, new export markets and new business opportunities

Need for change to address challenges in rail sector

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     6th March 2020 Despite the local rail industry in South Africa constituting a sizeable and critical portion of the economy, and being well developed, compared with the rest of Africa, the rail infrastructure is not properly maintained, says rail equipment manufacturer Evorail GM Daniel Tchengoue. “The biggest... 

Regulator plans to increase safety awareness

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje     6th March 2020 Owing to various safety-related challenges that the South African rail industry has faced in the past year, the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) plans to increase its safety awareness activities to mitigate the risk of operational occurrences. According to the ‘State of Safety’ report 2018/19, a... 

Regulator plans to increase safety awareness
SAFETY FIRST improved maintenance systems are crucial in addressing the current safety challenges within rail sector

Massive R1.4bn boost to get Cape Town central line back on track

By: News24Wire      5th March 2020 The Department of Transport budgeted a massive amount of money to get the problematic Cape Town Central train line back on track. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday said there would be a phased re-introduction of the train service for the central line which served commuters in... 

Transnet, Minerals Council to discuss smart rail at Heavy Haul Conference

By: Marleny Arnoldi     4th March 2020 The Heavy Haul Conference will again this year draw from international best practice to find ways of making South Africa’s railway industry more resilient and better prepared for the future. Conference organiser, the South African Heavy Haul Association (Sahha), confirmed in a statement this... 

Transnet, Minerals Council to discuss smart rail at Heavy Haul Conference

Focus on corridor solutions yields results for Grindrod 

By: Irma Venter     4th March 2020 It seems as if driving corridor solutions for specific customer requirements has yielded positive results for freight and logistics group Grindrod. Releasing its financial results for the year ended December 31 in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Grindrod reported a 12% growth in revenue, to... 

Focus on corridor solutions yields results for Grindrod

Zambia awards China Railway $825m deal for line upgrades

By: Bloomberg     4th March 2020 Zambia signed an $825-million contract with a China Railway Construction Corporation unit to upgrade tracks in the south of the country, the company said. The project will last eight years and will cover nearly 650 km of lines, China Railway said a statement, without saying how it will be... 

Eskom power cut derails Western Cape train service, Mbalula not impressed

By: African News Agency      27th February 2020 Commuter trains throughout the Western Cape came to a halt on Thursday as Eskom disconnected power to Metrorail due to unpaid bills, causing transport chaos in the province. Limited service was restored by late afternoon after the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), which owns... 

The night a Van der Merwe and Ledwaba took gold in London  

By: Irma Venter     27th February 2020 After twenty years of first finding ways to kickstart the Gautrain project, then building and running the urban rapid-rail system, Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe has retired. His skills are not lost to Gauteng, however, as he is set to lead the newly established Transport... 

The night a Van der Merwe and Ledwaba took gold in London
Jack van der Merwe

Private electricity generation identified as most urgent structural reform for reigniting growth 

By: Simone Liedtke     26th February 2020 With a weak economic outlook characterised by a real gross domestic product that is expected to grow at 0.9% in 2020, 1.3% in 2021 and 1.6% in 2022, South Africa is in dire need of far-reaching structural reforms to achieve faster economic growth. In contrast, global economic growth is expected... 

Private electricity generation identified as most urgent structural reform for reigniting growth

TFR says cable theft resulting in 21 trains a day being cancelled  

By: Marleny Arnoldi     21st February 2020 Between April 2019 and January 2020, 354 227 m of overhead cables on rail lines had been stolen. State-owned freight utility Transnet and its Transnet Freight Rail subsidiary say the theft of overhead cables on rail lines had reached unprecedented levels, with, on average, 21 trains being... 

TFR says cable theft resulting in 21 trains a day being cancelled

'Speeding' Shosholoza Meyl stopped in its tracks following fatal crash

By: News24Wire      19th February 2020 The Shosholoza Meyl, a long-distance train service operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), has been ordered to stop operating with immediate effect. This follows a fatal train crash on February 12, which left one man dead and several others injured when a goods and... 

