The Tanzanian Transport Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, has unveiled his ministry`s 2014/15 budget estimates in the National Assembly indicating his plans to revive the nation`s railway transport sector. “The government has in 2014/15 financial year put aside US$290m for the feasibility study of the railway line in Dar es Salaam, including the one heading to Pugu, Mbagala Chamanzi, Luguruni Kibaha, Bunju and Kerege,” he said.
The minister indicated that 13 locomotives, 22 passenger coaches, 274 cargo wagons, 34 brakes and 24 gravel-carrier wagons will be procured while eight other coaches will be constructed. The 13 new locomotives and 22 passenger coaches are expected to be in the country by December this year.
He also noted that a special committee had been put in place to study and review the train transport in the city and advice the government accordingly on ways in which it can be improved. The committee completed its task in April this year and came up with strategies one of which is the expansion of the railway transport from the current 20km to 50 km so as to reach the Coast Region of Bagamoyo, Kisarawe, Kibaha and Mkuranga.
He indicated that the government is making efforts in expanding the train transport in Dar es Salaam and is inviting the private investors to boost its development.
Dr. Mwakyembe said that nine bidders have already shown interest to conduct a feasibility study for the expansion of services to Bunju, Kibaha, Mbagala and Pugu.
When the East African Railways and Harbours Corporation was dissolved in 1977 and its assets divided between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) was formed to take over its operations in Tanzania.
TRC’s gauge is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) and the length about 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi). Two east-west lines linking the coast and the hinterland were built under colonial rule as German East Africa: the Central Line runs from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma, and the Tanga Line from Tanga to Arusha. A north-south connection, from Korogwe to Morogoro, links the two lines. The main line has to Lake Victoria where a connection operates via Lake Victoria train ferries with the Uganda Railway. From the Tanga line a line to Kenya is disused. There is a break-of-gauge at Dar es Salaam to the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) line to Zambia. A second link is at Kidatu, where the TAZARA line meets the Kidatu branch.