GE has commenced production of its “most African” locomotives. Once completed, the 233 GE Evolution Series locomotives will have 55% local content, making them the “most African” locomotives of their kind.
In March 2014, Transnet announced an agreement to purchase 1,064 locomotives from four original equipment manufacturers, including GE. GE was awarded a contract to build 233 diesel locomotives as part of this agreement. Approval to begin local manufacturing was granted following delivery of the first six Evolution Series locomotives, which were manufactured by GE in the United States. Those locomotives will act as blueprints for the remaining 227 locally-built locomotives that GE will deliver as part of Transnet’s locomotive fleet renewal programme.
“We are building these world-class locomotives here in South Africa because we are committed to growing the local supply chain, and establishing South Africa as the rolling stock hub for the continent,” says Thomas Konditi, President and CEO of GE Transportation Africa.
“Over the past six years, we have developed relationships with some of the best local suppliers in the industry. Booyco, based in Germiston, is building the air-conditioner for the locomotive’s main cab. Duys, with the head office in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, but with branches across South Africa, is manufacturing the fuel tank. There are many other companies that we are honoured to partner with in building what will be our “most African” locomotive.”
Transnet Engineering will be manufacturing and assembling the platform, traction motors, bogies and alternators at its facility in Pretoria. Wabtec South Africa, based in Kempton Park, will manufacture the radiators for the locomotives. The local manufacturing of content supports local industry through the creation of jobs and the revitalisation of the rail industry.
“This project illustrates the potential of business partnerships between our two countries. Like 600 other American companies operating in South Africa, GE is making a long-term investment in the country,” says US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick H Gaspard. “GE is protecting 9,000 jobs, creating 5,000 new jobs, and providing more than 100,000 hours of training for South Africa’s next generation of engineers. The company is making these contributions while providing one of the world’s most advanced locomotives, improving South Africa’s competitiveness and driving exports for both of our countries. We are proud that this American company is contributing to economic growth and greater prosperity in South Africa.”
About the Evolution Series
Powered by GE Transportation’s 12-cylinder diesel engine, the Evolution Series Engine produces 4,200ghp. This 45-degree, 12-cylinder, 4-stroke, turbocharged engine provides efficiency, fewer emissions and extended overhaul intervals. The engine uses enhanced cooling and higher-strength materials to dramatically improve reliability and allow for future increases in power and efficiency.
The Evolution Series locomotive represents one of GE’s most prominent EcomaginationTM products. Ecomagination is GE’s commitment to build innovative products that maximise environmental and economic impact. Products with GE’s EcomaginationTM designation undergo a rigorous process to prove they measurably help customers’ performance and bottom lines, while simultaneously improving their environmental performance.