ANGOLA: President José Eduardo dos Santos was in Huambo on August 30 to welcome the first passenger train to arrive from Lobito over the latest 380 km section of Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela to be rehabilitated.

The line had been out of action since 1975 owing to destruction during the civil war, but rehabilitation began in 2001 with government funding and subsequently Chinese assistance.

The 44 km Calenga – Santa Iria section was carrying limited traffic by 2004, followed by the 154 km Lobito – Cubal section. The aim is to carry up to four million passengers and 20 million tonnes of freight a year.

On August 29 the Minister of Transport, Augusto da Silva Tomás, had launched a passenger service between Benguela and Lobito using new coaches. He said CFB will be running beyond Huambo to Moxico province during 2012.

Ministry of Transport Infrastructure Director Carla Marques says rail links to Namibia, Zambia and DR Congo could be completed in 2014. A port planned for Barra do Dande, 50 km north of Luanda, could be served by a new branch of the Caminhos de Ferro de Luanda. Creating connections between Angola’s 1067 mm gauge CFL, CFB and CFM rail systems, which all run inland from the coast, is also seen as an important aim.