'Speeding' Shosholoza Meyl stopped in its tracks following fatal crash

Alstom in talks for $7bn buyout of Bombardier train unit

By: Bloomberg     17th February 2020 French train maker Alstom has confirmed it is in talks to acquire the rail business of embattled Canadian train and plane maker Bombardier, in a fresh attempt to bulk up against Chinese competition. Discussions are ongoing and no final decision has been made, Alstom and Bombardier said Monday in... 

Mboweni moots referendum on rescuing State-owned companies on Twitter

By: African News Agency      17th February 2020 After a short hiatus from Twitter, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is once again posting prolifically, using the platform at the weekend to call for a public debate, possibly a referendum, on the use of taxpayers' money to bail out failing State-owned enterprises. "We must develop a democratic... 

Mboweni moots referendum on rescuing State-owned companies on Twitter
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Govt to invest R1.4bn to modernise PRASA

By: News24Wire      14th February 2020 South Africa's long-suffering train commuters can soon look forward to a smooth ride. President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would boost the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (PRASA) rail network by R1.4-billion. 

KfW, DBSA renew MoU

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     13th February 2020 German development bank KfW has renewed its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with development finance institution, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), to continue their successful collaboration on the financing and implementation of programmes. The signing of the MoU took place on... 

Investigation under way following fatal rail accident in Johannesburg

By: Simone Liedtke     13th February 2020 An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the accident between a Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) Premier Classe passenger train and a stationary Transnet train between the Roodepoort and Horizon Stations, in Johannesburg, on Wednesday evening. The investigation is... 

Investigation under way following fatal rail accident in Johannesburg

Green transport set to overtake cars in world's major cities by 2030

By: Reuters     10th February 2020 From public transport to cycling, sustainable transport is on course to overtake driving in the world's biggest cities within a decade, according to a study released on Monday. Private car trips will drop by 10% on average by 2030 to make up less than half of all city journeys, while public... 

South Africa to fast-track continental infrastructure projects

By: Bloomberg     10th February 2020 South Africa will fast-track four continent-wide infrastructure projects in which it’s involved, including a $14-billion dam on the Congo river, President Cyril Ramaphosa said as the country assumed the chair of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa. The country will drive the Inga III power... 

Video: Zero emissions transport future will require more copper, platinum 

By: Creamer Media Reporter      6th February 2020 Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines co-chairperson Robert Friedland this week told delegates at the Investing in African Mining Indaba that the world was shifting towards zero emissions transportation and that this will likely result in shortages of 'green' metals, like platinum and copper. He... 

Video: Zero emissions transport future will require more copper, platinum
Ivanhoe Mines co-chairperson discusses the global move away from internal combustion engines towards electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Video and editing: Nicholas Boyd

Transnet plans to boost the volume of coal transported by rail to Eskom 

By: Kim Cloete     6th February 2020 State-owned Transnet says it is planning to ramp up the amount of coal it transports by rail to power utility Eskom's power stations to 32.5-million tonnes over the next five years, starting with a small increase over the next year. Chief customer officer Mike Fanucchi on Wednesday said Transnet... 

Transnet plans to boost the volume of coal transported by rail to Eskom

Transnet’s new head promises an open door and action

By: Kim Cloete     5th February 2020 State-owned Transnet’s newly appointed CE Portia Derby has pledged to partner with the mining industry in an open and transparent way in a bid to boost the utility and ultimately help grow the economy. “We want to be a cool, easy company to deal with. We don’t want to make it difficult for you to... 

Transnet’s new head promises an open door and action

Scopa seeks to have former PRASA board members declared ‘delinquent’ 

By: Simone Liedtke     5th February 2020 The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has committed to table a resolution with the National Assembly asking that Parliament declare the former interim board members and previous board members of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) as delinquent directors to prevent their... 

PRASA administrator appoints technical advisory team  

By: Irma Venter     5th February 2020 Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo has appointed a panel of technical advisors to assist him during his 12-month tenure. The rail entity says the technical advisory team will provide PRASA with much-needed technical expertise, while also supporting... 

PRASA administrator appoints technical advisory team

South African, Botswana coal producers outline prospects for the industry

By: Kim Cloete     3rd February 2020 Coal producers and market players have outlined risks and opportunities for the year ahead as more short-term contracts have been signed with Eskom, junior miners try to carve out a viable way forward and some of the major coal players disinvest from coal assets. While business with Eskom has... 

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