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Case to improve railway network

Case to improve railway network

This 1,250-km railway line, known in Kiswahili as Reli ya Kati, has for decades played a key role in the transportation of passengers and goods from the hinterlands to the urban areas along the way and the port of Dar es Salaam. It has thus helped to boost the economies of the regions through which it passes by facilitating transportation of agricultural produce, both cash and subsistence, and other cargo, including livestock, to the markets.

The good things about this railway line is that it still functions contrary to the Tanga Railway Line, popularly known as Tanga Line, which is the oldest railway in Tanzania that used to link the agriculture-rich northern Tanzania regions of Moshi and Arusha and the port of Tanga, not forgetting its role in servicing the then booming sisal industry.

This railway line met with the Central Line at Ruvu, which provided the link between north and the west to the ports of Tanga and Dar es Salaam. The two lines played a vital role in ‘connecting’ Tanzania at a time the road infrastructure was still in its infancy. It is an undeniable fact that both railway lines have seen both better and rough times.

Unfortunately for the Tanga one, it is no longer functioning, with the old infrastructure becoming breeding ground for weed. But going by past experience, and if this country has to learn from other countries, rail transportation is one of the most reliable means of ground transport. It is almost hassle-free due to the absence of other traffic and easy passage, sometimes in very difficult terrain.

There are no cumbersome check-points. It is simply fast. There have been increased calls for the strengthening of the country’s railways network from MPs, other leaders and stakeholders to reduce the present over-dependency on road transport to improve mainly cargo transportation.

It is sort of a wake-up call. Our national priorities would have an added impact with the inclusion of the railway network improvement clause. The plans on the drawing board to link the landlocked section of East Africa and beyond should therefore be pursued in earnest more now than ever before.

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Author: EDITOR

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