MegaProject 1031: Swaziland Rail Link gets green light
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Swaziland and South Africa have given green light to a railway line to be delivered as PPP.
The Swaziland Rail Link project (SRL) is a seamless project running across the two countries, which signed the project MoU in 2012. The project is collaboration between Transnet Freight Rail, a rail company that specializes in the transportation of freight with the South African government as its sole shareholder, and Swaziland Railway, the national railway corporation of Swaziland.
The two-country partnership will see the construction of a 150km railway line from Lothair (Mpumalanga) to Sidvokodvo (Swaziland).
The new line will be 50km long in South Africa and 100km in Swaziland and will also require the revamping of adjacent existing lines to align and provide support to the new link.
The project has been packaged as Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and the process of finding suitable partners is underway.
The project’s primary objective is to reduce rail and road traffic congestion based on a realistic and achievable system capacity. The outcome of a project of this magnitude will accommodate up to 26 tons/axle, 2.5km long/200 wagons trains and provide capacity for 12 trains per day. This will result in a dedicated General Freight Business Corridor for Transnet, while providing necessary additional capacity for Swaziland Railway.
This expansion will add to the current capacity of 12 trains of 81 wagons per day traversing both direction on the current Swaziland Railway Komatipoort-Golela Line, thereby doubling the traffic volumes.
Consequently, the Swaziland Rail Link project will increase capacity on general freight business, decongesting the coal line and unlocking capacity on the eastern mainline and the North-South Corridor.
The line has been designed to carry trains with 150 General Freight Business wagons and will operate seamlessly without stopping at the border.
This project has already created opportunities on both sides of the border of the two countries. Approximately 3,000 and 6,500 jobs will be created in South Africa and Swaziland respectively during construction of the railway line. Many more indirect job opportunities will be formed through the project.