The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) could push the localisation requirements for its R123-billion fleet renewal programme over the next 20 years higher, believes heavy engineering specialist DCD.
The company says Prasa’s current draft tender allocates R5.1-billion a year over the next decade to train sets – of which bogies form one part – subject to 40% local content by year three of the tender and 65% by year seven.
“Our new bogie demonstrates that we have the existing capability to manufacture train-set components with more than 40% local content immediately,” says DCD MD Rob King.
DCD has launched a new train bogie with 85% local content and with what it says are “strong performance advantages” compared with other bogies.
A bogie is the wheel chassis which supports the rail car/coach body.
King says DCD has made representations on the draft tender to the effect that Prasa’s minimum local content requirements are too low.
“The industry is already achieving more than 50% local content in manufacturing for existing Transnet tenders. We are hoping for Prasa’s final tender to reflect higher local content thresholds, more in line with the industry’s current ability.”
DCD’s new bolsterless suburban coach bogie was designed over four years, at a cost of R7-million, specifically for South African rail conditions.
DCD rolling stock and defence group executive director Carl Rehder says the research and development process referenced the latest international design and technology and then drew on the company’s own experience in the field.
DCD designed and built the Commonwealth bogies in use in South Africa today.
In terms of performance, DCD’s new bogie promises “to maximise speed and ride quality, while maintaining safety and containing noise levels in suburban areas”.
“Our new bogie also offers improved wear, enhanced maintenance, higher reliability and lower life-cycle costs,” notes King.
The company commissioned independent prototype testing through Transnet Freight Rail in March, which verified the bogie's performance.
“The independent testing showed that the new bogie substantially outperforms the Commonwealth bogie in use today and compares favourably with the Gautrain – the only new passenger train line – despite markedly worse track conditions,” says King.
The new bogie promises 40% less body lateral acceleration (smoother around turns), 50% less body vertical acceleration (smoother over bumps) and 20% lower bogie mass, at 5.1 t, than the Commonwealth bogie.
King is confident that DCD is ideally positioned to supply the new bogies to Prasa.
“In addition to our research and development expertise, DCD has the infrastructure, processes and capacity to create local jobs and use local materials to manufacture bogies right away, and to continue to deliver them over the next 20 years – the bogie’s natural life-span.”
King says the extensive research and development process has positioned the more-than-hundred-year-old DCD as a preferred partner to groups tendering for Prasa’s work.
“DCD has the capability to manufacture our own superior bogie with exceptionally high local content, as well as to manufacture in South Africa any bogie designed by a third party and boost its local content to meet Prasa’s requirements.”
DCD is already in discussion with a number of groups who will participate in the Prasa tender.