THE LIFE of three U26C Class 34-400 locos used at the Sasol Synfuels refinery in Secunda, South Africa, is being extended in an upgrading contract awarded to DCD Dorbyl's Rolling Stock Division.

An extra 15 to 20 years use is now expected from the refurbished locos, which were completed in June. RSD carried out full rewiring, upgraded the traction motors, changed the gear ratios and installed automatic engine stop-start equipment to reduce fuel consumption. GE Transportation Systems' Brightstar Control System has been installed to monitor and regulate performance. This will improve availability by providing real-time monitoring and diagnostics, as well as giving better adhesion and lower maintenance costs.

According to RSD Technical Manager Darryl Leggit, the 'commissioned units have demonstrated haulage improvements of up to 35%. Not only are locos able to haul bigger loads, but overall cycle times have been reduced. This has translated into significant cost savings for Sasol.'

  • CAPTION: DCD-Dorbyl carries out accident repair work for Spoornet, and recent rebuilds include Class 7E, 8E (above) and 10E electric locos. 'Due to the limited capacity of our repair and refurbishment facilities, we do look to the private sector for assistance with overflow work', said a Spoornet spokesman