A surprising decision in respect of Transnet Freight Rail’s planned fleet of 143 class 43 diesel-electric locomotives is that 62 are to be allocated to electrified lines. The 861km Sishen-Saldanha heavy-haul iron-ore line, for instance, which is to get 30 class 43s, is electrified at 50kV AC. The line east of Witbank to Komatipoort (348km, 3kV DC) gets 32.
The largest slice (53 locos) goes to mineral traffic heading south from Phalaborwa. Beyond Komatipoort and on through Swaziland, almost to Richards Bay, this line is not electrified , so here the proposed allocation makes more sense. The rest of the new order for 43 locos, to be built at Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE), is destined for lines vaguely described as serving Eskom power stations.