Transnet sets aside R400 million for branch line upgrades

BY CHARL BOSCH - AUGUST 13, 2014

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), has announced that it will set aside between R200 and R400 million a year for the upgrading of branch lines across the country.

The announcement was made by TFR CEO, Siyabonga Gama, at a recent briefing in Cape Town, in which the state owned parastatal hopes to attract R100 billion from the private sector into making transport by rail more efficient and to help grow rural and regional economies.

According to an article posted on miningweekly.com, Gama said that around 20 branch lines, many of which had seen limited to no-use since TFR scaled back their branch line operation in the early 90’s, had been identified for private sector use.

Among the lines earmarked, the majority of which are located in the Eastern Cape, are the Alicedale-Grahamstown-Port Alfred line, the narrow gauge line between Port Elizabeth and the Langkoolf, previously used by the Apple Express, and the lines used between Mthatha-Amabele, Sterkstroom-Maclear, Stormberg-Rosmead, Dreunberg-Aliwal North-Barkley East, Rosmead-Klipplaat and Barkley Bridge-Alexandria.

In addition, Gama also revealed that the once popular tourist route between Knysna and George on the Garden Route, as used by the famed Outeniqua Choo Tjoe steam train, is also under consideration following flood damage which led to its closure in 2006.

It has since emerged in an article published by Railways Africa, that due to maintenance on the manganese line between Sishen and Port Elizabeth scheduled to start next month, all traffic would be diverted through the Rosmead-Klipplaat branch line for a period of three weeks. Following the discontinuation of mainline steam travel in 1978, the line is currently used twice weekly by two freight trains. 

 

Photo supplied from www.railpictures.net