Majuba Rail Link OHTE - Tractionel Enterprise

Majuba Rail Link OHTE - Tractionel Enterprise

The problem of coal trucks tearing up Mpumalanga’s roads is to come to an end following Eskom's realisation of the R5.2 billion Majuba railway line. Mpumalanga residents have been outraged for years over the number of coal trucks destroying town roads.  Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza assured residents that the new railway would alleviate this problem. During his 2013 state of the province address, Mabuza said numerous social and economic benefits would be associated with the project. The mining town of Ermelo has been the most heavily affected with three national roads, the N11, N2, and N17 passing through the town. The N11 carries approximately 1,000 trucks a day. The project is expected to be completed by December 2017.

Majuba Rail Link OHTE - Tractionel Enterprise

The Majuba railway has been designed to transport 14 million tonnes of coal annually from the Goedgevonden, Vlakvarkfontein, Exxaro, Middelkraal, Kuyasa, and Shanduka mines.

The construction of this dedicated railway comes as result of Eskom’s initiative to change the transportation method of coal delivered to a number of power stations, especially Majuba Power Station, from road trucks to rail, resulting in positive economic, environmental and social benefits.

The 68km corridor is the first large Greenfield freight-rail infrastructure project to be carried out in South Africa since 1986 and will be operated by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).

Appointed as sub-contractor for the electrical works, Tractionel Enterprise is responsible for the supply and installation of the 3kV DC and 25kV AC OHTE and associated equipment, a new 3kV DC traction substation, extension of the existing Nooitgedacht substation building, as well as an 11kV AC transmission line for signal and auxiliary power supplies to be mounted on cross-arms on the same support structures which carries the 3kV DC and 25kV AC OHTE.

The OHTE comprises three distinct layout designs. The OHTE will incorporate a 25kv AC section as an “island” in between two 3kV DC sections. The change over from DC to AC and AC to DC will deviate from the traditional stationary type system currently being employed by TFR. The new system is termed the On-the-Fly (OTF) system. This system is designed for use with the new generation dual voltage locomotives such as class 19E or similar 3kV DC/25kV AC motive power. The train will merely drive through at speed. Track magnets before the OTF will open the on-board voltage-feeding breaker, the pantograph remains up and the locomotive will automatically detect the relevant system voltage on the other side of the OTF and the correct on-board voltage-feeding breaker will close with magnets again. Invalid locomotives will be prevented from entering the changeover area by the use of a Locomotive Identification System combined with railway signalling technology. The back up to the OTF system in the event that the signalling system goes down is an electrical protection system, which will trip both the adjacent upstream traction supplies. 

“Tractionel Enterprise is proud to be associated with the Majuba Rail Project, and of course being the OHTE partner of choice on both the largest OHTE projects of their kind in South Africa during the past decade,” said Mr Danie Lubbe, Tractionel Enterprise’s CEO.

Tractionel Enterprise is a market leader in railway electrification in Sub Saharan Africa, boasting a fully-fledged Design and Project Management Office, and has an established track record in the rail sector with the completion of similar projects including the prestigious Gautrain Rapid Rail Link.


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