Prasa locomotive reports 'misleading'

WEB_PHOTO_PRASA_13072015

File: In July last year, the company was ordered to pay back R2.6 billion to Prasa.

PRETORIA – The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) insists media reports on its Spanish-manufactured Afro 4000 diesel locomotives were incorrect and misleading.

On Monday, Prasa Rail chief executive Mosenngwa Mofi told reporters in Pretoria that the gap between the minimum contact wire and the roof of the locomotives exceeded the 150mm prescribed in safety regulations.

“The allegations in yesterday’s Rapport and City Press are a sequel to a rather factually inaccurate article that was published in Rapport on July 5, 2015,” said Mofi.

“Prasa views this continued attack and misinformation in a rather serious light as it is aimed at undermining a very important investment to improve the transport system and change the travelling experience of South Africans forever.”

He said the locomotives “fully comply” with applicable safety standards.

“Prasa wishes to reiterate its firm view that the gap between the minimum contact wire and the roof of the locomotive far exceeds the minimum acceptable clearance height of 150mm as prescribed and therefore (it’s) safe for operating under electrical contact wire with a minimum height of 4,5m,” he said.

Mofi said the newspaper articles failed to acknowledge that Prasa had been granted permission by Transnet to test the locomotives on its 25 kilovolts and non-electrical lines.

“Indeed there has been a professional and robust and technical exchanges between Prasa and Transnet in relation to the testing of the Afro 4000 in the 3 kilovolts lines, which are not key for Afro 4000’s deployment plan. These discussions are ongoing and are aimed at finding a solution to this matter,” said Mofi.

“These articles concerned demonstrate a lack of understanding of the detailed, rigorous, elaborate and often contentious engagements that accompany design review processes.”

He said the Afro 4000 diesel locomotives were primarily aimed at operating on non-electrified lines.

Mofi said Prasa had been granted permission for testing and commissioning by the Railway Safety Regulator.