THIS MONTH is due to see the start of electric operation between De Aar and Kimberley, completing the wiring of Spoornet’s Cape Town - Johannesburg corridor. The 25 kV electrification work will be completed on June 11, when the substations are switched on, allowing test running to start. Revenue services will begin on June 30.

Meanwhile, the R542m upgrade of Spoornet’s 861 km Sishen - Saldanha iron ore corridor has reached its mid-point. Work began in 1999 to increase capacity from 22 to 29 million tonnes/year by 2004. Eight additional passing loops are to be installed by July 2002. Further work on the 50 kV electrified line will boost capacity to 38 million tonnes/year by 2010. An R220m programme is under way to build 626 new wagons, and another 1000 are being refurbished for R170m. The 31 Class 9E locos are being refurbished, and 15 new locos will be bought.