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Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Give railways priority

Sunday, 10th April, 2011

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THERE are plans to revive the Kampala-Kasese railway link.The 333km line was built to carry cooper concentrate from the Kilembe mines to the smelting plant at Jinja.

But the operations were suspended in 1998 following safety issues, low revenue and high operating costs. Since then track and sleepers have been stolen and the equipment and other equipment vandalised.

According to studies done, the Kampala-Kasese traffic levels for 2015 are estimated at 800,000tonnes per annum compared to 70,000 tonnes in 1996.The traffic levels are bound to increase with the emergence of new economic activities in different parts of the country. Uganda could also use her position as a transit route for traffic to Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and Southern Sudan to benefit economically.

The revival of the rail sector has met some problems in the past. The joint concession of the Uganda and Kenya railways has not been successful. With the discovery of oil in western Uganda and stability in the Great Lakes region, there is a much stronger case for the revival of the railway system. The business community has also been complaining of high transport costs from Mombasa port.

Rail transport would address their concerns because big quantities of goods can easily be moved at a cheaper price.

There has also been a problem of trucks congestion at Malaba and Busia border points. A functioning railway network would offer shorter waiting times at the border points. Besides, the risk of losses or damages on goods would be minimised by using rail transport. Congestion on the highways and traffic deaths caused by heavy commercial vehicles would be reduced by the re-introduction of the rail transport.

Revival of the railway transport will provide significant benefits to East Africans, including boosting of trade.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Uganda western railway line set to re-open

MONDAY, 02 MAY 2011 05:48 JOSEPH OLANYO

Kampala, Uganda - Thirteen years since then Uganda Railways Corporation (URC)  ceased operations on Uganda’s western railway line due to commercial and technical reasons, plans are again underway to revamp them.

As part of its strategy to improve railway transportation, the Uganda government is to re-open the  railway lines including the Kampala-Kasese line.

Through its Ministry of Works and Transport, the government is seeking services of a suitably qualified consulting firm to carry out and complete the assignment.  

Hans Sbresny, a railway engineer, James Nyambari, RVR General Manager and Alex Macdonald, a consultant for the Kasese line discuss during the presentation of the study recently. Photo by Joseph Olanyo

An interim report submitted to Government by Technofin Consultants pvt in conjunction with International Development Consultants, shows that there is need to revamp the line following the economic activities that are taking place in the western part of the country.

Cement production at Hima, and limestone mining at Dura River, the dominant economic activity  at the Western end of the Kampala-Kasese railway line need bulk transportation.

Hima cement expected to step up its production from 300,000 tonnes per annum to 960,000 tones per annum in 2011, currently transports its cement by road to its markets, the principle being Kampala.

Limestone, a major input in the production for the cement plant, is transported by trucks, a distance of  80 km to Hima.

The recent discovery of commercial oil deposits in western Uganda has given rise to increased economic activity and dire need for a railway transport.

The line is also expected to further ease transit traffic from the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa through Uganda to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Uganda accounts for 70% of transit traffic through the northern corridor route of Mombasa port.

The Team Leader International Development Consultants, Mr Alex Macdonald, says three rehabilitation options have been defined. They include upgrade to standard gauge and minimum rehabilitation.

Macdonald said while positive impact expected will include improved transport facilities at reduced cost, increased economic activity and investment in agro-processing, negative impact of the construction will include disruption to persons required to move for the railway works.

In order to increase efficiency and service delivery, the government of Uganda and Kenya signed a joint concession to manage their railways in 2006. However, the Kasese line was not part of the concession.

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) General Manager, Mr James Nyambari, says plans are also underway for the revival of passenger town service transport.

The move is expected to considerably ease transportation costs, congestion and horrific traffic jams in the city.

The Kampala-Kasese railway line is a 208 mile (333km) metre-gauge railway line that starts at Kampala and ends at Kasese near Uganda's border with the DRC.

The line was constructed during 1952-1956 primarily to transport copper ore from the Kilembe mines to the refinery at Jinja.

To minimize costs, it was constructed with second-hand light weight rails, mainly light 30- year old track material lifted from Kenya and Tanzania.

At its peak in 1973, the Kampala-Kasese  railway line handled 50.000 tonnes of goods traffic. From 1973 peak, traffic volumes fell to 30,000 tonnes in1991.

By 1997, the total traffic had risen to 70,000 tonnes of which 95% was cement.

