“Recovery crews have made good progress towards restoring operations on the export coal line, following the disruption which occurred when two trains collided,” TFR said in a statement.
The incident occurred at Elubana, close to the key Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT).
“While the recovery efforts have been impacted by the persistent heavy rainfall in the region, TFR is hopeful that weather permitting, the last remaining debris will be removed overnight,” it added.
As such, the rail service is expected to resume before midnight on Thursday [South Africa time] on one of two affected lines and on the second on Saturday.
A spokeswoman for TFR told Montel “weather permitting” the lines would be operating at full capacity by midnight on Saturday.
South Africa exported around 62.5m tonnes of coal last year, with most loaded at RBCT and nearly 8m tonnes earmarked for European destinations.
Despite the incident, front-month European coal prices slumped to fresh six-month lows on Wednesday of USD 100.20/t, amid ample supply and sluggish demand.