Rwanda railway on course


(eTN) – Information received last week from Kigali and Dar es Salaam confirmed that the ambitious joint project to construct a standard gauge railway line from the proposed inland port of Isaka in Tanzania to initially Kigali, before extending it to Bujumbura and into the Eastern Congo, was on course as the final touches were being made on the feasibility and route studies now nearing completion.

The new line is due to cost a staggering US$3 to 4 billion, but this will be money well spent as Rwanda, Burundi, the Eastern Congo, and, of course, Tanzania can all benefit from faster train connections; greater reliability of the trains; and improved capacities to carry imports, exports, and people to and from the Indian Ocean port city of Dar es Salaam, instead of having to rely on the very much more expensive road transport from the coast into the hinterland.

The same source also confirmed that the section of the railway line between Dar es Salaam and Isaka will be upgraded from its present narrow gauge to the internationally-preferred standard gauge, while work on the section to Rwanda and beyond will in part at least be undertaken in parallel.

A final preparatory review meeting is due to be held in Dar es Salaam in October at which time the financial commitments already given by friendly countries and development partners will be assessed to ensure enough capital has been raised to go into the tender stage of the project and then, after selecting the main contractors, go ahead with the construction.