Reports on Chinese locomotives 'inaccurate and mischievous' - Transnet

2017-01-24 17:41
Goods train. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Goods train. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - Reports on problems with Transnet's Chinese-manufactured locomotives are "inaccurate and mischievous" and are designed to "advance devious ideological schemes".

The state-owned rail operator on Tuesday strongly denied that its R50bn acquisition programme for new locomotives was "in tatters".

This after News24 revealed on Monday that the first two of 232 diesel locomotives to be supplied to Transnet by China's CRRC had experienced "excessive vibrations" in their alternators soon after they arrived in South Africa in 2016.

READ THIS EXCLUSIVE: Transnet's new Chinese locomotives 'fail first test'

Transnet maintains that the two trains merely experienced "pre-commissioning glitches" that have since been attended to by the manufacturer.

CRRC is one of three Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that are currently supplying Transnet with 1 064 new locomotives worth R50bn. The contract was awarded in 2014.


In 2014, Namibian rail authorities decided to decommission their Chinese-manufactured diesel locomotives after the trains' alternators also posed problems, among other technical shortcomings.

But Transnet said it rejected any suggestion that the sourcing of its new locomotives was "in tatters".

"The locomotives had pre-commissioning glitches which CNR [one of the two Chinese OEMs that later merged to form CRRC] has attended to. In terms of the contract, CNR would manufacture the first 20 locomotives in their facility in China while the balance will be assembled at the Transnet manufacturing facility in Durban," said Transnet.

"Transnet made it a condition that the 18 locomotives in China be checked for the glitches before being shipped to South Africa. Our engineers have been liaising with CNR as part of the process to get the prototypes accepted," according to Transnet.

The company maintains that similar "glitches" have been identified and corrected since the start of the project.

"It is both inaccurate and mischievous to deliberately misinterpret an internationally recognized quality assurance process to advance devious ideological schemes and at the same time casting aspersions on Transnet's image and integrity of our processes. Transnet runs many Chinese made locomotives on its network and they run excellently," it said.

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