Eskom’s Majuba rail project is expected to be completed by December 2017 the company said on Thursday.

Once commissioned, the security of coal supply through logistics solutions at the Majuba and Tutuka power stations will transport approximately 21 Mt of coal per year by rail.

The Majuba rail project is a component of the Eskom Road-to-Rail Initiative with the construction of a railway line that links the Majuba power station to the main coal railway hub in the town of Ermelo in Mpumalanga.

The 68 km corridor is the first large Greenfield freight-rail infrastructure project to be carried out in South Africa since 1986 and will be operated by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).

Aveng Grinaker-LTA’s civil engineering division was awarded the project in January 2013 with construction activities commencing in March 2013. The scope of work includes construction of the bulk earthworks, layer works, bridges and culverts with Aveng Rail accountable for the construction of the railway line and the overhead power lines.

Furthermore, Aveng Grinaker-LTA is responsible for all construction activities required to get the formation ready for the laying of sleepers and track, comprising of earthworks, layer works, drainage and concrete structures.

These include 1 064 000 m3 of layer works, 1 200 000 m3 of blasting in cuttings, 2 400 000 m3 unsuitable material spoiled and 2 800 000 m3 of bulk fill.

The structures and earthworks are 98.76% and 95.92% complete with 55% of formation ready for track laying. The majority of the site is handed over to Aveng Rail, who is installing the rails and with IRCON installing the overhead traction equipment lines and signalling.