The deteriorating condition of the line, the resultant safety issues and the failure of low revenues to cover operational costs, fed on each other forcing URC to suspend operations in 1998.

Since then, more than 50% of the track sleepers have been stolen, and  buildings and other equipment have been deteriorated or vandalized.

It is anticipated that even a minimum rehabilitation of the line would require laying of almost a complete new railway.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Ugandan privatization Unit has said has concluded all preparations and is ready to receive bids from interested companies to revamp the railway line to Kilembe copper mines as the country prepares to resume operations at the mine.

Mr Jim Mugunga spokesman of Uganda privatization Unit said that the government is seeking services of a suitably qualified partner to revamp Kampala Kasese railway line. We are close to securing a contractor to revamp the line to Kilembe copper mines.

Uganda Railways Corporation ceased operations on Uganda’s western two railway routes in 1998 following the suspension of copper mining at Kilembe Copper Mines in Kasese. Kampala kasese line is about 333kilometers.

Last month, Uganda government announced that it would soon resume copper mining operations at Kilembe copper mine later this year following improved global copper prices. The line is also expected to ease transportation of good from the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa through Uganda to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Last year, theUgandan government awarded the line to the northern side of the Albertine Graben to Egypt based Citadel Capital. The railway line to Kasese, the Southern end of the basin however remains in government hands and is considered a key gateway to the oil region and the Kilembe Copper Mines.

The line was constructed in 1956 to transport copper ore from the Kilembe mines to the refinery at Jinja in the central region. The deteriorating condition of the railway line safety issues and the failure of low revenues to cover operational costs resulting from low economic activities in the region forced URC to suspend operations in 1998.

Before its closure, the mine was producing around 18,000 tonne per year of copper. Kilembe copper mines have a potential of around 4 million tonnes of copper ores with around 4,000 acres of property around the mine yet to be explored.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

I want to awaken our sleeping leaders that if the railway was functioning in northern and north-eastern Uganda, better quality sugarcane would be supplied to SCOUL.

The cane SCOUL grows looks like grass! In places like Kabermaido, Soroti, Lira, Dokolo, Katakwi, Amuria and Kumi, there is better quality sugarcane. Outgrowers can be recruited into the industry.

The other alternative is to build a sugar factory in Soroti. If our politicians and all leaders were thinking full time for the welfare of all Ugandans, mistakes would not be arising all the time.

Our leaders seem to be concentrating only in what can bring in instant returns for themselves rather than the public good.

Foe example, how can the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) executive director, Jennifer Musisi, suggest a salary of sh43m? How much does the garbage collector in KCCA earn? Who does the real work and deserves more pay?

David Ariko

Entebbe

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is soon to start a commuter train service to link the Ugandan capital Kampala with its satellite towns. Operations manager Peter Owollo told New Vision that initially daily services will run from Mondays to Fridays from Kampala to Namanve, via Makerere Business school, Meat packers, interfreight headquarters, Banda, Kireka and Bweyogerere.

About a month later, Owollo told the paper, trains will serve the Jinja areas over weekends.

He said that five commuter coaches, each with a capacity of 80 passengers, are ready for service and that a further three are to be acquired from the RVR Nairobi headquarters.

A flat fare of sh1,500 will apply in respect of any distance between Kampala and Namanve. When the weekend service to Jinja commences, the fare will be sh5,000.

RVR general manager James Nyambari said that services would have begun long before this, had squatters and informal traders not settled in the rail reserve

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

More than 10 companies and individuals who acquired part of the Nakawa estate land in Kampala have been allocated 57acres of land owned by Uganda Railways Corporation in Nsambya, according to New Vision.

The paper has ascertained that private developers were relocated to the railway land after Opecprime Properties Uganda Limited threatened to sue the government for breach of contract.

Opecprime Properties won a deal to redevelop the estates.”They (private developers and individuals) have been allocated the Nsambya land, but the government has not paid for it. The government relocated them because they had paid for the leases in Nakawa,” the paper was told.

“The Nsambya land allocation means that the private developers will share the 57 acres among them, depending on how much each firm or individual paid the government for the Nakawa land. Each acre of the Nsambya land is valued at sh1.2 billion; meaning that the 57 acres are worth sh68.4 billion.

