South Africa unveils first locomotive to be manufactured in Africa

A South African rail company recently unveiled the first locomotive to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Africa, dubbed the “Trans-Africa locomotive.”

Transnet Chief Executive Officer, Siyabonga Gama confirmed the news and said that the new locomotive, which will be assembled at the company’s production facility in Koedoespoort, east of Pretoria, symbolized a crucial and vital step in its strategy of becoming a leading manufacturer and supplier of rolling stock in Africa.

“The locomotive will be assembled at the company’s production facility in Koedoespoort, east of Pretoria in South Africa,” said Gama.

The locomotive is appropriate for use on branch lines and in the yard for shunting while also being able to travel on old rail tracks originally designed to carry light axle loads.“The locomotive is evidence of the strides we are making in transforming Transnet Engineering into an original-equipment manufacturer for locomotives, a move designed to restore our position as a catalyst for African innovation, industrialisation and critically, intra-African trade,” added Mr. Gama.
The Trans-Africa locomotive which is diesel-powered is additionally applicable for aged railway lines that operate on the Cape Gauge system while offering a cost-effective solution for the majority of the continent’s railway lines that are currently unused. The locomotive has a unique cabin design with front and rear facing windows, allowing for movement in both directions without obstructing the driver’s view and caters for customers who cannot afford two locomotives per route.

The scope for customisation options for various uses, including diesel multiple unit conversions with smooth start-stop motion for public transport, cabin customisation, and engine upgrades. Transnet is the largest and most crucial part of the freight logistics chain that delivers goods across South Africa. Every day the company delivers thousands of tons of goods around through its pipelines and both to and from its ports. It moves that cargo on to ships for export while it unloads goods from overseas.

Transnet has, for many years, built and supplied rail stock for clients both within and outside of the borders of South Africa, but has never owned a product, from design to assembly.