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Transnet unveils Africa’s first trans-Africa locomotive

04 April 2017

Transnet unveiled the first locomotive to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Africa, marking a crucial step in Transnet’s and South Africa’s march towards becoming a leading manufacturer and supplier of rolling stock on the continent.

The Trans-Africa Locomotive is a brainchild of Transnet’s engineering and manufacturing division, Transnet Engineering. It was conceptualised and engineered by a team of experts from within Transnet and assembled at the company’s production facility in Koedoespoort, east of Pretoria.

Transnet has identified innovation as central to placing the company at the forefront of the African continent’s drive towards strengthening its logistics infrastructure and engineering capability. It is also a crucial element of the company’s efforts to diversify sources of revenue.

The locomotive is designed for the African landscape, and is suitable for use on branch lines and in the yard for shunting. It can be used on old rail tracks originally designed to carry light axle loads. The original underframe, superstructure, bogies, body, and locomotive control system were designed to withstand the African climate. 

Transnet Group Chief Executive, Siyabonga Gama said: “The locomotive is evidence of the strides we are making in transforming Transnet Engineering into an Original Equipment Manufacturer for locomotives, a move designed to restore our position as a catalyst  for African innovation, industrialisation and critically, intra-African trade.”

In addition, the Trans-Africa Locomotive is appropriate for aged railway lines that operate on the Cape Gauge system, offering a cost-effective solution for the majority of the continent’s railway lines that are currently unused.

Transnet has, for many years, built and supplied rail stock for clients both within and outside of the borders of South Africa, but has never owned a product, from design to assembly.