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Sub-Sectors | Rail | Overview | Contacts

The Rail sub sector is defined as the industry in which employers and employees are associated for:

  • The purpose of transportation of commuters using rail and is mandated to supply public transport within urban areas and between urban areas.
  • The control, management, accomplishment, maintenance and exploitation of railways and rail services;
  • The maintenance, servicing, repair overhaul and testing of locomotives and rolling stock.
  • The Provision of a Freight Logistic Solutions designed for customers in industry based business segments such as mining, heavy and light manufacturing.
  • The Development of containerised services where higher value products are transported on a contract or ad hoc basis. Although rail freight transport services include both the short and long haul destinations, it is generally accepted that the long distance market is more suited to rail transport.

The industry employs 50978 employees.

Major associations/authorities operating in the sub sector are:

  • Transport and Logistics Employers Association(TLEA)
  • Rail Road Association(RRA)
  • National Railway Safety Regulator (NRSR)

The following Unions represent employees in the Industry:

  • South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU)
  • United Transport Allied Trade Union (UTATU/SARHWU)

Capacity in the sector annually handles 176 million tons of rail freight, 194 million tons of freight through the ports, provides 467 million rail commuter trips. At the same time 15, 3 billion liquid fuels and 466 million cubic metres of gas are pumped through its pipelines. Transnet Rail Engineering is a specialist supplier to Transnet Freight Rail of refurbished locomotives, rolling stock and associated components with its annual production which includes the manufacture, conversion or upgrading of some 150 locomotives, 11000 rail wagons; 300 coaches and 52000 wheels. Plasserail is a manufacture of heavy on-track mechanised maintenance machinery. Plasserail has machines working across Southern Africa on the rail network of Transnet Freight Rail, SARCC Metrorail and various other private networks.

Capacities of this nature necessitate the development of critical rail-service related competences. In this regard the Rail Chamber provides the leverage to achieve these competences, by supporting and facilitating the implementation of relevant skills development initiatives within the sector.

Designated Trades for Artisan development:

  • Diesel Electrical Fitter
  • Electrical fitter
  • Electrician
  • Turner and Machinist
  • Blacksmith
  • Boilermaker
  • Welder (Rolling Stock)
  • Electrician (Armature Winding)
  • Plater
  • Fitter
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter and Turner (Rolling Stock)
  • Millwright
  • Motor Vehicle Body Repair
  • Patternmaker
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Toolmaker
  • Vehicle Builder
  • Wagon Fitter


  • National Diploma: Train Driving NQF4/5
  • National Certificate: Railway Signalling NQF2/3/4
  • National Certificate: Rail Operations (Functional Yard Official) NQF 3
  • National Certificate: Rail Operations (Train Control Officer) NQF 4
  • National Certificate: Diesel Electrical Fitter NQF 2
  • National Certificate: High Speed Inter-City Commuter Railway Operations NQF 4

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