Rocla Products Form Crucial Link in Sishen-Saldanha Railway Upgrade

Johannesburg – January 2010 – Rocla, the leading specialist in precast concrete infrastructural products and solutions in southern Africa, has contributed to the successful upgrade of the Sishen-Saldanha iron ore railway line by supplying pipes and culverts to assist with the drainage at various railway intersections.

The Sishen-Saldanha railway line is a single, heavy haul line built to carry export iron ore from Sishen in the Northern Cape to Saldanha in the Western Cape. The railway line upgrade project undertaken by Concor on behalf of Transnet, entailed building double lines at critical loops located at railway line intersections. This has resulted in a reduced delay time when trains have to cross each other and has relieved traffic blockages in various problem sections of the line.

Concor was contracted to deliver the earthworks, trackworks, overhead track equipment (OHTE) and drainage for the Sishen Saldanha project. Concor subsequently awarded Rocla the contract to supply SAR specification culverts to assist with the drainage at the intersections. Pipes were also supplied to assist with drainage within the loops. A special feature of the project is that Rocla custom-designed and produced concrete signal boxes to enable safe and low maintenance installation of computer systems.

All material was manufactured and supplied from Rocla’s De Aar factory. Andre Pienaar, Business Manager at Rocla’s De Aar factory says, “Our sales and technical teams worked tirelessly to ensure that all material was delivered timeously on site for installation during periodic 72-hour shut downs.

“We conducted site visits fortnightly to ensure the delivery plan was up to date and compared site progress with factory progress. The gravel road conditions proved to be a challenge, as most of the sites were far from the factory, but the cartage contractors delivered despite the challenges. In total, we delivered pipes and culverts for 14 loops on the Sishen-Saldanha railway line.”

Each SAR Portal Culvert, used primarily in stormwater drainage applications, consists of a deck and two legs and is placed on a concrete base. The culverts are used underneath rail road crossings to allow the water to move from one side of the railway line to the other. They are designed especially for use on railways, however, they can be used in any application to accommodate excessive fills.

Derek Brink, Site Agent at Concor, says, “Rocla partnered with us to deliver a customised solution based on the needs of the project. Rocla’s concrete signal boxes have added value by housing and protecting the computer systems, which ensures that the railway schedules and operational efficiency are maintained.”