State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will undertake a yearly maintenance shutdown on the Port Elizabeth (PE) Manganese main line, from Hotazel, in the Northern Cape, to the Gqeberha Port Terminal, in the Eastern Cape, from April 12 to 21.
This maintenance is aimed at ensuring a safe and reliable network to ensure operational efficiencies for all customers, TFR said.
It added that the PE Manganese line recorded its highest volumes in a decade, ending the 2022/23 financial year at 9.7-million tons.
Rail network teams will execute the shutdown maintenance of the manganese line over 1 587 km distance, which is coordinated with customers and other Transnet operating divisions for all parties to use the maintenance window optimally.
Further, TFR believes local communities will benefit from short-term employment on the maintenance projects conducted before and after the shutdown period.
The scope of work for this year’s shutdown maintenance includes sleeper replacement, ballast screening and regulating, rail replacement, overhead track equipment (OHTE) refurbishment and replacement, OHTE tiger wire installation, as well as fibre replacement and maintenance.
The shutdown will assist in the uplifting of temporary speed restrictions in some sections that have constrained the network and will lead to the recovery of train slots, thereby making way for TFR to ramp up its PE Manganese throughput.
The Cape Corridor has been engaging stakeholders doing collaborative work during the planning of the shutdown maintenance to ensure complete execution of the projects in the affected depots, TFR said.
“The safety of our employees and the public remains a priority during the shutdown,” the company said.