Transnet has brushed off media criticism of its new CRRC trains, saying that technical glitches in new prototypes are not unusual.
Earlier this week, a News24 exclusive story claimed that the two prototypes, from a fleet of 20, are “plagued” with technical problems.
“News24 can reveal that the alternators of the first two diesel locomotives delivered to Transnet by CRRC Corporation, China's state-owned rail behemoth, posed serious problems soon after they arrived in South Africa last year, rendering the locomotives unable to operate,” says the article.
Transnet has responded to the claims, saying that the two trains have merely experienced “glitches”, which have already been attended to by the manufacturer.
“It is only once a locomotive is tested and accepted that it becomes part of the normal fleet,” it says. “Transnet made it a condition that the 18 locomotives in China be checked for the glitches before being shipped to South Africa.”
Emphasising that this process is par for the course, Transnet continues to assure the public that every train goes through testing, and that it currently runs many Chinese trains around the country, “and they run excellently”.
“Discovery of technical glitches is no indication of poor workmanship, engineering or design,” it notes. “In line with our standard engineering and commissioning processes regarding specialised equipment, a team of experts from engineering and operations is headed to China to do initial tests and discuss our observations of the locos for testing.”
The rail authority has slammed media ‘mischief’ and ‘misinterpretations’, saying that a standard testing process has been twisted into a means to cast “aspersions” on its image and integrity.