The railway renaissance

South Africa has more than 20 000km of railway track, connecting all of our major cities.

Outdated technology and insufficient funding, among other factors, have hampered

the massive potential of our railways to improve our transport system and benefi t the economy.

The railway renaissance But a railway revolution is underway.

Signifi cant infrastructure developments, comprehensive new policies

The railway renaissance and buy-in from both the public and private sectors all point to a bright future for South Africa’s freight and passenger rail.

The need for railway revitalisation Government has recognised the need to capitalise on the golden opportunities offered by the railway system.

Rail has the potential to reduce road pressure, improve the effi ciency of freight

and passenger transport, boost our investment potential and strengthen the economy.

South Africa’s extensive railway system contributed greatly to the country’s formative development.

 But the system has steadily become outdated and unsustainable, while road transport has thrived.

Although there have been several notable highlights, today only half of the railway tracks are in use.

Investments are currently strongly biased towards roads, while congestion from truck traffic is taking its toll.

 Meanwhile, the global railway industry has been continually reinventing itself to realise the signifi – cant benefi ts of rail.

These benefi ts include the potential to meet international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will require increasing rail traffi c by multiple times.

The goal of railway revitalisation can only be achieved by overcoming the current challenges facing the industry.

Government, along with the state-owned entities – Transnet and the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa (PRASA) – operating the railway systems,

have over the past decade been placing major emphasis on this goal.

Freight rail Transnet, which is responsible for freight rail transport, made infrastructure investments of R21.8 billion in the 2017/18 fi nancial year,

the vast majority of which (R16.4 billion) was invested in the rail and ports divisions.

Transnet Freight Rail moved an all-time record of 77 million tonnes of export coal,

while the freight transport of other commodities also increased by double digit percentages.

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Author: ปราณี