African railway operator Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will embark on a 12 day shutdown of the coal export line from 14 – 25 of May 2013.  

This annual activity, which occurs in the month of May, presents an opportunity for the company to ‘catch up’ on maintenance backlog; replace old, obsolete and problematic infrastructure as part of sustainability of the business; and accelerate the major capital expansion/upgrade projects in line with the expected volume growth – a requirement for the company’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS).

In the 2012/13 financial year, TFR railed 69.2 Mt of export coal on the line, a record in the history of the line.

There are sections where infrastructure work cannot be carried out without stopping the entire train service on the coal line – another reason why the shutdown is necessary.  For example, at Overvaal (single line portion ),  critical maintenance and refurbishment work need to be done, as well as in the Ermelo yard.

The shutdown will also serve as a boost to the infrastructure construction programme for the expansion to 81 Mtpa which has recently commenced.


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