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Tanzania gearing up for its first electrified rail network

30th July 2021

By: John Muchira

Creamer Media Correspondent

     

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The East African region is set to have its first electric-powered railway network in Tanzania, where the State-owned Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) is preparing to take delivery of electric trains from South Korea.

Works and Transport Minister Leonard Chamuriho announced this month that the first batch of 42 electric trains would arrive in the country in the next few months – ahead of the commissioning of the first phase of the electric standard-gauge railway (SGR) network.

South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Rotem was contracted by the TRC to supply 80 electric train cars worth $190-million and 17 electric locomotives worth $105.5-million.

“Once the locomotives arrive, testing of the SGR section from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro will commence,” said Chamuriho.

He added that Hyundai Rotem would train Tanzanian engineers on how to operate the SGR trains.

“There is a component that compels the teaching of local experts on maintenance, signals and driving. We want more local engineers to be competent in all the aspects,” he said.

The $1.3-billion Dar es Salaam to Morogoro line, which covers a distance of 300 km, is now 92.7% complete.

The new train cars will operate on the 546 km high-speed electrified line between Dar es Salaam and Makutupora, travelling at a maximum speed of 160 km/h, and will have the capacity to carry as many as 590 commuters.

This will make it possible for passengers to travel between Dar-es-Salaam and Morogoro in one-and-a-half hours, which is three hours less than when travelling by bus.

The freight service, which is designed to travel at 120 km/h, is expected to reduce freight costs by 40%, contributing significantly to bringing down the cost of doing business in the East African country.

Tanzania, which has been implementing megaprojects in the infrastructure sector that were initiated by the late President John Pombe Magufuli, has completed the construction of the transmission line that will feed electricity to the SGR line from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.

It forms part of Tanzania’s ambitious SGR project, the total cost of which is $8.3-billion. The project covers a distance of 2 561 km – from Dar es Salaam to the shores of Lake Victoria – and links the country to neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tanzania, which is among the fastest- expanding economies in Africa, is banking on the SGR project to stimulate accelerated growth by bringing efficiency, affordability and reliability to the transport sector, with the ripple effects being faster growth in sectors such as agriculture, trade, mining and construction.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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