Picture by Bukeka Silekwa

Durban - The South African Department of Transport (DOT) plan to turn the state of railways in the country around has begun with a visit to the Bayhead Wagon Maintenance Depot south of Durban on Thursday. 

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) have conducted an inspection of the depot. 

The inspection forms part of the Minister’s 100-Day Plan to turn the state of railways in the country around, underpinned by the principle of “kawuleza” to ensure safety in the rail environment.

Mbalula said that in line with the RSR’s Safety Permit Conformity Assessment Methodology (SPCAM), the inspection seeks to assess the condition of rolling stock against predetermined train pre-departure criteria in order to make informed decisions on whether the rolling stock is roadworthy.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula visits the Bayhead Wagon Maintenance Depot south of Durban. Picture: Bukeka Silekwa

The inspection will investigate the robustness and efficiency of the procedures as applied by Transnet for certifying their trains as ready for service and verify adherence of Transnet Freight Rail personnel to the set standards and procedures when performing these ready for service inspections.

Also to ensure enforcement of regulatory instruments where non-compliances are detected.

There are several important marshalling yards in KwaZulu- Natal. 

Minister Fikile Mbalula inspects equiment at the Bayhead Wagon Maintenance Depot south of Durban on Thursday. Picture:  Bukeka Silekwa

According to the DOT website the main marshalling yard for Durban is at Bayhead. 

This very large yard has north and south sections with further sub-divisions into five units. The north section alone comprises over 45 roads and is served by a hump to reduce shunting requirements. The Umbilo electric running shed is located adjacent to the yard on the north-east side, while the very large former PX shed is located on to the south-west of the north yard. Container trains use the Kings Rest yard and can by-pass the Bayhead yard for access. 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on a walkabout at the Bayhead Wagon Maintenance Depot on Thursday. Picture: Bukeka Silekwa

Other yards are in Kings Rest (Durban), Clairwood/Montclair, Cato Ridge, Masons Mill (Pietermaritzburg), Victoria (Pietermaritzburg) , Danskraal (Ladysmith), Newcastle, Vryheid East (Coal Line) , Empangeni, Coal Terminal (Richards Bay), Richards Bay Harbour Yard and Nseleni (Richards Bay) 

There are diesel maintenance facilities located at Wentworth (in Durban), Masons Mill (in Pietermaritzburg) and Nseleni near Richards Bay. They are described in the Maintenance of infrastructure and rolling stock section.

Video by Bukeka Silekwa

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