The Tanzanian government will soon launch the second phase of the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) line to link the commercial city of Dar es Salaam with the capital of Dodoma.
This was said by Prof Makame Mbarawa, the minister for Works, Transport and Communications after opening the Eighth East and Central Africa Roads and Rail Infrastructure Summit in Dar es Salaam recently. The construction will start next month.
The second phase stretches from Morogoro to Dodoma, a distance of 336 kilometres.
When completed, Tanzania will introduce a fast and modern train with a speed of 160kph while the freight train will have a top speed of 120kph.
“We expect to see this railway line link Tanzania with other regional, landlocked states including Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Zambia and Uganda through quick and timely access from Tanzania’s Indian Ocean ports,” Prof Mbarawa told the The EastAfrican on the sideline of the infrastructure summit.
But Tanzania is still seeking financing for the $ 1.2 billion project whose first phase President John Magufuli launched in April this year.
The president has approached the World Bank and the government of South Africa for support.
Dr Magufuli had asked President Jacob Zuma to help Tanzania in lobbying for loans from the BRICS-run New Development Bank which South Africa is a member. He also requested the World Bank president, Dr Jim Yong Kim to help in financing the project.
Both President Zuma and Mr Jim Yong visited Tanzania this year.
The SGR project is being undertaken by Yapi Merkez Insaat Ve Sanayi of Turkey and Mota-Engil, Engenharie and Construcao Africa, SA of Portugal.
Stretching 1,057km from Dar es Salaam to the shores of Lake Victoria, the SGR will be constructed on the same line with the Central Railway Line built by Germans in 1905 from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma, then by the British colonial government from Tabora to Mwanza (427km).
In its plans to revive rail transport through the SGR, the government has tabled a Bill before the parliament seeking to form the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) that will replace the Reli Assets Holding Company (Rahco) and Tanzania Railway Ltd (TRL).
Prof. Mbarawa tabled the Railways Bill 2017 last week and Members of Parliament endorsed it paving the way for the establishment of TRC and dissolution of Rahco and TRL.
The two companies were formed 20 years ago after the government privatised the TRC to form two independent firms.