Afro 4000 height clearance: PRASA and TFR repairing overhead wires
State-owned rail freight operator Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), have reportedly began carrying out emergency repairs on overhead wires for the safe clearance of the controversial R600-million Afro 4000 diesel locomotives.
According to an article by Rapport, PRASA Acting Spokesperson Sipho Sithole confirmed that it was in discussion with TFR “aimed at addressing outstanding testing and commissioning issues in order to agree on the operational introduction of the Afro 4000”.
The paper has also alleged that emails obtained between the two parastatals, shows that certain routes had been posing a problem for the locomotives, which was found to have exceeded height limits imposed on sections with overhead wires.
These include a 45 km stretch of track between Pyramid North station in Pretoria and Pienaarsrivier in Limpopo, where the locomotive’s roofs were a mere 25 cm away from touching overhead wires in eight sections.
A further route of concern is the 25 km section from Pyramid North to Pretoria station where exhaust gasses are reported as having been discharged close to the wires.
Earlier this month, RNews observed an Afro 4000 approaching a bridge near Sydenham station, with its brakes being applied as it got closer. A similar procedure was carried at North End station where after the locomotive picked-up speed again before arriving at Port Elizabeth station.
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