SOUTH AFRICA: Bombardier Transportation and Transnet Freight Rail celebrated the handover of the first of 240 Traxx Africa electric locomotives with a ceremony at Transnet Engineering’s assembly plant in Durban on December 7.

Ordered by Transnet Freight Rail in March 2014 at a cost of R15bn, the 240 multi-system locomotives are being supplied as part of the National Infrastructure Plan, which includes substantial investment for modernisation of the national rail network. They are intended to haul bulk coal and mineral traffic as well as intermodal trains on long distance routes across the country. According to Bombardier, 15 locomotives have been completed and are expected to enter revenue service at the beginning of 2018.

More than 60% of the total contract value is to be spent on locally manufactured materials, components and services, with around 90 South African companies involved in the supply chain. The Mitrac high power propulsion equipment is manufactured at Bombardier’s Isando factory near Johannesburg, while the bodyshells are coming from DCD in Boksburg. State-owned company Transnet Engineering is producing the bogies, as well as undertaking final assembly, commissioning and static testing in Durban.

Bombardier says the project has created 300 jobs in South Africa, supporting the government’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment programme, with 140 Bombardier employees currently involved in the production process.

‘The handover and acceptance of the first Traxx Africa locomotive is fantastic news’, said Aubrey Lekwane, Managing Director of Bombardier Transportation South Africa. We are committed to South Africa through local production, a strong local supply chain, job creation and transfer of technology, in line with the latest localisation and B-BBEE requirements. From the first to the last, each locomotive for Transnet Freight Rail will be manufactured in South Africa.’