State clarifies on SGR wagons

THE government has clarified that the first batch of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger wagons which arrived in the country recently are for third class and intended for long distance journeys.

The statement comes after videos of wagons being offloaded at the Dar es Salaam Port on Tuesday sparked outrage on social media, with some claiming the carriages were ordinary and not for SGR.

Minister for Works and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa made the clarification in Dar es Salaam yesterday during an official handover ceremony of 14 wagons from South Korea’s Sung Shin Rolling Stock Technology Company (SSRST) to Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC).

According to him, there are three types of locomotives used to pull wagons on electric trains: The Electric Locomotive, which pulls the wagons, the Electrical Multi Unit (EMU), which is a multiple-unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages using electricity as the motive power, and the High Speed Train.

“In the electric train system, trains that travel at least 200 km/h are referred to as high speed trains, while those that travel less than that are referred to as normal trains. Our train in Tanzania is a regular electric train that travels at 160 km/h, not a high-speed train,” he explained.

He added, “People should not confuse the public by explaining things that they do not know; what they are doing is circulating incorrect photos without knowing the types of trains that exist and misleading the public,”

Prof Mbarawa stated that the sixth phase government was making every effort to complete the SGR project on time by constructing infrastructure and purchasing rolling stock.

He stated that they have received a portion of 59 wagons worth 128bn/-, and that other wagons from the Eurowagon company, which will include two electric locomotives and 30 wagons worth 74.48bn/-, will arrive in the country soon.

“The government has also ordered 17 locomotives, 10 EMUs, and a locomotive simulator, totaling more than 680.2bn/-. To date the government has spent more than 882.6 billion rupees on passenger rolling stock,” he said.

On his part, the Director General of TRC, Masanja Kadogosa said the government is determined to improve railway transport and therefore they expect to receive other 45 wagons by May, 2023.

“The contract for the production of 59 wagons, of which 14 we have received for third class, the manufacturing of the remaining carriages has reached 86 per cent,” he said.

Mr Kadogosa stated that the receipt of 14 wagons was part of preparations for the commissioning of the SGR from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro in February next year, asserting that the section was more than 97 per cent complete and that by February next year, they would have obtained all permits from the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) and would start operations.

He said the construction of the existing bridge at the port has been completed and what they are doing is to connect the train track so that when they receive the locomotives, the operations can start immediately.

TRC Board Chairman, John Kondoro said that they are in the operational stages and have already entered into a contract with a Korean company that will help them provide training in the operation of the project.

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