Tanzanians to experience SGR taste next month

DAR ES SALAAM: TANZANIANS will begin to experience the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) next month, ahead of its official passenger service launch in July, the government has announced.

Minister for Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa, announced in Dar es Salaam on Friday after inspecting the progress of the SGR project.

“We have decided to commence initial operations on June 14 this year. We will start with transporting passengers from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro to test all the systems before the official launching on July 25 this year,” Prof Mbarawa stated.

He encouraged Tanzanians to utilise this new mode of transport, highlighting its affordability and modernity.

“Tanzanians should show up in large numbers to use this train because I believe it will be affordable. There are some Tanzanians who hear ‘speed 160’ and cannot comprehend it in their minds,” he added.

The trial operations will cover the Dar es Salaam to Morogoro route, while the full service, extending to Dodoma, is set to begin on July 25, 2024.

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This preliminary phase will serve as a critical period for monitoring and fine-tuning the system to ensure its readiness for the official launch.

Prof Mbarawa also directed the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) to develop a ticketing system accommodating weekly and monthly purchases to cater to the anticipated high demand from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam.

Providing an update on the project’s progress, Masanja Kadogosa, Director General of TRC, reported that the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro section is 97.96 per cent complete, Morogoro – Makutupora is at 96.73 per cent, Makutupora – Tabora at 14.34 per cent, Tabora – Isaka at 5.8 per cent, and Isaka – Mwanza at 57.08 per cent.

The construction of the Tabora – Kigoma section is ongoing, reaching 5.49 per cent, and procurement processes for the Uvinza – Musongati railway are underway, awaiting approval from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“We believe that within the next two months, we will have found a contractor,” Kadogosa stated.

Operational trials between Dar es Salaam and Dodoma continue, with the remaining work for the first section, including the completion of overpasses and the installation of gates to prevent unauthorised access to the railway areas, expected to conclude by mid-June.

The TRC has already conducted extensive tests on 28 coaches and three locomotives, ensuring readiness for operation.

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Mr Kadogosa further said trials with 14 coaches and one set of Electrical Multiple Units (EMU) are ongoing, and by the end of July, all preparatory stages, including operational guidelines and infrastructure, will be completed. He asserted that the initial operations aim to build operational capacity, address any arising issues promptly and instill public confidence in the new railway system, enabling the TRC to commence business and generate income.

Additionally, work on the port link is progressing, with 76.91 per cent completion, and the embankment and crossing work on Nyerere Road is expected to finish by June 30.

“The initial operation date is set to build operational capacity by coordinating the shortcomings that may arise and working on them early, to build community confidence in the organisation and to start doing business and generate income for the organisation,” Kadogosa explained.

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