Railways AfricaTM

Issue: 6 - 2016

This being the last issue of 2016, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our readers, advertisers and contributors for the continued support received during the course of the year. It cannot be denied that it has been a tough year, however, investment in the continent’s infrastructure continues to dominate development discussions across platforms, promising to keep Africa’s continued prosperity on track, in a difficult global economic cycle.

In this issue, our cover article talks to successfully delivering on infrastructure projects, on time and within budget, through the use of intelligent project management software solutions. Built on global best practises and offered by ARES, a leading project management company. If you are interested in a hands-on introduction to the world-class suite of software and services offered by ARES, please feel free to contact me, as Railways Africa™ has negotiated a special introductory offer.

It is pleasing to see that even in these tough economic times, orders for rolling stock are coming through, which is testament to the UNIFE World Rail Market Study’s findings of a 3% projected growth rate over the short to medium term on the continent. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) can expect an increase in orders from the African continent in the 2017/18 FY, placing Africa as a key driver for the rail industry on a global scale.

A few weeks ago, world leaders gathered in Marrakesh, Morocco, for the first global climate change conference (COP22) to be held on the African continent. The need for a shift to more sustainable transport modalities featured highly on the global COP22 agenda, and the potential of rail to contribute to the reduction in carbon emissions emanating from the transport sector was recognised by all stakeholders. In addition, the digitisation of the rail industry continues to drive advancements in rail services, operations and maintenance, a trend that we expect will continue at increasing speeds in years to come. 

Safety on the continent’s railways remains a priority, and I would like to commend the Railway Safety Regulator of South Africa (RSR) for their in-depth report back on the state of railway safety in the country. We have provided a detailed analysis of the 2015/16 State of Railway Safety Report in this issue, and add our voice to the call for all stakeholders to observe railway safety protocols, specifically the message to always stop at level crossings “Look, Listen, Stay Alive”, especially at this time of year, when scores of holiday makers take to the road for the holiday season.

The 2017-year looks to be an exciting one for the continent’s railway industry, as we anticipate the roll out of multiple projects and programmes. The Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) will be ordering new rolling stock for the Gautrain, and will be releasing the results of the feasibility study on the ambitious extension plans for the project. The first of PRASA’s X’Trapolis MEGA trains will be taking to the tracks in Mamelodi for the initial trial runs of Gibela’s rolling stock for passenger services. The Dunnottar train manufacturing plant will be coming on line, seeing Alstom rolling stock being manufactured in the country for the first time. Kenya will be inaugurating their long awaited standard gauge railway line, and Tanzania is expected to follow close behind. We hope that you share our excitement, as we bring you all the news and business intelligence emanating from the continent’s railways in 2017.

Railways Africa™ looks forward to seeing increased growth for those who participate in the rail sector in 2017/18. As we close on this exhilarating, all be it challenging, year; we wish each of you a fantastic festive season, filled with the rest and recuperation needed to prepare for a sensational 2017.