By James Kandoya
As a way forward to revamp its services along the Central Line, Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) has already ordered 277 cargo wagons, 13 new engines, and 22 passengers coaches that will arrive in the country in September this year.
The TRL Managing Director, Kipallo Kisamfu, told The Guardian in an exclusive interview recently that the cargo wagons and passengers coaches will come from India.
He said 13 new engines ordered from the US together with the old ones will work jointly to pull wagons from one to the other destination. The new locomotives will arrive in the country in December this year.
At least 277 ordered cargo wagons are from India and 22 passengers’ coaches are from South Korea. They will arrive in the country on the same time.
Besides that, he said, TRL has been able to repair three engines, while the repairing of five others will be completed by the end of this month.
He added that the work was a result to collective efforts between locals and foreign experts from Malaysia.
Explaining further, Kisamfu said the move is one of the goals to ensure that TRL transports not less than 15 million tonnes annually as per the Big Results Now (BRN) programme.
The measures have been taken to enable TRL to secure modern equipment so that it can work effectively, he said, adding that the rail’s demands are still higher compared to available resources.
“Currently we are in negotiation with TIB Bank so that TRL can borrow funds to purchase additional engines and wagons. The rest of the funds will be used for engine remanufacturing at the local workshop based in Morogoro,” Kisamfu said.
He however assured people relaying on rail as a means of transport that TRL has already started renovating the rail track on session and that transport operations will resume soon.
Recently the World Bank approved USD300m in support of Tanzania’s railway infrastructure in a move to bring about fundamental changes in the country’s transportation system.
The project will be implemented by Tanzania Railways Limited and will also involve the Dar es Salaam-Isaka section of the East African Central Corridor.
It aims also to helpease congestion at Dar es Salaam port, facilitate the movement of goods to and from Tanzania to landlocked neighbouring countries and spur the local economy.
It said the funds, drawn from the World Bank’s International Development Association, will also strengthen the TRL’s ability to manage the infrastructure, traffic operations and network regulation, the bank said in a statement.
“Implementing the World Bank project will be the TRL’s biggest undertaking,” the company’s spokesperson, Midladjy Maez said.
He said improvements will include strengthening the current metre gauge, reconstructing train bridges and upgrading railway infrastructure from Dar es Salaam to Isaka, from which Rwanda’s and Burundi’s railways will connect.
For his part, the TIB Bank Director of strategy, plan and policy Plan, Japher Machano, admitted that his bank is collaborating with TRL to build its carrying capacity.