The GT26CU-3/Class 39-200 is the first new diesel-electric locomotive for South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail in 20 years. Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD) and Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE) have rolled out the first of these 3,000-thp (true horsepower, also called wheel horsepower) locomotives at TRE’s Koedoespoort, South Africa, plant. The balance of the 50-unit order is scheduled for delivery by the end of this year’s third quarter.
The units are being assembled, painted and tested at TRE by a joint labor force of EMD and TRE employees. The GT26CU-3 is equipped with a 3,000-thp EMD 16-645E3 16-cylinder engine, AR10-CA5 alternator, high voltage cabinet, and EM2000 microprocessor locomotive control system with FIRE™ (Functionally Integrated Railroad Electronics™) display system. Over 40% of the parts are sourced in South Africa; TRE is the main subcontractor on the project. Some of the major components being fabricated and supplied from South Africa include fuel tanks, cab structures, engine hoods, cooling hoods, underframe structures, truck frames, sand boxes, and equipment racks.
EMD says it has incorporated several new designs into the locomotive “to enhance driver comfort, safety, and maintainability. TRE has worked closely with the project team and technical team from EMD, giving TRE the skills to build a modern EMD locomotive in a production environment. The transfer of technology has come as a direct result of this project.”
In the past 40 years, EMD has delivered over 600 diesel-electric locomotives to Transnet Freight Rail. “We believe this is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between EMD and TRE in building or rebuilding locomotives and locomotive subassemblies,” said EMD Vice President International Sales and Service Albert Enste. “The success of the GT26CU-3 is vital to providing safe, reliable, cost-effective diesel freight locomotives for rail operators in the South African region that would otherwise not be able to replace older fleets that have become unreliable and, in some cases, unsupportable through obsolesce. Building these locomotives utilizes the combined efforts of EMD’s technology and TRE facility and resources, which will have long lasting benefits for both companies. EMD’s commitment to providing core components and technical assistance, the locomotive assembly provided at TRE, and the amount of locomotive content being sourced in South Africa will make locomotive maintenance and scheduled overhauls run smoothly, providing reliable service with minimal down time.”
Added EMD Vice President of South Africa Operations Steve Hoisington, “Feedback from drivers, operators, maintenance personnel, and ergonomics and safety experts have all been very favorable.”