Following heavy rain over the weekend and complex recovery processes, joint State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and industry teams managed to clear all 97 derailed wagons from the derailment site on its North Corridor by 08:15 on November 14.
The recovery and clean-up operation follows a train derailment in Nhlazatshe, near Ulundi, on November 8.
The clean-up was achieved almost 24 hours sooner than was initially anticipated when the recovery and clean-up work resumed in earnest on the evening of November 11.
TFR said in a statement that this “major feat” was only possible because of the collaborative efforts of a broad range of stakeholders, including Transnet’s customers and supply chain partners that provided the specialised heavy-duty equipment.
“The Department of Transport, our shareholder Minister – the Department of Public Enterprises, as well as the provinces of Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng granted emergency approvals for the transportation of the abnormal equipment,” TFR said.
Additionally, various policing departments, including the Traffic Department, Flying Squad and South African Police Services, supported the transportation of the heavy-duty equipment.
TFR’s North Corridor carries heavy haul coal, chrome and other commodities to Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.
TFR will be able to determine the extent of the damage and when normal train operations can begin once the derailment site has been completely cleared of the spilled coal and debris.
TFR said that the force majeure remains in place as the rail line is still closed.