South Africa’s Transnet is celebrating the completion of the first phase of capacity enhancement works on its Waterberg to Richards Bay coal line.
A 1.8-kilometre passing loop has been constructed at Matlabas, increasing capacity and reducing disruption on the route.
Announcing the completion of phase one, Transnet said it had significantly increased the capacity of the line. Where it could transport 400,000 tonnes of coal a year before, it can now move two million tonnes.
Although there had already been a passing loop at Matlabas, it could only accommodate trains of 50 wagons. The new loop can sit 100-wagon trains, allowing Transnet to increase service frequencies from two trains a week to five trains a week. Transnet has said it could be possible to run a train a day in future.
The passing loop at Matlabas is the first of five phases being delivered under a seven-year, R21.8 billion scheme to increase the capacity of the Waterberg line.
The subsequent stages of the project will include another passing loop at Thabazimbi and the creation of double-track sections by connecting passing loops at Bleskop and Norite, and Dam and Onderstepoort.
Once the second stage is complete, capacity will increase from two million tonnes to six million tonnes per year.