Transnet has dismissed reports suggesting its locomotive acquisition programme is in tatters.
Media recently reported that new Chinese-manufactured locomotives had hit a stumbling block as technical problems plagued the first of the trains to arrive in South Africa.
Transnet said that its locomotive acquisition programme is on track.
“China North Rail (CNR), which has since merged with China South Rail (CSR) to form CRRC, has delivered two prototype locomotives for testing in South African conditions.
“It is normal procedure to make a prototype and test it before handing it over to the buyer,” Transnet said in a statement on Tuesday.
The company said it is only once a locomotive is tested and accepted that it becomes part of the normal fleet.
The two locomotives had pre-commissioning glitches, which CNR 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.
“Our engineers have been liaising with CNR as part of the process to get the prototypes accepted,” Transnet said.
None of the locomotives have been delivered to Transnet. However, they are going through the normal testing procedures prior to acceptance and commissioning.
“Transnet, over the past 10 years, has bought hundreds of locomotives from various Original Equipment Manufacturers including EMD, General Electric, Mitsui and CSR. In all these instances, similar tests were run before acceptance.
“We wish to put on record that such testing is standard. Each and every locomotive goes through the process,” Transnet said.
Transnet said the discovery of technical glitches is no indication of poor workmanship, engineering or design.
Two years ago, Transnet awarded a contract for the acquisition of 1 064 diesel and electric locomotives as part of its locomotive fleet renewal programme from four global manufactures – two Chinese, one Canadian and one from the United States.
“Since the announcement of the agreement with all four manufacturers, testing has been performed, glitches identified and addressed and in various instances, they have varied their supplier lists in line with changing circumstances,” Transnet said.
In line with Transnet’s standard engineering and commissioning processes regarding specialised equipment, a team of experts from engineering and operations is headed to China to do initial tests and discuss the company’s observations of the locos for testing.
“It is both inaccurate and mischievous to deliberately misinterpret an internationally recognised 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.
“The 1 064 acquisition programme is conducted by mutual agreement between the company and its suppliers, and we are satisfied with the progress and quality of products,” Transnet said.
Source: SAnews.gov.za | Updated Jan 25