LAST MONTH was due to see the start of work on rehabilitating Angola’s 1067mm gauge Caminhos de Ferro do Luanda. This runs eastwards for 424 km from the Atlantic coast to Malanje, with a southern branch to Dondo. In recent years trains have only been running between Luanda and Dondo.

Transport Minister Andre Luis Brandao announced at the end of July that contracts had been signed for refurbishment of the 290 km eastern section from the junction at Zemza de Itombe to Malanje, which had been cut by the destruction of a bridge 185 km from Luanda. At the western end of the route, the 23 km Luanda - Viana section is to be double-tracked, providing capacity for the introduction of suburban services around the capital.

The work will be funded by the state, as part of a programme to revive the country’s entire rail network. Brandao said that this will be split into four phases: rehabilitation, modernisation, construction of new lines, and development of links with other countries in Southern Africa.

He reported that repairs to the Huambo - Ca