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Sidvokodvo to Phuzumoya upgrade, Swaziland Railway system

Upgrade of the section from Sidvokodvo to Phuzumoya, Swaziland | JG Afrika

Swaziland Railway (SR) appointed the local consulting engineer ED Simelane & Associates (EDS) in association with the specialist railway design consultant, JG Afrika, for the feasibility study of the upgrade of the section from Sidvokodvo to Phuzumoya of the Swaziland Railway system, a distance of some 35 km.

Estimated Project Value: 101,000,000 USD
Project Duration: December 2014 – May 2015 (FEL-3 Feasibility Study)

The project entailed the existing railway line formation, inclusive of the pavement layers, and railway track geometry (predominantly gradients and curvature) to be upgraded to a 26 Ton Axle Load (TAL) capacity (for the operation of train consists of 150 GFB or 200 CCL type coal wagons for conveyance of 12 Mtpa utilising distributed power (DP)), whilst the railway track structure was to be designed to heavy haul railway standards, but initially built to a 20 TAL standard.

The overall purpose of this FEL-3 feasibility level study was to refine and optimise the upgrade of the existing railway alignment as proposed in the FEL-2 level report, costing and concept engineering, with a view to provide a more accurate degree of detail on which to base the decision to proceed with implementation of FEL-4 execution phase of the Swaziland Rail Link – Work Package 4 (WP4).

The outcome of this FEL-3 study is a final plan for upgrade of the horizontal and vertical railway geometric alignment, associated bulk earthworks, level crossing eliminations and replacement of existing steel Armco culverts together with cost estimates to an accuracy level of -10% to +15%.

Project Highlights

Combining the local and international best practices and experience, the consortium proved to be a successful combination in terms of project delivery and timelines. JG Afrika was also able to bring local railway design experience and practicality, in terms of constructability, into the design phase.
The ability of the team to provide inputs into all aspects of the deliverables in terms of railway – structural – civil engineering, environmental, risk and health & safety consultancy functions, proved invaluable to the Client.

JG Afrika went on to make final presentations to the management of SR covering all aspects of the project, once again proving JG Afrika’s commitment and involvement in the project.

Scope of Services Provided

The Scope of work involved JG Afrika providing the following services: Engineering design development of the railway system to an Fel-3 feasibility level of study, inclusive of extending Holomi Crossing Loop and Phuzumoya West Yard – bulk earthworks, railway formation; railway track structure, level-crossings, new service roads and deviations, formation drainage| Elimination of at-grade crossings | Preparation of technical specifications and Bills of Quantities for bulk earthworks, railway formation, railway trackwork, road works, major bridge and culvert structures, drainage culverts | Management of survey specifications | Geotechnical interpretative reporting | Reports on railway trackwork, operations, construction management, environmental design criteria, sustainability design criteria, cost estimate report, risk management and health & safety plan.

Concluding Remarks

The operational aims of WP4 FEL-3 optimisation were to improve line speeds along the existing horizontal railway alignment, through the reduction of any speed restrictions due to gradient and curvature (allowing faster train movements along the railway corridor as a whole) and to fully appreciate and harness the capabilities of the DP train.

JG Afrika achieved this aim successfully within the desired timeframes. Further funding is being sourced to continue with the subsequent phase to this project.