Swaziland rail link 'making progress'

21 October 2011

The proposed rail link between Lothair, in Mpumalanga, and Swaziland is making progress, reports Engineering News Online.

The 'Western Link' project is expected to be completed soon and will assist Transnet Freight Rail (TRF) in easing congestion on the current line, which runs from Ermelo to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, by sending freight through Swaziland instead.

Stephenson Ngubane, director for operations and marketing for Swaziland Railway, said work to determine the route's best "natural line" is currently underway.

"After the feasibility study is completed, we would launch an environmental-impact study, which could take up to 18 months to complete," he added.

The state-owned TRF has also said that it has received 50 concession bids to operate around 3,350 km of disused branch railway lines in South Africa. A decision will be made as to which three companies win the contracts in December.

Logistic group Transnet recently announced plans to expand South Africa's Waterberg rail link so that it can carry up to 80 million tonnes of coal a year. 

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