Traxtion has opened its new Rosslyn-based maintenance facility for business, allowing it to provide locomotive rebuild and overhaul services at scale.
The industrialised area of Rosslyn, a suburb of Tshwane, is the manufacturing centre of Gauteng, best known for its automotive industry. “The opening of this facility signals a giant leap as we solidify our position as Africa’s pre-eminent private rail operator,” says Traxtion CEO, James Holley.
The deciding criteria for Traxtion in making the R68-million investment in this particular location is threefold. “The pool of skilled artisans available in the region to facilitate rapid growth was a very important factor,” explains James. “This, along with the opportunity to do a cost effective refurbishment of an existing facility, and the outstanding rail access infrastructure into Rosslyn were drivers behind the investment.”
Locomotives for refurbishment will be transported directly into Rosslyn via rail from as far afield as the DRC, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. By collaborating with complementary rail services providers, Traxtion now offers its clients a full-service destination at the Rosslyn workshop and is able to provide rolling stock refurbishment solutions for mining, industrial, freight and state-owned enterprises throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Locomotives from West and East Africa are shipped to Durban, and either railed or trucked up to Gauteng.
It is a lesser known fact that South Africa has one of the top ten largest railways in the world and moves in excess of 220 million tones of rail freight per year. The problem seen on South Africa’s roads, is that road transportation still enjoys a disproportionately large share of the freight market, creating truck congestion and dangerous driving conditions.
Expansions and refurbishments
The new 7 370m² premises which houses 50 staff, gives Traxtion the capacity to match its inherent capabilities as a specialist in the repair and maintenance of diesel and electric locomotives.
“This facility enables us to increase the number of locomotives that we are able to refurbish from three, at our old workshops, to fifteen at any one time. The full property size at 50 883m², gives us a lot more room for future development. We are currently installing five of the eight intended railway lines into the workshop, and that’s before we start developing the rest of the site.”
Current refurbishments on the premises include twelve locomotives from Traxtion’s own fleet of 59 locomotives which will take nine months to refurbish. “All the key component parts have been procured and are in our store on the premises,” concludes James.
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