African Rail & Traction Services (Pty) Ltd (AR&TS) has completed the refurbishment of the final two of four GE U20C locomotives for Caminhos de Ferro de Luanda (CFL), part of the Angolan state railway system.
The locomotives due for refurbishment were shipped from Luanda via the port of Durban. Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) then hauled the locos through Swaziland to reach their final destination at the AR&TS workshops in Pretoria West. It was arranged that the locomotives arrived in sets of two, with one runner and one non-runner in each set. The work was then divided into phases, with phase one refurbishing a non-runner together with a runner locomotive, leaving the other set for phase two of the project. This resulted in two locomotives being returned to service in the best possible time frame.
All four locomotives underwent a total refurbishment, including a complete engine rebuild. Some modifications were included in the refurbishment process based on the lease fleet, which AR&TS owns and maintains. AR&TS runs similar locomotives in their lease fleet and are well versed in the maintenance thereof. In line with this, the fuel injection pumps and injectors were upgraded to a larger system, a new dual exhaust system was fitted, the wheel slip system was upgraded and an air-conditioning unit was installed in the cab. Accident damage where applicable has been repaired on all of the locos and missing commodities replaced.
The rewired and overhauled locomotives have been tested and all warranties are provided with their workmanship. "We strip and rebuild the entire locomotive so that the customer takes delivery of a unit that is good for another 15 years. AR&TS also provides support with technicians and training in their refurbishment contracts," says Francois Barnard director AR&TS.
One has to take into consideration that these locomotives are already 40 years old and, as seen with South Africa’s rolling stock, with good maintenance and refurbishment they will continue to provide many more years of service.
"CFL’s Chief Engineer, the company’s procurement team and their artisans and inspectors have visited AR&TS on a regular basis to inspect the locomotives. They have worked side-by-side with our team, as the locomotives were being overhauled and refurbished. Our team will also accompany the locomotives during the hand-over and commissioning." concludes Barnard.