Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
By Hilda Mhagama
The Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) on Wednesday received 44 freight wagons as part of a project to upgrade the country’s central line to improve cargo transportation.
Works and Transport Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said at a ceremony to receive the wagons in Dar es Salaam that the wagons will streamline TRC services and make its operations more efficient.
The 44 wagons were procured with a World Bank soft loan, as part of the Tanzania Intermodal and Rail Development (TIRP) project to revamp the central line, for which, the Bank has provided a loan of approximately 680bn/-, he stated.
He noted that the project entails rehabilitating the railway line as well as purchasing locomotives, wagons, and tamping machines, stating that wagons will boost freight services and reduce loading and offloading times from Dar es Salaam port to Isaka dry port to 24 hours.
“Like past government phases, the sixth phase government is focused on improving various infrastructures, especially railway transportation, to promote the country’s economy,” he stated.
Prof Mbarawa emphasized the necessity of TRC taking proper care of the wagons for them to be used by future generations, as well as the corporation’s increased efforts in collecting revenues.
The TIRP project that involves the rehabilitation of Tanzania meter gauge railways includes, among other things, the rehabilitation of railway tracks from Dar es Salaam to Iskar (970 km) to increase freight capacity from 13.5 tonnes axle load to 18.5 tonnes axle load, the construction of new 80-pound rail covering 312 km, the rehabilitation of 658 km of railway, and the replacement of 442 bridges and culverts.
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According to the Minister, the project has resulted in the completion of a 326-kilometre railway upgrade from Dar es Salaam to Isaka, 374 bridge renovations, architecture work for the Dar es Salaam railway upgrade, Isaka dry port, and Ilala yard.
TRC Director-General, Mr Masanja Kagosa said the wagons were made in China by CRRC International Corporation Limited with each having a capacity for 46 tonnes.
“Since one locomotive can pull 20 wagons at once, one trip will carry 920 tonnes, which is equivalent to 30 trucks with a capacity of 30 tonnes each.
“As a result, we are confident in our ability to use these 44 newly purchased wagons to expand TRC’s capacity to transport and unload cargo at the port. Furthermore, rail freight movement will greatly reduce road damage,” he added.
According to him, the agreement’s implementation began on October 9, 2019, and the contract was due to be completed on June 5, 2020, but the execution was impeded by the outbreak of Covid-19, which forced the CRRC factory to close and then slow operations.
Mr Kadogosa further said under the projects seven locomotives for cargo trains have been refurbished at the TRC workshop in Morogoro for 13bn/- by local engineers.
He said earlier TRC did not have the freight locomotives; however, it was compelled to use larger locomotives for hauling freight thereby increasing operational costs.
Currently, Tanzania has two railway systems: a central line extends towards Kigoma and Mwanza on Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria respectively, run by TRC and a southern route extends from Dar es Salaam into Zambia, operated by the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).