Railway Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering

About us

Three pillars of support:

Design and manufacture: We provide support in component design, specification and manufacturing

Maintenance and condition monitoring: We provide support in maintenance processes, maintenance planning and condition monitoring

Failure analysis: We provide top class failure analysis support with a few to component improvement, increased safety and lower costs

Who are we?

Johan ( J J ) Marais Pr Eng

  • Professional Engineer ( [reg. no. 870493])
  • BSc(Metallurgy), BSc(Hons)(Metallurgy), MSc(Metallurgy)
  • National Technical Diploma (Mechanical)

Johan has over 40 years experience in Materials Engineering, Technology Management and Asset Management in South Africa and Australia. He has extensive experience in heavy engineering systems in transport and materials handling systems in the Railway and Mining environments. He has published more than 30 papers and presented papers at major international forums. He was also Chairman of the Technical Committee for the 16th International Wheelset Congress 2010 in South Africa

Johan held lead engineering and management roles at Transnet ( he headed the Technology Management sections of Railway Wheelsets, Rail Metallurgy, Materials Engineering as well as a Metallurgical Laboratory for more than 15 years. As Principal Engineer he was, among other responsibilities, responsible for specifications for the purchase and maintenance of large engineering systems and for the provision of solutions to a wide range of transport industries within the company. He did a stint employed as Senior Metallurgist at PearlStreet in Welshpool (now ALS Global, Canning Vale), WA, where he got hands-on experience of the technical challenges faced in the energy, oil exploration and mining sectors in Australia.
Johan has been closely involved in service to railways in Australia since 2007.
His main thrust was in the analysis of railway component performance and improvement.

He also concentrated on the application of condition monitoring systems to ensure safe and efficient operations. This included the analysis of failures and recommendations for improved design, operations and condition monitoring systems and analysis methodology.
Johan is responsible for the overall development of MCE with focus on project procurement, technology solution offerings and leading MCE’s innovation.


Some literature references


  • New heavy haul rail journal bearing design &Laboratory/field testing, IHHA Conference in Perth, June 2015
    (Joint author with Alan D Buchanan, Ryan Pump, Romain Saporito, Suresh Kumar)
  • Re-engineering locomotive wheelset gearwheel resilient bushes, 16th International Wheelset Congress, 14 to 19 March 2010, Cape Town, South Africa,
    (Joint author with K Mistry and L de Cruz.)
  • TRAIN HEALTH MONITORING - BEYOND THE ALARMS, Presented to the Southern African Section of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers at Johannesburg on 17 March 2005
  • An Overview of Railroad Wheel Rim Failure Modes under Heavy Axle Loads,, 14th International Wheelset Congress, 17-21 October 2004 , Orlando, USA
    (Joint author with J. S. van der Walt)
  • "Rail integrity management by means of ultrasonic testing", Fatigue & Fracture of Engineering Materials & Structures,
    Volume 26 Page 931 - October 2003
    (Joint author with KC Mistry)
  • “Initial Field Experiences with the Trackside Acoustic Detection System”, May 2003, International Heavy Haul Association Specialist Technical Session, Texas, USA
    - Gerald Anderson - TTCI, USA, Johan Marais - Spoornet-Railway Engineering, South Africa, & Anthony Austen - Queensland Railways, Australia –
  • "Wheel-rail interaction as experienced on LKAB iron ore wagons", 2003 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington DC, January 2003
    Joint author with HM Tournay, RD Fröhling, JM Mulder, U Lindstrom, T Karlsson
  • "Assessment of flaws in railway wheel bores", 13th International Wheelset Congress, Rome, Italy, 2001
  • "Developing wheelsets for 30 tonne axleloads", Railway Gazette International, September 2001
    (Joint author with Roger Lundén and Stefan Schrader.
  • “Effects of imperfections on fatigue initiation in railway wheels.” ,IMechE Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, vol 214, no. F1, 2000, pp 45-54
    (Joint author with Anders Ekberg)
  • "Wheel failures on heavy haul freight wheels due to subsurface defects", 12th International Wheelset Congress, Qingdao, China, 1998
  • “The development of an integrated train condition monitoring system”, World Congress on Railway Research, Florence, Italy, 1997
  • "Spoornet moves to automate train health monitoring", Railway Gazette International, April 1997.
  • “Managing wheelsets in Spoornet”, UIC User-Producer Interaction Programme – Rolling Stock Technology, Teheran, Iran, 1996.
  • “Thermal fatigue of steel tyres on urban railway systems”, International Journal of Fatigue, Vol. 17, No. 7, 1995.
    (Joint author with P. G. H. Pistorius)
  • "Thermal fatigue of steel tires on urban railway systems", 4th International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems, Vancouver, Canada, 1994.
    (Joint author with P. G. H. Pistorius)
  • "Performance of F-couplers on unit coal trains", Railways Africa, April/May 1993,
    (Joint author with P. H. Smit, J. W. Singer and C. Teunissen).
  • "Rails and Rail Steels", Permanent Way Institute, Rail track conference, Elephant Hills Hotel, Zimbabwe, 1992.
  • “The use of the local strain approach in the evaluation of the fatigue properties of a component”, MSc(Metallurgy) thesis, University of Pretoria, 1990
  • "Failure analysis of JT9-7R4 jet engine fan blade", Fracture 89, World Trade Centre, Johannesburg, 1989. (Engines were mounted on Boeing 747s at the time)


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