“The companies and individuals allocated the Nakawa land include Islamic University in Uganda (10 acres), House of Dawda (10 acres), Abner Besigye, the former assistant town clerk of Nakawa division (0.87 acres) and Access Uganda (13 acres). Others are Tropical Bank, the Libyan Cultural Centre, the National Library and Swacof Intertrade (two acres each), Globeways (four acres), William Nkemba and the acting SC Villa treasurer (six acres).

“Mr and Mrs Ponsiano Ngabirano got one acre, while CTM Uganda Limited owned by three brothers – Grey, Timothy and Gerald Katusabe – got six acres, bBut it is not clear how they will share the land.

“In October 2007, the government signed a contract with Opecprime Properties Uganda Limited to solely redevelop the Nakawa-Naguru estates.The dilapidated estates were to be redeveloped into an ultra-modern satellite town with 5,000 housing units at a cost of $US300m (sh837bn).

“Opecprime Properties Uganda Limited is a subsidiary of the Comer Homes Group, a well-known UK-based real estate firm. Opecprime Properties was supposed to start redeveloping the estate in January 2008, but the exercise dragged on because the tenants were demanded compensation.

“Early in 2011 the government forcibly evicted the tenants and the estate was demolished to pave way for redevelopment. According to the development plan, the satellite town was to be constructed within 10 years starting in January 2008; meaning it would have been complete by 2018.

“During the time when the government endeavoured unsuccessfully to evict the tenants, part of the land was leased to over 10 private companies and individuals in addition to Opecprime Properties.

“Faridah Nantale has filed a suit in the High Court claiming that part of the land on Block 6 Plot 14 and Block 7 plots 16A-28A, measuring 28.2 acres, belongs to her as the administrator of her late father’s estate. She argues that her late father, Muhammed Gavamukulya Mukoloboza, was a Mutongole (chief) who was the custodian of the land estates of Buganda Kings Mwanga and Daudi Chwa. She is seeking sh50 billion compensation (about $17m).

“URC lawyers Kateera and Kagumire Company Advocates are contesting her claims, arguing that the land was vested in the East African Railways Corporation since June 1969 and later, URC took it over as the legal successor on 1 July 1977.”

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) has ruled out compensating former employees and sitting tenants currently on its land at Nsambya and Port Bell. The land was recently given to developers.

URC managing director Emmanuel Lyamulemye told MPs on the commissions and state enterprises committee that contrary to the tenants’ request, there was no chance that URC would compensate them.

“I am reluctant to accept this plea of goodwill compensation by the tenants because it is unattainable. If the government is willing to compensate them, I have no objection but as URC, there is no chance,” he was quoted saying. URC would however – on humanitarian grounds – facilitate the exhuming and reburying of dead relatives. “This will be done on condition they vacate the property,” he said.

The committee, chaired by Patrick Amuriat, had asked URC to explain whether or not the tenants would be compensated.

The committee was handling a petition by former employees and sitting tenants of URC challenging the government’s decision to sell 57 acres of URC land at Nsambya and Port Bell without advertising or giving first priority to the sitting tenants.

The tenants appealed to parliament to stay the eviction orders, saying they had lived on the land for more than 30 years. Through their group, Uganda Railways Tenants Association, the tenants said they planned to develop the place into a modern satellite town. They planned to build 100 flats of 16 units each and shopping malls. “We will build homes for 1,600 families and also create employment opportunities. We have the capacity to redevelop the place,” they said

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Uganda will soon be exporting oil that has been discovered in the fringe of Lake Albert in Africa’s western Rift Valley. Tullow Oil, a UK-based oil exploration company, is reported to have discovered as much as 2.5 billion barrels of oil, enough to change everything in Uganda. The value of the oil windfall is estimated at $2 billion a year for the next 20 years. President Museveni is on record demanding that instead of exporting crude oil a refinery should be built, allowing Uganda to sell fuel to other countries in the region and profit more from the resource.

At a meeting early in October, President Museveni and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania agreed to speed up construction of the proposed new railway from the Tanzanian port of to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria. From there, cargo would be shipped to Uganda where another port would be constructed on the shores of the lake. According to a statement issued by State House after the meeting, the two leaders formed a taskforce to oversee fast-tracked implementation of the project

 
awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

Uganda will soon be exporting oil that has been discovered in the fringe of Lake Albert in Africa’s western Rift Valley. Tullow Oil, a UK-based oil exploration company, is reported to have discovered as much as 2.5 billion barrels of oil, enough to change everything in Uganda. The value of the oil windfall is estimated at $2 billion a year for the next 20 years. President Museveni is on record demanding that instead of exporting crude oil a refinery should be built, allowing Uganda to sell fuel to other countries in the region and profit more from the resource.

