Tanzania to test its first electric train in Nov this year.

By Prosper Makene

The Tanzanian government has announced that they will begin trials for the high-speed train from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro in November this year, the Deputy Minister for Works and Transport Mwita Waitara revealed.

The Deputy Minister who was on his first visit at the National Institute of Transport (NIT) in Dar es Salaam since his appointment earlier this year, said:

“We are planning to begin trials for the high-speed train from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro in November this year, we are happy to see that the National Institute of Transport is also training railway transport personnel which means we will get sufficient manpower to run our SGR trains.”

The project is being implemented in five phases, including Morogoro – Makutopora (348km), Makutopora – Tabora (294km), Tabora – Isaka (130km) and Isaka – Mwanza (341km).

However, the construction work for the 300-kilometer Dar es Salaam – Morogoro section is almost complete.

The Tanzanian government is committed to ensuring that the construction of the central railway connecting the port of Dar es Salaam to the Lake Region and the Western Region completes on time.

“SGR is Tanzania’s biggest ever infrastructure project that will promote geographical economy and improve the connection of bordering countries particularly Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, National Institute of Transport (NIT) Rector Professor Zacharia Mganilwa said in an interview.

Prof Mganilwa pointed out that the SGR line from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and the additional lines from Isaka to Kigali in Rwanda, and Musongati in Burundi will unlock the central corridor, a very potential area for agriculture and mining.

 “Currently, over 95 percent of the traffic leaving the port of Dar es Salaam is carried by road to the detriment of the road network. It is thus expected that the upgrading of the rail sector, especially the Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Mwanza and Isaka-Kigali-Musongati link will increase freight and passenger capacity as well as release pressure on the road network,” he said.

Prof Mganilwa added: “We are projecting to see the SGR project reducing costs in many other related economic sectors including extraction, manufacturing, and supply, hence improving the geographical economy of the Central Corridor.”

He further said that through SGR, the business community will easily transport their raw materials and distribution of finished goods to the market than ever before, hence fulfilling the fifth phase Government’s agenda of industrialization.

The Rector underscored that the SGR project was designed to meet ultra-modern standards with high speed and high capacity for both passengers and freight transportation within the Central Corridor.

Prof Mganilwa noted that the SGR being a futuristic project serves to integrate Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo DRC.

He insisted that the SGR will act as an integration tool and will enable nations within the Central Corridor to better enhance cooperation.

“The SGR will also enhance tourism and create employment opportunities and finally protect environmental conservation,” he said.

He reveals: “The SGR will have massive harmonization values for the Central Corridor and is crucial to development and attaining the development goals of the member countries.”

The NIT Chief stressed that the construction of Tanzania’s standard gauge railway transport infrastructure is a major element of the regional economy that aims to improve the Gross Domestic Product.

“The SGR transport infrastructure will strengthen the domestic economic environment on the basis of the regional integration of the Central Corridor,” he said.

Tanzania’s SGR will also provide economic, social and strategic unity of the Corridor and will play a major role in the integration of the constituent sectors and would be a stabilizing factor of the region’s economy.

How NIT can support the SGR project

The NIT Rector said that the institute has introduced five programmes in road and railway transport to cater the needs of the coming SGR.

“NIT is planning to shape and retain professionals to operate the SGR instead of importing experts from overseas,” he said

“We are targeting to produce local experts with the required skill set to work in various departments associated with the SGR, to take advantage of the existing skill deficit in the country for operation and maintenance of the SGR,” NIT Rector said.

He added: “The new programmes will generate technicians and engineers that will be capable in railway maintenance. The graduates will also work in the position of station masters.”

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