Railways AfricaTM

Issue: 6 - 2018

Editors Comment

I always find Issue Six, the hardest editorial comment to write. Should it be reflection, should one speak of the year ahead, should one ignore both and choose a different topic altogether?

So, I will mix it up!

I am extremely grateful for a number of opportunities that arose during the year, firstly – Hong Kong, sadly I was not there for the opening of the bullet train, it was still under construction at that time, but, I had the opportunity to engage with different international suppliers, experience a new culture and overcome some of my travel issues! If I get the opportunity to go back next year, I will definitely try out the new train!

Berlin, for InnoTrans, now that was an incredible experience! Thank you, TMH Africa for the opportunity to see such a world class event, over 3000 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors – one really does not grasp the magnitude of this event until you see it with your own eyes! You will recall from issue 4 the announcement of Transmashholdings, “Now in Africa” – at the time they were waiting for all the legal approvals, in this issue we bring an update – The deal is done, all approvals are through and TMH Africa is open for business.

Then, from Russia with love – I have always wanted to write those words! Not so stereotypical, when you are looking at the Kremlin from across the canal! Craig and I spent an incredible week in Russia, coincidently at the same time as South Africa was hosting a high level Russian delegation. Standing on Red square, looking at Lenin’s memorial, the Kremlin, the incredible architecture of the city, you can feel that history and you can see that Russia, without a doubt is open for business and expanding its presence globally, particularly in Africa – watch the rail space!

From a rail perspective, Russia has in excess of 85,200 kilometres of track with more than half already electrified. So apart from testing out their rail services, the Metro stations, by the way, are magnificent, each a museum and work of art, what were we doing post FIFA World cup. in Russia? We went to visit Izhevskiy Radiozavod – IRZ (see page 4) whom develop and manufacture equipment for a variety of industries including the rail sector, specifically in the areas of safety, control, telecommunication, and navigation. The company is headquartered in the city of Izhevsk, Udmurt Republic, Russia, an almost three hour flight from Moscow.

Up until the mid 80's there were no roads linking Izhevsk to other regions and this was primarily because Izhevsk was home to a number of state defence industries and a special pass was required to even be in the state and there were certainly no tourists! I wonder how many from Africa have ventured to Izhevsk?

Izhevsk is also home to the Kalashnikov rifle factory, Mikhail Kalashnikov the legendary gun maker and notoriously known as the “father” of the AK-47, the museum is just fascinating! We visited a traditional Udmurt village and experienced life from yesteryear, fascinating how the villages were structured and how people survived.

And, I had the most incredible restaurant experience in Izhevsk - I have every intention of importing Dimitri and Kare to Africa, obviously, only once I have finished compiling this issue of course!

It was an incredible week, and our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to our hosts from Izhevskiy Radiozavod – IRZ for the experience, amazing hospitality and new found friends and the front cover for this issue!

It a great pity that we didn’t get to Ethiopia, as a result of visa issues, but it appears by all accounts that it was a worthwhile event and of course by the time we get to the next event, it is visa’s on arrival! Ethiopia has a potential 2,300km of SGR available for possible private investment, with the ERC having already completed the feasibility studies, alignment selection and verification, detailed design, final design integration, and related environmental and social impact assessment works. In addition to development plans for Transit Oriented Development in Addis Ababa including logistic parks and railway tourism projects.

I would like to express be sincere appreciation to both our advertisers and subscribers for the support over the last year, the production of Railways Africa weekly online and in print, is not possible without you! I look forward to working with you once again in 2019 and like all of you, I look forward to seeing the continued growth in Africa and some recovery in South Africa.

Enjoy the holiday season, take a break, because 2019 is going to be a very busy year!

Till next year.