At a meeting early in October, President Museveni and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania agreed to speed up construction of the proposed new railway from the Tanzanian port of to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria. From there, cargo would be shipped to Uganda where another port would be constructed on the shores of the lake. According to a statement issued by State House after the meeting, the two leaders formed a taskforce to oversee fast-tracked implementation of the project

- wanderer53

In Cameroon, better a railway than a slurry pipeline for iron ore.

In Uganga, better a railway line than an oil pipeline (for oil that is waxy according to http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11348577.htm )

Amongst other reasons, railways can carry other goods and passengers too, while pipelines cannot.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Government is set to revamp all the dilapidated rail-lines across the country, the state minister for Works John Byabagambi disclosed on Monday.

The multi-billion dollar project will involve the rehabilitation of the Kampala -Kasese, Kampala-Packwach, Kampala-Tororo/Malaba and Kampala-Kaliro railway lines.  

Byabagambi made the remarks at the opening of the34th meeting of the executive board of the Transit Transportation Coordination Authority (TTCA) of the northern corridor in Kampala.

“Government has continued to mobilize substantive funds and work is in progress to reconstruct, rehabilitate and maintain various road sections along the Northern Corridor in Uganda right from Malaba/Busia up to Katuna, Mirama Hills, Mponde, Bunagana, Kyanika,” he said.

He told the delegates drawn from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo, Southern Sudan and Tanzania that the construction of the second Nile Bridge at Jinja was due to start soon. Tanzania attended the meeting as observers.

Works Ministry permanent Secretary Chris Muganzi told the New Vision in a separate interview that government is considering partnering with China to construct the railway line.

“Feasibility study is complete for re-opening of closed Kampala – Kasese railway line.  Procurement process started for a consultant to undertake engineering design for the new standard gauge of Kampala – Malaba railway line,” he said.

He pointed out that if the railway lines are reconstructed, they will help to improve on their capacity for the haulage of long distance heavy cargo for the Northern Corridor states and overburden on the road network.

He said some sections of the dilapidated lines would be widened, while some will have two sections. He explained that constructing a kilometer of rail costs $2m (Shs5b).

Byabagambi said the detailed designs for the one stop border posts (OSBP) are in progress for Malaba, Busia, Mirama Hills, Katuna.  

“MV Kaawa wagon ferry is undergoing rehabilitation at Port Bell and work is expected to be completed in early 2012.  Work on MV Pamba and remodeling of Port Bell and Jinja will be undertaken.  This will enable us to re-activate marine services on Lake Victoria and provide links to Kisumu and Mwanza Ports,” he said.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

KAMPALA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has met a group of officials from the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China who have expressed interest in investing in the East African country's banking and infrastructure sectors.

Museveni, according to a State House statement issued here on Friday, told the delegation led by Zhu Hongjie, vice president of the Exim Bank, that Uganda regards investors as true development partners.

He told the visiting delegation which he met in the eastern Ugandan district of Iganga on Thursday that Uganda's economy has been growing at a rate of 8 percent per annum despite the country having a power crisis.

He assured the delegation that once the power shortage problem is addressed, the economy will grow even faster and the investment climate will improve tremendously.

The delegation told Museveni that it is interested in investing in the banking sector as well as in the development of infrastructure such as railways, roads and power generation.

The bank is financing the construction of a 350 million U.S. dollars expressway linking the country's international airport to the capital Kampala.

This is the second Chinese delegation meeting Museveni barely two weeks after the first one led by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie.

China is becoming one of Uganda's top development partners especially in the infrastructure, agriculture and oil sectors.

Statistics released on Nov. 23 ranked China as the second biggest foreign investment contributor in Uganda for the third quarter of this year.

According to a report released by Uganda Investment Authority, a state-owned investment agency, during the period of July- September 2011, China's planned investments in Uganda hit 6.5 million dollars.

In 2009, the Asian country emerged as the second biggest foreign direct investment contributor in the country.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

STEEL CO MANAGERS HELD FOR TRACK THEFT

on December 17, 2011 in Mishaps Africa

On 29 November, Ugandan police arrested the manager of a Jinja steel company which allegedly bought in steel stolen from the state-owned railway right-of-way and melted it down. Both steel sleepers as well as the rail itself were involved. The firm’s human resources manager was also arrested but both men were let out on bail.

