- Published on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:27
- Written by PETER TEMBA in Moshi
- Hits: 1659
THE government has invited investors to construct a railway line from Tanga port to Musoma which will cost 3tr/- upon completion, the Deputy Minister for Transport, Mr Athuman Mfutakamba has said.
He told a press conference on Sunday shortly after making a brief tour of non-operational Moshi Railway Station and Kahe Sub-Station, that some 700 million US dollars (1.1trl) was required to rehabilitate and re-built Tanga - Arusha railway line whose services were suspended since 1985.
The Deputy Minister said cargo services was suspended in 1997 due to an accident that occurred following heavy floods that hit Bwike, Hedaru, Makanya, Same and Kahe and destroyed the railway line and several locomotives.
Mr Mfutakamba said because of the heavy cargo that was expected to be ferried along the envisaged Tanga - Musoma railway line, a new port will be set up at Musoma which will be constructed at a cost of 76.6 million US dollars (116bn/-), adding that some 50 acres of land will be required for the project.
The government, in collaboration with development partners, was making major rehabilitation of the central railway line which will cost some 16bn/-. ''Reviving the railway network in the country is one of the pressing challenges facing the ministry at the moment,'' he noted, saying railway services are cheap, reliable and safe compared to road transportation and that tourists prefer travelling by railway coaches to buses.
Mr Mfutakamba noted further that once Tanga - Musoma railway line was completed, it will have branches leading to Lake Natron and Minjingu to collect soda ash and fertilizers. The deputy minister has appealed to leaders at all levels to ensure that railway lines are left intact, pointing out that there have been vandals who have been ripping off rails and selling them as scrap metals.
Tanzania has a total of 3,676 kilometres of railway lines operated by two railway systems - Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) and Tanzania - Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA). However, due to poor conditions of tracks and ageing rolling stock and locomotives, tonnage freight volumes and passenger numbers have continued to fall every year from 60 per cent of port cargo between 1970's and 1980's to 7 perc ent currently.