Tanga, Central lines surely need revamping

Tanga, Central lines surely need revamping

Recalling the railways’ history, two east-west lines, named the Central Line and Tanga Line, linking the coast and the hinterland were built when the country was under colonial rule as German East Africa. The Central Line runs from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma, and the Tanga Line from Tanga to Arusha. 

A north-south connection, from Korogwe to Morogoro, links the two lines. The mainline has other branches, one to Lake Victoria where a connection operates via Lake Victoria train ferries with the Uganda Railway. From the Tanga Line, there was an EARH line to Kenya but this is now disused.

The two railway lines go down in history for playing a key role in the transportation sector at a time when the road network was largely underdeveloped. Major cash crops such as sisal, coffee and cotton could then conveniently be sent to the major ports ready for shipment abroad.

Most unfortunately, the later years of the post-independence period witnessed a decline or deterioration in this particular network arising from a number of factors, including the rail tracks’ wear and tear and wagon dilapidation. The railways fortunes changed from better to worse despite efforts by the government to rehabilitate network. The Central Line survived the test of time while the much shorter Tanga Line closed shop. This contributed to the decline of activity at the Tanga Port, which was the main gateway for the country’s sisal exports.

Plans to revamp the two railway lines as hinted at by the Minister for Transport, Mr Omari Nundu, recently is welcome news as it implies the revival of both lines, especially the now dormant Tanga Line that will augur well with the proposed expansion and modernisation of Tanga Port. Let this grand plan take off in earnest – and immediately.

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Author: EDITOR

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