More SGR locomotives, coaches arrive

DAR ES SALAAM: THE realisation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) vision is drawing near, as the Tanzania Railway Corporation has received three electric locomotive engines and 27 brand-new passenger coaches.

With this delivery, there are now four locomotive engines and 56 coaches, clearing the stage for the modern railway service’s seamless operations.

Crafted by South Korean-based Sung Shin Rolling Stock Technology (SSRST), the passenger coaches and the electric locomotives, designed by Hyundai Rotem Company (HRC), were officially received in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

TRC planned to purchase 59 passenger coaches and 17 locomotives, as part of its strategic procurement plan. The final three coaches are scheduled to arrive in Tanzania in February 2024.

Speaking on the occasion, TRC Acting Director General, Engineer Machibya Masanja, said the newly acquired locomotives boast an impressive speed of 160 kilometres per hour, setting the stage for swift and efficient rail transport across the nation.

“The 27 coaches, meticulously designed to international standards, include 13 in the business class, accommodating 45 passengers each, and 14 in the economy class, with a capacity of 78 passengers per coach. This detailed planning ensures a comfortable and secure travel experience for passengers in both classes.” Eng Masanja said.

Eng Masanja further said as the TRC continues to receive essential components for the SGR, a rigorous testing exercise is underway to ensure seamless compatibility with the country’s infrastructure systems.

“This approach aligns with contractual obligations and guarantees that all tools and equipment meet international standards before the commencement of commercial operations,” he explained.

The TRC official further said the infusion of cutting-edge technology into Tanzania’s railway network signifies a leap towards a more efficient, safer, and globally competitive transportation system.

Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) workers, in collaboration with Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) staff, load one of the locomotive engines out of three onto a transport truck after being offloaded from the cargo ship at Dar es Salaam port yesterday. (Photo by Venance Nestory)

He said the nation eagerly awaits the complete integration of these new locomotives and coaches into its rail services, marking a transformative chapter in its transportation history.

Eng Masanja also outlined the timeline for the upcoming additions, disclosing that the outstanding 13 locomotives are slated to arrive in two phases, with six expected in March while the remaining seven are set to reach Tanzanian shores in April 2024.

“A highlight of the anticipated upgrades is the arrival of the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) sets, scheduled to begin in March 2024. The EMU sets will be delivered in batches, with 10 in March, two each in May, June and July and a final duo in September, concluding the sequence in October 2024,” Eng Machibya noted.

By September 2023, the SGR Dar es Salaam – Morogoro lot had reached 98.6 per cent, Morogoro – Makutupora had reached 95.41 per cent, Makutupora – Tabora had reached 12.32 per cent, Tabora – Isaka had reached 5.02 per cent and Mwanza – Isaka had reached 41.95 per cent.

TRC received six double-decker coaches in June this year for SGR, the coaches are among 30 being repaired by Lückemeier Transport & Logistik GmbH of Germany. In November last year, the first batch of 14 coaches was also delivered by SSRST.

As the construction of SGR’s first lot from Dar es Salaam – Morogoro is nearly complete, 303 TRC executives are being trained in Information Technology systems, business models, maintenance, marshalling, logistics, operations and safety.

The training is conducted by Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL) as per the agreement signed between TRC and KORAIL on July 4 this year for the capacity building of Tanzanians, who will be tasked with operating railway services once the SGR is completed.

Tabling the Ministry for Works and Transport budget estimates for 2023/2024, the dockets minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said for that fiscal year, more than 1.113tril/- is expected to be used for the construction of SGR, the purchase of engines, wagons, railway coaches, as well as a feasibility study for rail projects.

Once commissioned for service, the SGR train, running at an average speed of 160 km per hour, will cut the time between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro to about two hours from the current four-hour journey by buses and five hours by train on the old Metre Gauge Railway (MGR).

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