Uganda’s phased rehabilitation of the $301 million Kampala-Malaba metre gauge railway line is near completion, with 95 per cent of the work done.
The rehabilitation, which started in February with funding from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and is due to be completed next month, the contractor, Chinese Railway and Bridge Cooperation (CRBC), stated.
“We have rehabilitated over 200 kilometres and are at 95 percent. We have fitted everything, including rails, slippers, compacted stones. We shall be able to hand over the project in February as planned because the remaining five percent (28km) is too small. We want to complete the rehabilitation work on time so that the trains can keep moving,” Qin Jian, a CRBC engineer, said in an interview at the weekend.
The first phase included engineering design for the Kampala multimodal hub and refurbishment of Kampala-Namanve and Tororo-Malaba sections totalling 28 kilometres.
The second phase covered the Environmental Study and Impact Assessment (ESIA), purchase of workshop equipment and rolling stock, including wagons and locomotives, and rehabilitation of Namanve-Tororo, Port Bell line, Jinja Pier line and Kampala-Kyengera sections totalling 245km.
The railway, which is part of the Northern Corridor of the East African Community linking Kampala to the Port of Mombasa in Kenya, is expected to bolster rail services and lower transportation costs.
John Sengendo, the Uganda Railways Corporation senior public relations and communication officer, said to curb vandalism at the newly-rehabilitated line, they will employ permanent inspectors and install sensors to detect broken points on rails.