Rail News

South Africa’s Long-Distance Rail Network to be Fitted with Siemens Signaling

  • South Africa’s biggest rail signaling project to make Gauteng’s rail network safer and more efficient
  • Order is worth some 180 million euros

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has commissioned Siemens to provide new rail signaling systems and overall train protection systems for the regions surrounding Johannesburg and Pretoria (Gauteng Province). The order is worth a total of some 180 million euros. The signaling equipment will be installed during ongoing rail operations and is due to be completed by 2018.

“The Siemens solutions for infrastructure modernization make an important contribution to further consolidating the standing of the densely-populated Gauteng Province as one of South Africa’s leading trade and industry hubs” said Sami Atiya, CEO of the Siemens Mobility and Logistics Division. “The new train protection system not only increases capacity, but also ensures more flexibility, greater safety and fewer delays.”

Siemens to Install High Quality Signalling

To ensure continuously reliable management and monitoring of rail traffic in the province Gauteng, Siemens was given an order in 2011 to upgrade one-quarter of the obsolescent signalling systems and to build an operations control centre for the Gauteng Region. The order was worth 90 million euros. The new order now calls for the modernisation of the remaining three-quarters of that trackside signalling equipment. The operations control centre is scheduled to take over control of the entire rail network in Gauteng as of 2018. The modernization work will involve the installation of a total of 83 Trackguard Sicas S7 type interlockings. Siemens will also install its Clearguard ACM 200 axle counting system, a track vacancy detection system that determines whether line sections are clear or occupied and which plays a key element in fail-safe rail operation.

Covering an area of 18,000 square kilometers, Gauteng is the smallest but most densely populated province in South Africa. With the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, it forms the economic center of South Africa. It is responsible for generating around ten percent of Africa’s total GDP.

With around 25,000 km of track, South Africa’s railway network is the largest in Africa and the tenth largest in the world. Freight transport is a strong branch of the country’s economy, and one that relies almost exclusively on the rail network. Siemens had already been commissioned in South Africa by Transnet Freight Rail to equip the 860-kilometer-long Orex line with 22 Trackguard Sicas S7 interlockings. This rail link between the North and the West is reserved exclusively for the transport of iron ore and is currently the second longest freight line in the world.

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