However, seven other employees remained in custody while police investigations continued into the theft of property from Rift Valley Railways, the concessionaire running the Uganda railway. It is understood that a charge of economic sabotage is to be laid.

According to press reports, police and security personnel forced their way into the factory following a tip-off.

 
awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

STEEL CO MANAGERS HELD FOR TRACK THEFT

on December 17, 2011 in Mishaps Africa

On 29 November, Ugandan police arrested the manager of a Jinja steel company which allegedly bought in steel stolen from the state-owned railway right-of-way and melted it down. Both steel sleepers as well as the rail itself were involved. The firm’s human resources manager was also arrested but both men were let out on bail.

However, seven other employees remained in custody while police investigations continued into the theft of property from Rift Valley Railways, the concessionaire running the Uganda railway. It is understood that a charge of economic sabotage is to be laid.

According to press reports, police and security personnel forced their way into the factory following a tip-off.

- wanderer53

Perhaps UR should buy some high quality iron ore of which there is plenty in Africa and make it available to the steelworks instead of stolen sleepers and rails.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

.UGANDA TO REVIVE ALL LINES

on December 17, 2011 in Uganda

the executive board of the Transit Transportation Coordination Authority (TTCA) of the northern corridor in Kampala on 5 December, state minister for works John Byabagambi said it is intended to revive all sections of railway in Uganda that are currently out of use. Lines included are those linking Kampala to Kasese, Tororo to Pakwach, Kampala to Malaba and Kampala to Kaliro.

The necessary feasibility study for reopening the 333km Kampala-Kasese line is complete. Consultants are to be appointed to undertake the engineering design for upgrading the Kampala-Malaba section. According to Byabagambi, the current cost of constructing a kilometre of line is $US2 million. The necessary funds, he said, are being mobilised.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Someone has stumbled upon free advertising for the black sheep of Uganda’s transportation sector- the railway. Rail transport has steadily retrenched in the public eye for the last 20 years.

The rail sector still carries cargo- sometimes. The rail lines have been vandalised in many parts of the country but the old iron sleepers still stubbornly remain over most of the tracks.

In its heyday, it took two days to reach Kasese but each time the iron-snake rolled into the hinterland communities of Bunyoro, Tooro, Ankole and Kasese, these small towns came to life. On one such trip in 1989, the train broke down for at least a day in Myanzi, a small township in Mubende District. For hours in our travel company, we could not figure out whether the language spoken was Luganda, Lunyoro, Lutooro or a combination of all three.

When the school child with her schoolbag cleared the platform to board the train, captured in a newspaper front page photograph, train enthusiasts had something fresh to latch on the return of regularly scheduled transportation.

The absence of passenger traffic on our railway lines for so long mirrors a deterioration in the quality of the public sector. In fact, the railway is one of the links to keep the nation coherent.

What we have on the roads, especially in Kampala, is a mistake that has gone on too long. The strain on urban roads from motorists, transporters, and non-vehicular traffic is far more than the road design can hold.

Commuters benefit from options. Regular passenger trains may relieve some of this pressure and allow city residents options to settle farther away from the congested city centre.

It is a pity that Uganda’s loud environmental lobby has not yet embraced the train. For some, like Lubaga South MP Ken Lukyamuzi, it may be the time to pressure government into constructing proper train stations to popularise this form of transport.

The public embrace of the train defeats the notion peddled for years by forces that were intent on killing the railway once and for all, that Ugandans could not board trains. The train seemed to be a dirty word. What we have reached today in terms of urban motoring is an impossible disgrace. 
It is the equivalent of trying to sieve charcoal through a funnel designed to pour liquid. At its outset, the rail lines could reach Nakawa, Makindye and Lubaga divisions. Kawempe has the Northern By-Pass. This coverage is good enough to start.

RVR may need a second operator specialised in urban transport but the growth opportunity is huge. A city the size of Kampala with two million daytime residents can support a light rail system with a more comprehensive network.

The futile decongestion of the city centre is possible without moving buildings. Suburban workers can arrive in the city in one piece without being forced to jump onto boda bodas once traffic gridlocks at famous chokepoints like Clock Tower.

