ganda Railways Corporation (URC) is set to receive newly purchased locomotives to boost its existing capacity as it plans to rehabilitate the railway transport system.
This information was shared recently through URC official Twitter when the corporation shared photos of four newly purchased 3000 horsepower-engine trains that the corporation said would be landed in the country soon.
“Great things are coming to Uganda Railways’ track. The newly purchased locomotives will be here soon,” the twitter announced.
The country has embarked on a 5 years project to revamp its century-old metre gauge railway across 5 railway systems in the country.
In January this year, URC’s Managing Director, Stanley Ssendegeya, said the four new locomotives would facilitate freight services along Kampala- Naivasha line as the Corporation pushes for rehabilitation of the network.
URC has also noted that rehabilitation works are ongoing on a number of railway lines in the country.
“Rehabilitation Works have commenced on Tororo -Gulu Line. And preparations are underway to start rehabilitation on the Malaba -Kampala line.”
Rehabilitation of the 375Km Tororo-Gulu line was launched last year and is expected to cost €47.6 million with funding coming from the European Union (€21.5million) while Uganda government will contribute €26.1 million.
The single-track line which links eastern and northern Uganda to the port of Mombasa in Kenya as well as South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo has been out of service since 1993 because of insecurity in the northern region brought about by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
URC is also set to earmark rehabilitation of the 260Km Kampala- Malaba line which links Kampala to Malaba town, along its border with Kenya.
The Kampala-Malaba project will be funded by the African Development Fund which will provide Shs 356.61 billion, the African Development Bank (825.52 billion) and the Corporate Internationalization Fund of Spain (Shs 110.72 billion.
Kenya is also rehabilitating Naivasha- Malaba railway line with an eye on the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan markets.
Kenya is seeking a reliable mode of transport for onward transit of cargo into the hinterland to make its logistics infrastructure operational, particularly the Naivasha inland container depot.
Besides putting its logistics infrastructure to use, Kenya is also eyeing the $92.3 million Congolese market for its manufactured goods and is apparently keen to see a link with Uganda actualized in the shortest time possible.
“Kenya is interested in a seamless connection immediately,” said Sendegeya.
On the sidelines of President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration on May 12, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia told The EastAfrican that he met his Uganda counterpart Gen Edward Katumba Wamala to discuss the metre gauge railway operations.
This meeting was part of the concessions talks between China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and URC to have the Chinese firm rehabilitate the Malaba-Kampala railway line.
“We came here to assist them conclude this deal. It has been done,” CS Macharia said.
“The idea is to make sure we have a seamless operation of the metre gauge railway line from Naivasha all the way to Kampala.”
Kenya has contracted CRBC to rehabilitate the Longonot- Malaba line and the progress is good so far.
Signed in 2013 as part of the Northern Corridor Integration projects, the SGR has only been operational in Kenya from Mombasa to Nairobi since 2018, but is yet to take shape in Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Uganda’s Parliament recently approved a $368.9 million loan to rehabilitate the metre gauge railway, which officials say once all components are fully revamped, would constitute a significant part of Uganda’s infrastructure diplomacy in the Great Lakes Region.
The loan involves a concession of €28.9 million ($34.9 million) sourced from the Corporate Internationalization Fund of Spain- a two-year project for construction of the railway, and a three-year capacity building project.
In addition, transit cargo to DRC and Rwanda, currently moving by road, will shift to rail and free the roads and double their lifespan, Mr Sendegeya added.