Harare (New Ziana) –The National Railways of Zimbabwe is converting its diesel electric locomotives into mainline ones as a way of increasing its pulling capacity, an official has said.
NRZ acting public relations manager Martin Banda said the parastatal recently re-engined its diesel electric (DE6) locomotives and converted two of them to reduce the costs of hiring.
“Now we have enhanced their pulling capacity and distances to be covered,” he said.
Banda said the enhancement entailed converting the DE6’s with Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) which is a transition gear that enables them to switch speeds, thus making them run long distances at an alternating speed with more load.
He said this made them different to the normal D6 models, which are mostly used for shunting purposes only in NRZ yards because they have a constant speed.
Due to power outages and challenges associated with electricity and electric trains, the NRZ in its growth phase, intends to re-look, re-imagine and re-invent the new electric system in order to adapt, he said.
“We believe that the only way for us and our clients to remain competitive on the global market and for us to maintain our competitive advantage of cost leadership is to continue to explore new ideas, methods and devices,” he said.
Banda lamented the vandalism of NRZ infrastructure, which has cost the parastatal large sums of money to replace stolen cables and other equipment.
He urged Parliament to review upwards the mandatory jail term for vandalising NRZ infrastructure as the 10 years did not appear to be deterrent enough.
“We urge the legislature to review the law and increase the mandatory jail term and also to align it to the Railway Act, as vandalism and cable thieves are risking lives and the economy of the country with their actions,” he said.
“Furthermore, we appeal for the scrapping of bail as offenders once granted bail abscond and disappear without trace.”
Banda said the NRZ Loss and Security Unit had a good working relationship with other security agencies such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, ZESA and TelOne in fighting vandalism and theft.