Transnet Freight Rail To Conduct Annual Maintenance Shutdown On Its Iron Ore Corridor

Transnet Freight Rail To Conduct Annual Maintenance Shutdown On Its Iron Ore Corridor

Transnet Freight Rail will conduct a 10-day shutdown on the Iron Ore Corridor. The shutdown will commence on Friday, 16 October, with the anticipation that all work will be completed on Sunday, 25 October 2020. Part of this year’s maintenance will include the installation of a permanent bridge to replace the temporary emergency bridge that was installed at Vredendal following the incident that occurred on 29 November 2019 wherein an abnormal low bed vehicle loaded with an excavator collided and damaged the bridge deck.

The shutdown is part of the rail utility’s annual scheduled maintenance window which presents an opportunity to "catch up” on maintenance backlogs such as replacement of obsolete and problematic infrastructure and accelerate major capital expansions in line with the expected volume growth on the Iron Ore Corridor. The infrastructure upgrades and maintenance activities will be executed, over the 861km railway line section between Sishen and Saldanha. The railway line spanning over two provinces, Sishen in the Northern Cape and Saldanha in the Western Cape, will be closed to traffic during this period as this is a pre-planned exercise following consultations with customers, cross functional departments within Transnet Freight Rail and other third parties.

The railway line upgrades are put in place to enhance operations and safety. Benefits include, increase in the movement of trains on the rail since some of the speed restrictions will be lifted; increase in reliability; compliance with statutory requirements and the opportunity to implement rail maintenance plan.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic risks, the necessary PPE will be provided to all and safety standards, procedures and processes will be adhered to at all times.

The scope of work to be executed during the shutdown includes the following:

  • Replacement of 30 623 sleepers
  • Replacement of 3 turnouts
  • Ballast Screening 21km of track
  • Ballast Tamping 242km of track
  • Ballast Regulating 92km of track
  • Replacement of 5km of catenary wire
  • Replacement of 1.2km of contact wire
  • Replacement of 870 insulators
  • Replacement of 1 culvert
  • Installation of 1 bridge deck
  • Other OHTE components and Substation maintenance
  • Various Telecoms and Signalling maintenance activities.


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