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GE Transportation to Supply 100 Locomotives to Transnet in South Africa; First AC Diesel Electric Locomotive to Sub-Saharan Africa

GE South African Technologies (GESAT), GE Transportation’s entity in South Africa, will supply 100 locomotives to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR). The GE C30ACi, the first AC diesel electric locomotive to be introduced to sub-Saharan Africa, will have a GE FDL engine that delivers 3,300 gross horsepower (GHP) using an electronic fuel-injection (EFI) system that automatically supplies the exact amount of fuel needed for optimal engine efficiency. The locomotives will also feature GE’s AC propulsion technology and dynamic braking.

TFR is South Africa’s state-owned rail freight logistics utility; Transnet Limited is its parent company. Ten of the locomotives will be manufactured in Erie and Grove City, USA and 90 will be manufactured locally at Transnet Rail Engineering’s site in South Africa with kits provided by GE Transportation.

The first locomotives and kits are scheduled to be delivered in early 2011; locomotive assembly in country, with kits from Erie and engines from Grove City, should begin at the end of 2010.

In December 2008, GE Transportation had signed an agreement with one of South Africa’s foremost Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) companies, Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC), to establish the subsidiary GE South Africa Technologies (Pty) Limited (GESAT), allowing the company to more actively participate in South Africa’s rail industry.

GE Transportation has an installed base of some 1,200 GE locomotives in Africa including approximately 900 in South Africa. In 2008, GE Transportation took South Africa’s Western Cape Orex line to the next level with the longest production train in the world, made possible through the LOCOTROL technology solution. This distributed power system—a first in South Africa—allows longer, safer trains on the critical Western Cape Saldanha Bay iron ore export line.

Orex is the only heavy-haul iron-ore railway line in South Africa and the second-longest iron-ore railway line in the world at some 861 kilometers (535 miles). It feeds the port of Saldanha Bay, for export to a global market. Until now, the carrying capacity of the line itself has been a major barrier to increasing economy-boosting iron ore exports.

Brazil. Earlier in December, GE Transportation also announced it had signed an agreement with America Latina Logistica (ALL) to deliver 10 new AC44i locomotives in 2009 for freight transport. ALL operates the largest independent general cargo railway in South America with a fleet of more than 1,000 locomotives and 21,000 km of railways connecting Brazil and Argentina.

The Model AC44i also feature the FDL engines and GE’s unique AC individual-axle traction-control technology that enables the Model AC44i to haul heavier loads by significantly reducing slippage on start-ups, inclines and suboptimal track conditions. Model AC44i locomotives also are equipped with dynamic braking in addition to air brakes to provide smoother handling when hauling heavier loads.

The Model AC44i locomotives will be built by GE Transportation South America, GE Transportation’s affiliate facility located in Contagem, Brazil. GE Transportation South America has built diesel electric locomotives including AC44, Dash 9 and the C Series in Brazil since 1967, and has produced more than 1,000 locomotives that are operating in more than 15 countries around the world.


Henry Gibson

It it too bad that the hybrid locomotives with ZEBRA type batteries are not ready for market. ..HG..

Stan Peterson


The first HEV-categorized, hybrid diesel-electric locomotives are close to being ready for initial delivery. Already announced, they can decrease fuel consumption while providing added instantaneous power for starting and grade climbing. Technological progress is incremental but it is additive.

I am as anxious to see the toxic emissions reduced under th Tier IV regulations pushed through in the Bush Administration, now that diesel cleanup technology has been developed for the automotive industry.

A single locomotive can pollute as much as 10,000-100,000 cars, so adoption of 'clean diesel' technology by the Railroads is as urgent as its use for diesel trucks.

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