The average age of TFR's locomotives is currently 33 years. "We need
both to bring down the age of the fleet and add significant capacity if
we are to unlock TFR's customer growth potential and move goods from
road to rail."

Gigaba says the government wants to partner international suppliers
with South African manufacturers to more than double the local content
in new locomotive orders.

transnet-locos.jpgTFR has already announced it will invest Rand 52bn ($US 7.49bn) in
rolling stock and infrastructure in 2010-15, adding 304 new locomotives
which would comprise around 15% of the fleet.

The company has invested heavily in recent years in raising capacity on
heavy-haul lines, but Gigba argues this investment was limited by the
strength of TFR's balance sheet, and new sources of finance need to be
explored if capacity is to be further enhanced on these corridors. He
says the Department of Public Enterprise will work with the mining
companies to look at options for co-financing future investment.
Photo: Eugene Armer