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African Rail & Traction Services locomotive no.034. African Rail & Traction Services Pty.Ltd. is a South African company specialising in the rental and sales and repair works of locomotives and also training in how to use them. The company is based in Pretoria, South Africa. It is a sister company of the Surtees Railway Supplies based in Johannesburg and has been servicing the Southern African railway industry since 1950.
This locomotive is a former South African Railways class 34-900 built by General Electric as GE U26C sometime in the 1980s. There are no proper listings or pictures of the locomotives of AR&TS available, only sporadic photos with no proper explanations.
Picture from Lüderitz, Namibia 1.12.2022 by Vesa Kailanen.


The same African Rail & Traction Services locomotive no.034 as shown above, but slightly from another angle.
Picture from Lüderitz, Namibia 1.12.2022 by Vesa Kailanen.


The small station of Lüderitz in Namibia. Lüderitz or formerly Lüderitzbucht is a harbour town in the south of Namibia with about 12 500 inhabitants. It was named after Adolf Lüderitz, a German tobacco merchant who landed in the area in 1883.
In the background the same AT&TS locomotive as shown above.
Picture from Lüderitz, Namibia 1.12.2022 by Vesa Kailanen.


A cargo train seen from far away in the Namibian desert landscape. The story of this rather special looking locomotive is interesting. Such a machine has not been published to exist either in South Africa or Namibia. After quite some online detective work it turned out that this is one of twenty-something modern locomotives that the South African locomotive leasing company Grindrod had purchased and had leased under a long term contract to Sierra Leone to work there in and around the Tonkilili mine. They are originally class 2170 locomotives designed for Queensland Railways. But the economy went sour and the mining company in Sierra Leone stopped working in 2017 and couldn't pay their leasing fees any more. Grindrod was able in a very complex and several months taking effort to recover their 24 locomotives of this type. Basically the mine was in such a forest that it could not be reached either via railroad, road or even with a ship big enough to carry such heavy locomotives, so they were logged through the forests mainly over roads that had to first be covered by steel plates to make them strong enough. Now a part of them are working in Namibia and most of them for various companies in South Africa.
Picture from the desert near the Namibian-South African border but from the Namibian side 30.11.2022 by Vesa Kailanen.

TransNamib / Traxtion


The Namibian state owned rail cargo company TransNamib almost went bankrupt in 2017, but now they continue again, but by using leased rather than owned trains. This locomotive is owned by the South African company group Traxtion (former names Traxtion Sheltam or Sheltam Group) but it is here running cargo trains for TransNamib. TransNamib leased four similar locomotives from Traxtion in 2017-18. This locomotive is a former South African class 34 machine built in the 1970s.
Picture from the South African - Namibian border at Nakop 30.11.2022 by Vesa Kailanen.
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