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South Africa’s first locally engineered locomotive has today been unveiled in Pretoria.
The Trans African Locomotive, or TAL2001, “is the first ever train that has been designed, engineered and manufactured locally by the State-Owned Entity, Transnet, which will serve the African continent,” the SA government writes in a press release.
— Railways Africa (@RailwaysAfrica) April 4, 2017
Government officials including President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown launched the locomotive, and also hitched a ride on it at its launch in Pretoria on Tuesday.
— South African Gov (@GovernmentZA) April 4, 2017
Transnet designed the “original underframe, superstructure, bogies, body and locomotive control system”, but not everything was designed in South Africa. The locomotive’s diesel power unit is provided by Rolls-Royce. Nevertheless, the heavy load-bearing design is intended to brave the harsh expanses of the African continent.
And that’s Transnet’s overall plan — becoming Africa’s rail manufacturing industry “champion”.
This is the first locomotive to be designed and manufactured in South Africa by Transnet
“The prospective socio-economic spin-offs of the project are crucial in enabling government to address the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country, in line with the National Development Plan and Vision 2030,” the SA government adds.
A number of Twitter users also celebrated the development, praising the country that’s “alive with possibilities”.
#Transnet thanks a million south Africa is alive with possibilities
— Botlalo (@dionbotlalo) April 4, 2017
— MondeJoka (@MondeJoka) April 4, 2017
We’ve reached out to the relevant South African government officials for more details on Transnet TAL 2001’s technical features, manufacturing plans, and further comment regarding availability. We’ll update this piece accordingly if, or when, we receive a reply.
Feature image: GovernmentZA via Twitter (resized)