LUANDA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Angolan Minister of Transport Augusto Tomas hailed the rehabilitation of Benguela Railway as peace gains Angolans had been enjoying since decades of armed conflicts came to an end in 2002, official sources said here on Monday.
The minster made the remarks during a weekend experimental train trip of the 202-km uambo-Kuito railway in the central Huambo Province to Bie province, which is part of the 1300-km Benguela Railway, starting from the Benguela in the western Atlantic coast to the western border town of Luao in the Moxigo province, which remained out of operation during the past 24 years.
"We are living an unforgettable moment and represents what Angolans are living," Tomas told reporters during the inspection tour, said the circulation of the experimental train between the cities of Huambo and Kuito reflected the peace Angolans have been enjoying for 10 years. He expressed satisfaction at the implementation level of the rehabilitation works carried out by the Chinese Railway Construction Company within the established deadlines set by the Angolan government. Also during the inspection tour, Deputy Governor for Economic Affairs of Bie province Ana Maria Muvuay said in Kuito city the start of operation of the Benguela Railway (CFB) will help implement the famine and poverty combat program designed by the Angolan government. Muvuay said the operation of the railway will facilitate an exchange of goods and transportation of products from the rural areas to other parts of the country at affordable prices, and that the railway will also connect Angola from economic, political and social points of view.
The train arrived Saturday in Kuito on an experimental trip carrying aboard government officials, including Transport Minister Augusto Tomas and local governors.
Luena — The commercial exchange between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), through Luau border, will increase with the rehabilitation works of the Benguela Railway Company (CFB) in Luau, ANGOP has learnt.
This stand belongs to the consul of the DRC in Moxico, Mulumba MVita Bernard, while speaking to ANGOP, under the commemorations of the Peace and National Reconciliation Day, April 04.
He said that the restoration of train service after 24 years will help to diversify and increase commerce, with highlight to fuels.
Moxico Province is linked to the DRC through the border with Luau and Dilolo.
CFB TEST TRAIN AT KUITO
on April 3, 2012 in Angola
On 31 March 2012, the first Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB) official test train arrived at Kuito, in the province of Bie, about 560km from Lobito. The train conveyed a number of government dignitaries from Huambo, headed by Angolan minister of transport Augusto da Silva TomÃ¡s, who explained that the next step will bring the reopened line to Luena, 990km from the coast. Bie provincial governor Ãlvaro Manuel Boavida Neto was also on board.
CNR began shipping 120 coaches to Angola in late February.
.PRIVATE INVOLVEMENT IN ANGOLAâ€™S RLYS
on April 10, 2012 in Angola
The Angolan government intends to merge the countryâ€™s railway companies â€“ Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB), Caminhos de ferro de MoÃ§amedes (CFM) and Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL â€“ into one authority and to concession their operation to private initiative.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the Luanda government, â€œplans to sell off commercial and operational aspects of the railways to private companies, whilst keeping a controlling stakeâ€œ in a new company called Caminhos de Ferro de Angola. The state is to retain ownership of the infrastructure; operating companies will manage the actual services.
INTERNATIONAL LINKS FOR ANGOLAN RAILWAYS
on April 10, 2012 in Angola
The Angolan government has approved a plan entitled Development of the Integrated Railroad System, which envisages the construction of new international links from each of the countryâ€™s three main railways. Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB) is to have a new branch from a point east of Luacano in Moxico province to connect with Zambiaâ€™s Lumwana line, currently under construction. This will provide a direct connection with the Zambian rail system, bypassing the present route through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Caminhos de ferro de MoÃ§amedes is to be linked with the Namibian rail system at Oshikango by way of an extension to be built from Cuvango south of Cassinga, on the existing branch from Dongo junction (which lies 500km east of the Atlantic port of Namibe). Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL) is to have a northern branch serving the provinces of Bengo, UÃge and Zaire, extending to a link with the Congo-Ocean Railway and Cabinda (which would require a lengthy bridge across the Congo River). No detailed intentions concerning this line have been revealed.
