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Transnet Engineering’s Wagon Business

As the dominant new wagon builder in Africa, Transnet Engineering's Wagons Business is the major supplier to the 10,000 strong heavy-haul coal and iron ore fleets in South Africa.

Other wagon types supplied are cement, car carriers, intermodal and various type tank wagons. The organisation has an extensive network of strategically positioned factories and in-service depots and refurbishes and maintains wagons, including heavy overhauls, conversions, upgrades, accident repairs and essential life-cycle interventions. The wagon business also refurbishes and upgrades bogies to achieve higher axle loads and to match different track gauges. The Business' capacity is sufficient for ongoing maintenance of a fleet of 75,000 freight wagons and the manufacture of 1,500 new wagons a year.

In fact, Transnet Engineering has built among the heaviest and longest trains in the world with tare ratios of 5:1.

Some examples of the Wagons Business' various wagon designs are:

      • The 104 ton, monocoque design gondola tippler coal wagon with a 4.2:1 tare ratio

      • The 120 ton tippler iron ore wagon with a 5:1 payload tare ratio

      • The 120 ton bottom discharge iron ore wagon

      • Oil tank wagons with internal heating

      • Cement tank wagons for pneumatic discharge.

      • CR10 wagons for TFR general freight division for the transportation of manganese and cement clinkers

      • Tilt wagons for the transportation of heavy rail turnouts used in the building and upgrading of rail tracks.

The wagon business also manufactures, maintains and refurbishes wagons for various African countries and has had many successes across the continent.

Building high speed, self-steering bogies

Transnet Engineering is also credited with the design of the high-¬speed, self steering freight bogie. This unit was developed in South Africa and is internationally respected for exceptional performance in heavy haul applications. With its superior wheel life, reduced rail and track wear and increased trailing load per unit of tractive effort, the design is popular worldwide for heavy haul wagons.

Part of the Business's success lies in a superb technological competence in three crucial areas bogies, welding processes and brakes.

Complementing the its world class engineering designs are the materials used to produce the quality wagons. All coal wagons are built using 3CR12, a South African corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Iron ore wagons are offered in 3CR12 or Corten steel, depending on specific requirements.

The design team makes use of the latest design software. Designs are tested by making use of finite element analysis and physical design verification testing on prototypes is standard practice.




Recent Achievements include:

In the domestic and regional markets, Wagon Build has the highest relative market share as supplier of the COALlink and Orex wagon fleets totalling 8000 wagons as well as the supply of cement and fuel tanker wagons to the region.

On the international front, Wagon Build designs, develops and successfully commissions wagons in countries on the African Continent and overseas.

This work is done in collaboration with Transnet Engineering's Engineering Design and other design teams.




Strides in technology in the Coach Business have resulted in:

The Business is engaged in a technology upgrade programme to modernize machines by installing the latest computerized numeric control for profiling and laser optics for measuring.


Wagon’s business’s solid reputation in Africa and Europe has been built from the development of technical sound wagon solutions for mining and rail transport industries.

Recently TE manufactured its first new 74000 litre capacity ammonia tank wagon an accomplishment of considerable technical skill.