Transnet’s manganese train sets world record

In a record-breaking move, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) has successfully run a 375-wagon manganese train over a distance of around 861 km, from Sishen to Saldanha.

The test train is four kilometres long, operating the highest number of wagons in the world. The current record, also held by Transnet on the same corridor, is a 342-wagon iron ore train.

The project will maximise the manganese volumes railed between the mines in Hotazel via Sishen to Saldanha.

TFR general manager for the iron ore and manganese business unit, Russell Baatjies, explained that one of the options of increasing manganese rail capacity would have been to upgrade existing railway feeder lines and build new rolling stock. “That option would have cost us significant capital. The project team was challenged to explore the use of technology through Industry 4.0 solutions, to achieve the same objective at minimum cost. Applying distributed power technology to increase the train length to 375 wagons will reduce capital requirements by over 90% of the initial estimate,” he said.

This was one of several breakthroughs for the heavy haul industry globally, TFR general manager, Brian Monakali - who is also the Chairman of International Heavy Haul Association – said.  “Rio Tinto, Australia, recently started the implementation of driverless trains in their iron ore railway system.”

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