I’ve decided to try a new feature on my blog called ‘My Take On It’. Every now and then – when the mood strikes me – I’ll be posting my opinion and views on various topics or items of interest on the railway. You are WELCOME to get involved and comment, discuss or even debate with me, baring in mind it’s all for good fun, so don’t take it too seriously!
I think a new relevant topic is Transnet Freight Rail’s newest Electric Locomotive – the Class 20E.
First a few facts about the loco, sourced from Wikipedia:
Destined for the ore line between Sishen and Port Elizabeth, the first ten Class 20Es were built in China by CSL Zhuzhou, a subsidiary of the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSL), China’s leading train manufacturer. There will be a total of 95 of which the remaining 85 will be built in South Africa.
As with the 14E/1s and 19Es, these locomotives will be duel voltage – 3kV DC and 25kV AC.
Interestingly, it seems that Transnet Freight Rail is moving away from electric locomotives with cabs on either end. Lately, the newest electric locos for TFR aren’t really visually appealing and look a little similar and the 20E is no exception.
I’m very interested in seeing how these locos perform. Anything from China normally carries a bad connotation. Also, there have been other instances where Chinese built locos have suffered from cracked frames, namely the diesels supplied to Namibia. There’s also he political aspect of course – as to why use the Chinese besides the fact that they’re cheaper.
I’m an optimistic person and I say let’s give these locos a chance, after all – when the stalwarts of locomotive and rolling stock manufacturers started out, I don’t believe they got it right every time. One thing that appeals to me is that – seemingly – the Chinese freely shared the designs and technology with South Africa, enabling them to assemble the locomotives locally. In a country that needs jobs, I think this is great.
The pictures are off of Wikipedia and by Jurie Steyn on Facebook, who kindly allowed me to use his photos of the loco at Pyramid South.
Well, that’s it for my first feature, would love to hear your thoughts and comments!