REPORT: PRASA locos not fitted with adequate stoppers

BY CHARL BOSCH - SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

A report by The Witness has alleged that concerns have started mounting about the brake system used on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) controversial R600-million Afro 4000 diesel locomotives.

Citing sources with knowledge about the transaction, the paper claims that PRASA’s engineering division, then headed by sacked head Daniel Mtimkulu, failed to recognise that the locos came fitted with air-brakes instead of the older vacuum assisted setup still used on many South African coaches.

It has also been reported that while manufacturer Vossloh Espana could have fitted either system, the error was only picked up last year and that the setup was quickly changed when the first batch of 13 units arrived at the beginning of 2015.

The latest findings come after a report earlier this month found that six locos had been pulled from service, with two said to have suffered leaked compressor seals as a result of the inadequate breaking systems. The remaining seven are reportedly still being used despite lacking a safety permit as required by the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR).

Last month, RNews, observed an Afro 4000 passing slowly through Sydenham station before the brakes very applied for a few moments as it went underneath a bridge while hauling a Shosholoza Meyl passenger train. Minutes later, it was seen running just as slow heading out of North End station on-route Port Elizabeth central.

 

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