Makutupora to Tabora groundbreaking 4

TANZANIA: Minister of Works & Transport Makame Mbarawa laid a foundation stone in Tabora on April 12 to officially launch construction of the third stage of the 1 211 km Dar es Salaam – Mwanza standard gauge railway project.

Stage three of the five-stage programme involves rebuilding the 368 km metre-gauge line between Makutupora and Tabora to 1 435 mm gauge, with the reconstruction of seven stations and signalling, telecoms and electrification suitable for 160 km/h operation.

Makutupora to Tabora groundbreaking 3

The work is being undertaken by Turkish contractor Yapı Merkezi under a US$1·9bn turnkey contract awarded in January, and is scheduled to be completed in 46 months.

Speaking at the ceremony, Tanzania Railways Corp CEO Masanja Kadogosa said that the Makutupora – Tabora section would have eight passenger and freight stations at Manyoni, Itigi, Kazikazi, Tura, Malongwe, Goweko, Igalula and Tabora, as well as a second station at Tabora for use by through trains and in the event of problems at the existing central station.

TRC officials said the standard gauge line would help increase freight traffic through the port of Dar es Salaam while also reducing road congestion, with one train capable of carrying up to 10 000 tonnes, the equivalent of 500 lorries.

Yapı Merkezi was previously awarded contracts for the 202 km first stage between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro. Work on this section started in 2017 and was scheduled to take 30 months. It was also selected for the 409 km second stage between Morogoro and Makutupora on which work began in 2018 and was expected to take 36 months.

Progress has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and work on both sections is still ongoing. In February TRC announced that stage one was 95% complete and stage two 81% complete, but it did not state when services are expected to start.

Makutupora to Tabora groundbreaking

Yapı Merkezi announced in December that it expected to sign a contract for stage four of the line, the 167 km between Tabora and Isaka.

The 341 km stage five between Isaka and Mwanza is being developed by a consortium of China Civil Engineering Construction Corp and China Railway Construction Co under a US$1·3bn contract signed in January 2021, with work commencing last May.

In July 2021 TRC placed an order with South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem for 17 passenger locomotives, and in November began taking delivery of H10 metre-gauge freight locomotives from Malaysia’s SMH Rail.

In February this year TRC signed a deal with China’s CRRC for the purchase of 1 430 wagons including 600 container wagons, 400 covered vans for bulk cargoes such as sugar, cement, salt, cotton, tobacco and coffee, 190 tank wagons for carrying fuel, 70 wagons for hauling pipes, timber and metals, 60 cattle wagons and 50 wagons for conveying road vehicles. Deliveries are due to be completed by February 2023.