Transnet increases capacity on the coal line between Limpopo Province and Richards Bay
July 18, 2016: The first phase in the expansion of the coal line between the Waterberg in Limpopo and Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal is completed.
Rail capacity between Lephalale in the Limpopo Province and Richards Bay Coal Terminal has increased from 400,000 tonnes to 2 million tonnes of coal per annum since the completion of the project.
The project entailed the construction of a 1.8 kilometre long passing loop at Matlabas, enabling 100-wagon trains to cross without disrupting the operation of other trains on the line.
The investment has resulted in a significant increase in rail capacity, improved operational efficiencies and faster turnaround times.
In addition, the loop has enabled Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) to increase its services from 2 trains to 5 a week, consistently without requiring more wagons. This improvement creates a high potential to run one train a day. Previously, Matlabas loop could only accommodate 50-wagon trains.
The project is a key aspect of Transnet’s plans to spend 21.8 billion over the next seven years increasing rail capacity on the export coal line to 81 million tonnes.
The construction of the Matlabas loop is the first of five phases to increase capacity on the Waterberg line.
Construction of the second stage has begun and is expected to increase the current 2 million tonnes of coal from Lephalale to Richards Bay, to 6 million tonnes per annum.
The second stage entails: construction of a 2.8 kilometre loop at Thabazimbi; building a new 5 kilometre line to connect the loops at Bleskop and Norite; creating a double line section; and building a new 7 kilometre line to connect the loops at Dam and Onderstepoort creating another double line section.
The long loops and short double line sections will enable long trains to pass without disrupting operations.
Upon completion of the second stage, Freight Rail will increase the current service from one jumbo wagon train (200-wagon train) a day to three big trains a day.