Africa's longest railway line will be built in 2014 to link Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi and boost the economy of the region, a Rwandan transport official said in Kigali on Thursday.
Director General of the Rwandan Transport Agency (RTA) Elias Twagira told a press conference that "the construction of the railway will contribute to Rwanda's remarkable economic development through trade with regional countries at a cost effective transport means."
The RTA chief said , "By the end of 2013, all requirements for the railway project to link up Tanzania and Burundi crossing Rwanda will be ready and the construction will consequently kick off in early 2014 at an estimated cost of 5 billion U. S. dollars. "
Twagira made the remarks at the end of a two-day consultative meeting of transport ministers of the three East African countries to discuss the railways, which will run from the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania through the Isaka dry port to Kigali.
In a telephone interview, Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure Albert Nsengiyumva told Xinhua, "We believe that the use of a railway line will promote various domains such as agro-business, mining and industrial development in general."
"Not only will the railway transport be cost effective, but it will also solve the problem of unnecessary long hours spent on roads by trucks as they connect Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. "
"The railway transport system will improve trade and hence lower prices since transport alone contributes 40 percent of commodity prices in Rwanda," Minister Albert added.
The planned railway network will cover more than 1,500 km, likely to be the longest railway line in Africa.
The government will not reimburse Kenyans displaced by the upgrade of the railway line that passes between Mukuru and Kibera slums. According to the Ministry of Transport, slum-dwellers and businesses operating along the railway will not receive any compensation aside from their resettlement. This comes shortly after investors had threatened to pull out of the project if the relocation process was not done in a civilised and controlled manner.
Minister for Transport, Amos Kimunya said that the residents have already been identified and plans are underway to resettle them.
Kenya Railways will spend KES 3 billion resettling about 10,000 people living around the railway line. Kimunya stated that the land is the official property of Kenya Railways and the settlers were likely to derail the construction. He also said that the Ministry would relocate them in a civilized manner in order to avoid delays and appease the investors.
The upgrade will involve the destruction of residential structures as well as businesses operating along the railway line. Slum dwellers have been opposing the move, demanding compensation for the losses they are likely to incur. The Ministry, however, noted that the occupants have been living in the area illegally and has since decided to relocate them without paying for any further damages.
The governments of Kenya and Uganda have signed an agreement to jointly develop a new 1,435mm gauge railway from Mombasa via Nairobi to Kampala. In addition, Kenya has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Ethiopia, apropos the building of a new 1,435mm gauge railway to Addis Ababa from Lamu, the new port to be established north of Mombasa. According to President Kibaki of Kenya, his government is collaborating with other countries in the region to improve regional connectivity.
On 12 December 2012, King Mohammed VI of Morocco inaugurated Casablancas new tramway. The 31km line links the east and south-west districts via the city centre, and calls at 48 stations.
The Alstom Citadis trams are 65 metre double units accommodating up to 606 passengers. They will carry up to 250,000 passengers daily.
The service is to run at intervals of 4 minutes 45 seconds during peak hours and 8 minutes 30 seconds during the off-peak. The average speed attained is expected to be 18.8km/h. The signalling system supplied and installed by Alstom will ensure safety and is to give a 75% priority rate at street intersections.
Accompanied by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the king travelled by tram between the United Nations and Mohammed V squares. He decorated executives from the Casa Transports Company for their distinguished contribution to the project.
Railway track in Uganda in 2010.
Reopening required vegetation clearance and repairs to track and bridges (Photo: John Hanson/US Army Africa).
UGANDA: Rift Valley Railways has reopened the Northern Line, which runs for 500 km from the Kampala - Mombasa route at Tororo Junction to Gulu and Pakwach.
As well as improving transport links to northern Uganda, the line provides a regional railhead for South Sudan and eastern DR Congo.
The metre gauge line has been out of use since 1993, and reopening required vegetation clearance and repairs to track and bridges. The work was funded by RVR at a cost of US$2m. Further investment is planned to support Ugandan oil export traffic.
The first commercial train on the reopened line arrived in Gulu on September 14, carrying steel from Mombasa. This was transferred to road for delivery by Spedag Interfreight to Juba in South Sudan.
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