THE vice-president of Tanzania, Dr Philip Isdor Mpango, has laid the foundation stone for the construction of the 165km Tabora - Isaka line, the fourth phase of the country’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, at the site of the future station in Isaka.

Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) signed a Shillings 2.1 trillion ($US 900.1m) contract with Yapi Merkezi, Turkey, for construction of the railway in July 2022. Work is expected to be completed by March 2026.

Around 80% of the new 1219km, 160km/h railway is being constructed parallel to the existing metre-gauge line. The remaining 20% will be on new alignments to avoid sharp curves.

Mpango says the new railway will help to reduce travel times and the cost of moving goods, and he hopes Tanzania will become a central hub for transport in east and southern Africa. The railway is expected to play a critical role in increasing exports of nickel ore found in western Tanzania as well as providing connectivity from the Democratic of Congo to the port at Dar es Salaam.

Construction of the first phase of the railway, the 205km Dar es Salaam - Morogoro section, has reached 97.7% completion according to TRC director general, Mr Ndugu Masanja Kadogosa. Work on the second section, which runs for 410km from Morogoro to Makutupora, is 91.8% complete while the third section, which Yapi Merkezi is also building and will run for 358km from Makutupora to Tabora, is 3.95% complete. Detailed design of the fifth section from Isaka to Mwanza on Lake Victoria is also underway.

Kadogosa says the remaining work on the first phase of the line involves completing electrification work to enable the start of line testing.

In addition, TRC signed a contract with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Tanzania and China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) for the construction of a 506km standard-gauge railway (SGR) from Tabora to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika and a branch to Mpanda at the end of 2022.

TRC awarded Hyundai Rotem a Won 335.4bn ($US 296.9m) contract to supply 10 EMUs and 17 electric locomotives in July 2021. These will be used on stages 1 and 2 of the SGR and are due to be delivered by 2024.

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