Reopening of TAZARA line set for September

THE Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is expecting to reopen its passenger train services between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia in September this year.

The route was closed to pave the way for the way for maintenance that was carried on at the Chambeshi railway bridge on the Chambeshi River in northeastern Zambia.

During the maintenance, passenger trains were operating within the respective countries. The trains were operating within the respective boundaries, with the Kilimanjaro Train operating between Dar es Salaam and Mbeya in Tanzania and the Mukuba Train plying between Kasama and Nakonde in Zambia.

A statement issued by TAZARA head of public relations Conrad Simuchile said the re-opening of the Chambeshi Railway Bridge on the Chambeshi River has been delayed further due to unforeseen challenges faced in completing the works by the Engineering Contractor.

“The repairs are now expected to end by 30th August and the re-opening of the line consequently rescheduled to happen around 15th September 2022, after line testing,” read part of the statement. Adding “It is also planned that passenger services between Dar es Salaam and New KapiriMposhi, which were suspended in March 2020, following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, will resume immediately after the re-opening of the Chambeshi bridge”.

In early this month, President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Zambian counterpart Hakainde Huchilema agreed on revamping the 1,860-kilometre Tanzania-Zambia Railways (TAZARA) from metre gauge to standard gauge railway through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. They revealed the plan at a joint-press conference at the State House in Dar es Salaam during a one-day state visit by the Zambian President in Tanzania at the invitation of his host President Samia.

“SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) is the way forward in the world today, we have thus agreed to solicit funds together through PPP and also by engaging our partners who assisted us in construction of TAZARA,” Ms Samia said during a joint press conference in the commercial city.

The two leaders also noted with concern that the TAZARA line which was constructed in the 1960s through funding from the government of China, the project has been underperforming in recent years. They, thus, agreed to revamp the TAZARA by upgrading it to SGR.

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