President Jacob Zuma officially launched the Trans Africa Locomotive in Pretoria today.
This is the first ever train that has been manufactured locally by the state-owned entity Transnet, which will serve the Africa continent.
Speaking at the event Zuma said he was impressed by the expertise Transnet individuals involved in the making of this train.
Zuma said that local assembly of the Trans Africa locomotive would contribute to the development of industries and increasing the manufacturing capacity of the rail industry.
“The locomotive is evidence of the strides we are making in transformation Transnet Engineering into and Original Equipment Manufacturer for Locomotives, a move designed to restore our position as a catalyst for African innovation, industrialization and critically intra-Africa trade” said Transnet group Chief Executive Mr Siyabonga Gama
The locomotive is specifically customised to African conditions and is suitable for use on branch lines and in shunting yards.
Transnet designed the original underframe, superstructure, bogies, body and locomotive control system to withstand the African environment and is needs-specific to the continent.
Other intended benefits of the Trans Africa Locomotive for South Africa and the continent include:
• Regional integration
• Skills development
• Roads-to-rail migration
President Zuma, as well as Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Transnet Group CE Siyabonga Gama were given a tour of the train through yard.