It is a public shame that on working days, the Central Railway Station-- a historical building-- looks like a closed Gombolola headquarters forlorn; and speaking of its once glorious past, until someone comes with an idea to tear it down and with it history. In fact, all the buildings around the Central Railway Station seem to be in a state of perpetual disrepair-- the dilapidated structures on the next prize- Uganda Railway Corporation land in Nsambya; Eagen Mansions on Kampala Road and so on.

Across the world, one wonders whether our politicians ever take time to board some of these wonders that snake the world’s big cities. Passenger rail is a staple of most modern cities and normally has powerful patrons.

Granted; the Queen travels by royal carriage but elsewhere, US Vice President Joe Biden Jr. is a famous Amtrak passenger commuting from Delaware to Washington DC for most of his time as a US Senator.

In India, the headquarters of plenty and want, railways is a fully-fledged cabinet department. Public transit would famously benefit from a stiff lip passenger like Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi and his quest for a “more efficient” government.

The modern economy seems to be very incompatible with the train. You accomplish a lot of work at high speeds and the occasional gaze in the window. Broadband is now a staple in modern systems. For Uganda even the simple fact of converting one carriage into a classroom for kids to catch up on their homework is good enough.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Around 30 retired Queensland Rail diesel-electrics went on board at Brisbane in mid-May bound for Durban, drawn from classes 1700 (about 16 locos), 2600 (13)  and 3100 (3). Others include GL26C/GT26LC models from classes 2100, 2250 and 2300. The locos are destined for rehabilitation at Transnet Rail Engineering, with an eye to onward sale to railways in Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the DRC or Angola – all of which depend on the much maligned “Cape gauge”. At least a further 20 years’ service for each revamped loco is envisaged.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

One person was killed instantly at the level crossing in Kampala’s old Port Bell road when a train ran into three people on a “boda-boda” (commuter motor bike). The cyclist and the second passenger were reported to be unconscious in hospital. Eyewitnesses told the police that the train hooted several times but the cyclist ignored the warnings.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

RIFT Valley Railways (RVR), the consortium operating Kenya and Uganda's railways, has announced a $US 62m investment plan to buy new wagons and to rehabilitate its existing fleet.

 

The investment is a major part of RVR's five-year modernisation programme and CEO Mr Brown Ondego says it will enable the railway to increase the capacity of each train to 1500 tonnes which is a major step in the plans to increase RVR's freight share from 4% to 35% by 2014.

"We will be able to run higher-capacity trains, thereby improving our loading capacity and reducing the operation's transit times," Ondego says.

Despite reporting 13% growth in 2011, RVR's bulk freight volumes fell to 1.6 million tonnes in 2011 from the 2.3 million tonnes it carried in 2007 amidst fierce competition from road freight carriers.

RVR recently secured a $US 164m loan from the African Development Bank, Equity Bank, and the World Bank's private lending arm, IFC, to revamp its operations and infrastructure with the five-year plan encompassing the rehabilitation of at least 100 locomotives, 3500 wagons and modernising the entire track infrastructure on the 2352km route.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided $US 500m to the East African Community (EAC), which covers Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, to roll out projects under its Railway Master Plan starting this year.  

  The money will be used to establish a technical unit to coordinate the upgrading of existing railways and the construction of new lines.

 

The unit will spearhead planned projects including the upgrading of Tanzania's 970km Dar es Salaam - Isaka line and construction of two new lines: a 494km extension from Isaka to Kigali in Rwanda, of which 355km will be in Tanzania and 139km in Rwanda, and a 197km line from Keza to Musongati, which will include 139km in Burundi and 58km in Tanzania. These will be the first railways to be built in Rwanda and Burundi.

A feasibility study will also be carried out into the proposed establishment of the East Africa Railway Authority to coordinate rail transport in the five countries. The AfDB funding will also enable the EAC to harmonise the regulatory and legal framework for railway operations in the five member countries and carry out prefeasibility and feasibility studies of rail links within the region.

EAC secretary general Mr Richard Sezibera says railways in the region currently provide less than 10% of the required transport capacity for heavy and bulk freight despite attempts at concessioning the network, which is causing heavy stress on the EAC road network and increasing maintenance costs.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is to refurbish the main workshop in Uganda at Nalukulongo. Roko Construction Ltd has been awarded a three-month contract worth $US410,000, with work commencing in September. 2012. The facility was built originally to provide the former East African Railways (Uganda section) with  capacity for maintenance of rolling stock.

