Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) has announced that it will receive the first 42 electric locomotives by November of this year.
This will see the company officially start operating the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
This was stated by the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Leonard Chamuriho, after witnessing the signing of the contract between the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) and Hyundai Rotem on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam.
At the signing, TRC was represented by its Managing Director, Masanja Kadogosa, while Hyundai Rotem was represented by its Managing Director, Mr. Lee Se-Han.
âPreviously, we bought 42 electric locomotives in Germany and South Korea. Once arrived in November, testing of the SGR section from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro will begin, âhe said.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Kadogosa said it was encouraging that the contractor saw the need to train local engineers on how to operate the RMS.
âIn every contract we have signed so far, there is an element that requires the teaching of local experts on maintenance, signaling and driving.
âThis will allow our experts to be trained in different areas. We want more local engineers to be competent in all aspects, just as we have our own experts who operate Air Tanzania, âhe said.
Mr. Kadogosa pointed out that 200 engineers and 10 drivers will go to Korea to learn to drive electric trains. “The approach we use is to allow local experts to operate in the SGR instead of going to look for foreign engineers,” said.
He said the construction of the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section of the SGR has reached 92.7% – and currently the contractor, the Turkish company, Yapi Merkezi, is completing the remaining 15 kilometers of the project.
Explaining, Mr. Kadogosa said that they decided to choose Hyundai Rotem to make the electric locomotives because it is a big company that has been operating for many years.
In his remarks, Mr. Lee Se-Han said his organization was happy to work with TRC to provide EMUs and an electric locomotive for the SGR.
“We are confident that through close cooperation, we will be able to manufacture the electric locomotives within the specified time frame of 25 months,” he said.
The deal follows the Tanzanian government’s plan to modernize its railways, investing $ 7.9 trillion ($ 6.9 billion) to replace its old rail system. Tanzania’s rails were narrower than standard gauges, and trains had to run at a slow speed of 30 to 40 kilometers per hour.
With new rails, electric locomotives and EMUs supplied by Hyundai Rotem will run at a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour.
In addition to the ongoing construction of the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section, work on the 426 km long Morogoro-Makutupora section of the SGR is currently underway.
Like the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section, the Morogoro-Makutupora section is also under construction by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi.
There are still three phases left in the Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway project – the modernization of the 673 kilometer railway between Makutupora, Tabora, Isaka and Mwanza – and Hyundai Rotem aims to actively participate in future tenders to provide more of electric trains.