Sishen to Saldanha. Transnet extends iron line shutdown
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Sishen to Saldanha. Transnet extends iron line shutdown

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), Transnet’s largest division by revenue, said on Monday that it has delayed the reopening of the export iron ore line, which was shut down after “extensive damage” following a derailment last week.

The freight train derailed near Vredenburg north of Saldanha in the Western Cape on Thursday July 22. It was en route from Kumba Iron Ore’s (KIO) Sishen mine in the Northern Cape to the Saldanha Port.

The 861-kilometre-long export iron ore line has the capacity to transport around 50 million tons of iron ore a year.

Sandile Simelane, spokesman for the TFR, said the division originally intended to open the line on Monday, but it now expected to open it at 6pm local time on Wednesday.

The derailment has delayed the movement of iron ore along the Sishen-Saldanha railway line. The TRF moves about 900 000 tons to one million tons a week on average.

Simelane said the unit and its customers are planning how they would recover from the delay.

At this stage, the TFR will only know the costs of the damage after its investigation into the derailment, Simelane said.

Two locomotives derailed along with 107 of the wagons in the rear portion of the train, which consists of over 300 wagons.

On Friday, the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) said it had launched an investigation into the cause of the derailment.

“Two railway safety inspectors have been dispatched to the scene to conduct an on-site investigation,” the RSR said.

The regulator said the derailment had resulted in “extensive damage” to rolling stock and infrastructure.

“There is no indication of the probable cause of the occurrence at this stage,” the RSR said.

It said the line has been closed for clean up and repair operations.

The damaged line connects iron ore mines near Sishen in the Northern Cape with the port at Saldanha in the Western Cape. The line is dedicated to transporting iron ore and it does not carry passengers.

As part of its mandate, the RSR monitors and ensures safety compliance by conducting audits, inspections, safety assessments and occurrence investigations. – I-Net Bridge

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