Clearance concerns will be addressed - PRASA

BY CHARL BOSCH - JULY 14, 2015

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has stated that it will consult with engineers about the raising of overhead wires, following newspaper reports that its R600-million Afro 4000 diesel locomotives exceeded height limits.

Addressing the media at a demonstration of the controversial locomotives in Pretoria yesterday, PRASA Head of Rail Safety, Mosenngwa Mofi, said wiring on Transnet’s 25 kV lines were above the required 4.5 m limit and posed no dangers for the locomotive.

He however stated that while cables on certain sections of the three kV were hanging lower, no plans are currently in place to use the locos on these sections.

“It is not unusual for the lines to be raised as it forms parts regular maintenance procedures. In some cases, provision is also made for the engineers to judge whether they need to intervene or not,” Netwerk24 quoted Mofi as saying.

Speaking at the same event before boarding the train, PRASA CEO Lucky Montana, accused the publisher’s newspapers, Beeld and Rapport, for wanting to discredit the rail operator and its employees by spreading lies after reports found that 13 of the Spanish built locos, which forms part of a bigger R3.5-billion deal for an additional 57 units from manufacturer Vossloh España, measured 4 140 mm instead of the required 3 965 mm.

Reacting to an article by the latter in which PRASA allegedly asked for the lowering of the locos’ roofs, Montana stated that the request was made during the design phase and not when some units were already assembled.

In leaked documents obtained by the paper over the weekend, it was revealed that PRASA had send out a letter to Vossloh in November 2013, asking for the roofs to be lowered. The Valencia based manufacturer however stated that it was unable to carry out the request, saying that “it is understood that with actual height and with the information we manage, the locomotives should be acceptable for operations on South African tracks”.

 

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