Transnet has officially launched its first ever designed, engineered and manufactured train.
The parastatal said that the new locomotive, which will serve the African continent, is specifically customised to African conditions and is suitable for use on branch lines and in shunting yards.
Speaking at the launch of the Trans Africa Locomotive, President Jacob Zuma said the completion of the locomotive was a significant technological achievement by Transnet and the country.
“We appreciate Transnet’s drive to become the leading provider of logistics services in sub-Saharan Africa,” he said. “We must continue working hard to develop infrastructure that promotes trade among African countries and which make it easier for us to visit one another and also boost economic growth and development.
“The Trans-African Locomotive project has provided an opportunity for Transnet to grow and diversify its business,” he added.
According to Zuma, the locomotive is also the perfect fit for most of the main lines in the South African Development Community (SADC) region, where infrastructure prevents the use of heavier locomotives which are more difficult to manoeuvre.
Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown said they were very proud of the Trans African locomotive, adding that it was the first born and bred African locomotive.
“Those of us at the shareholder ministry, together with the Transnet board and Transnet management are continually considering new initiatives and innovations to reshape the core of the Transnet business,” Brown said.
Transnet designed the original underframe, superstructure, bogies, body and locomotive control system to withstand the African environment and its needs which are specific to the continent.