NAMIBIAN President Sam Nujoma and around 600 high-level guests participated in a ceremony on March 12 to inaugurate Oshivelo station on the N$90m northern extension from Tsumeb to Oshikango.

The naming ceremony for Dr Sam Njoma station reflected rapid progress with tracklaying. The Namibia Rail Contractors joint venture has been averaging 4 km/week, compared to 3 km/week envisaged in the contract schedule (RG 7.04 p387). TransNamib Holdings Chief Engineer Sakki Engelbrecht expects the head of steel to reach Omuthiya by August, completing the 246·5 km first phase.

NRC is due to submit its tender shortly for the second phase of the tracklaying work. Engelbrecht noted that the stations at Omuthiya and Odangwa have already been completed and handed over to the railway.

President Nujoma traveled to Oshivelo in TransNamib's new Chinese-built diesel multiple-unit, which he named Omugulu Gombashe during the celebrations.

The President said construction of the rail link to Angola, agreed at a bilateral meeting in May 1997, was a key part of the government's drive to improve rail transport including investment in new locos and rolling stock. He confirmed that work had recently started on upgrading the Aus - Lüderitz line.