Prominent among current projects is wagon rehabilitation, with 54 of a targeted 365 completed to date. The work is being sponsored by a $3.5 million  Kfw grant. Work on overhauling eight diesel locomotives, taking approximately six months, is expected to start in September 2012 fat a cost of $3.3 million


 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has applied for government authority to operate commuter passenger service in Uganda, CEO Brown Ondego told the Kampala Observer.  Public liability insurance has been obtained, he said, adding: “We have all the facilities for commuter services.”

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Roko construction Ltd has been awarded a $US410,000 contract to refurbish the Nalukolongo railway workshops in Kampala, to return the complex to its original form and meet the required standards for ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. The workshop is currently revamping its output programme.

Locomotives and other rolling stock should be overhauled after every four years, but in some areas there is a 30-year backlog, says Rift Valley Railways (RVR) executive director Brown Ondego. To date, 54 wagons out of a targeted 365 have been refurbished. At least eight locomotives are to be overhauled in the current programme.  Spare parts are a problem for the older units. Where none are available, they have to be fabricated.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Contractors Multiplex Ltd, appointed early in 2012 to repair infrastructure on the railway between Busembatia and Jinja in Uganda at a cost of $US5.4 million, reports that 70% of the work required has been completed. Rift Valley Railways (RVR) says in a statement that most of the precasting work needed for strengthening concrete culverts is finished. RVR chairman Ngugi Kiuna is quoted by the Kampala Observer saying that the rehabilitation of 365 wagons and overhaul of eight locomotives should be accomplished within five years. Financing of the project is being facilitated with a grant from KFW of Germany. To date, 70 wagons have been overhauled at the Nalukolongo railway workshop in Kampala and work on the locomotives has commenced

 
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Uganda to build inland port to reduce reliance on Kenya

Kampala

13 February 2013



Uganda plans to build an inland port on Lake Victoria near its capital Kampala to reduce its near-total dependence on Kenya's Mombasa, plagued by strikes and congestion, and vulnerable to disruption from any violence around elections next month.

Post-election violence five years ago in Kenya left Uganda largely cut off from the sea and acutely short of fuel and other goods, as well as cutting off trade routes to landlocked Rwanda and Burundi for weeks.

The port would take three years to build and cost about USD 180 million, said Mr. Cypriano Okello, Project Coordinator at the Ministry of Works and Transport.

A strike in November paralysed Mombasa, east Africa's main trade gateway, and the port has suffered a series of strikes by dockworkers, truckers and even management officials demanding higher pay.

Uganda's government says it is making strategic plans to avoid disruption from any violence around Kenya's March 4 elections, partly by using road routes through Tanzania.

When the port at Bukasa, on the outskirts of Kampala, is finished, Ugandan imports will be cleared through Tanzania's Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga and ferried by rail to Tanzania's Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Tanzania also plans to extend its rail network from Arusha to Musoma port to create an alternative route to be covered by both rail and marine transport, Mr. Okello said.

"Getting an alternative to the sea is top, top priority and so we have identified a site for this inland port already and procured a contractor," Mr. Okello said.

The Ugandan government estimates the inland port will have capacity to handle eight million tonnes of cargo a year.

A reduction on cargo shipments via road on the so-called northern route from Mombasa through Kenya and Uganda, would also reduce the damage on Ugandan roads caused by the rattle of heavy trucks and save money on repairs, Mr. Okello said.

 
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Ugandan works and transport minister Abraham Byandala, commenting on Kenya’s decision to build a standard gauge railway from Mombasa to the border at Malaba, told East African Business Week in Kampala that “it would only make sense” to extend the new line into Uganda. In terms of a contract signed between Uganda and Kenya, he was quoted explaining, it had been agreed “to work together in the development of this standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Kampala, then to Kasese.” Byandala emphasised that the concession that Kenya and Uganda have with Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is not affected by these activities.  “The concession was written in such a way that right from the word go, they (RVR) agreed that we can continue or we can start constructing a standard gauge line”.

His ministry, Byandala disclosed to the paper, has contracted two companies to reconstruct the Malaba-Kampala section of railway and is “in the process of signing a deal” with another firm to work on extending the 503km Tororo-Gulu-Pakwach line to Nimule on the border with South Sudan. In addition, he said, the ministry has engaged a South African company to “look into” the 333km Kampala-Kasese line, which has been out of operation for many years.

Former executive director of the Uganda Investment Authority Dr Maggie Kigozi told East African Business Week that poor railway and road infrastructure is a “barrier to investment” in the country

 

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