Angola's railroad services to be privatised
12. April 2012
The Angolan government has plans to privatise the country's main railroad companies. Commercial and operational parts of the railroads will be sold to private enterprises, but the state will keep will retain its ownership of the infrastructure amd a controlling stake in a new company called Caminhos de Ferro de Angola. The new company will be the result of merging the Benguela Railroad(CFB), the Luanda Railroad (CFL) and the Moçâmedes Railroad (CFM). (ben)
Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB) expects the new station at Luena in Moxico province, 990km from Lobito, to be finished by June. President José Eduardo dos Santos visited the town on 4 April and minister of transport Augusto da Silva Tomás said that the line would be complete as far as Luau, 334km from Luena, by December. He expects the first train to arrive in Luena by August.
.THREE DIE ON LUANDA LINE TRACKS
on April 18, 2012 in Mishaps Africa
To date this year, three people have died under trains on the main line out of Luanda, capital of Angola, apparently due to carelessly walking on the track. Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL) and the national police have appealed to locals to treat the railway with respect and not take unnecessary risks.
Moçamedes Railway workers committed to development
Lubango – The Moçamedes Railway (CFM–E.P) workers Friday in Lubango, southern Huila province, expressed their readiness to fully respond to the country’s socio-economic development challenges.
In a message read out at the closing of the seminar on “Happy Enterprise” by João Marcelino Massualale, on behalf of his colleagues, the workers assured their commitment to the development of the railway firm with discipline, tenacity and patriotism.
They said the adjustment to their new salaries and the ongoing process of training are positive signs of the Transport Ministry’s good direction.
On the occasion, the workers also pledged to face and handle all challenges placed before them by the Government.
.ANGOLAN SOUTHERN RAIL LINE
on May 16, 2012 in Angola
On 5 May, Angolan minister of transport Augusto TomÃ¡s inspected rehabilitation progress on Caminhos de ferro de MoÃ§amedes (CFM).
CEO Daniel Paxe said that 90% of the project is complete between Namibe and Menongue and that 56 stations are almost ready. Test running from Namibe to Lubango is expected to commence in July. The minister expressed his satisfaction with the work.
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.
on June 7, 2012 in Mishaps Africa
On 30 May, an eight-coach train of Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL) en route from the Viana district to Boavista (in the urban district of Ingombota), derailed. Only minor damage was caused and there were no injuries. An official at the CFL Press Office told the Angop news agency that the accident was caused by the train driver who was responsible for a “negligent manoeuvre”.
on June 12, 2012 in Angola
Speaking to journalists at a press conference on 9 June, Caminhos de ferro de Moçamedes (CFM) chairman Daniel Quipaxe said rehabilitation of the line between Namibe and Menongue (756km) is 98% complete, including 56 stations, and that passenger trains will definitely be running by August. The first train between Namibe and Lubango (246km) is scheduled for 30 June.
Quipaxe reported that 87 freight wagons are available to transport various types of cargo including fuel, and there are 20 passenger coaches of different classes including restaurant facilities.
Revival of the line began in 2005. Following a break in progress due to the global financial crisis, work resumed in 2009. The government invested $US1 billion in the project
6/15/12 12:15 PM
New CFB railway stations employ 240 youths
Lobito – The construction and rehabilitation of eleven railway stations of Benguela Railways (CFB), at Lobiton/Bimbas section, in Benguela Province, inaugurated Thursday by the minister of Transport, Augusto da Silva Tomás, allowed the creation of 240 jobs.
In an interview to ANGOP, during the inauguration ceremony of Catumbela station, which might employ 40 workers, the director of the station, Arminda Augusta, said that Angolans should be proud about the governmental efforts in the rehabilitation of CFB.
As part of the inauguration programme of CFB infrastructures, the minister of Transport, Augusto da Silva Tomás is travelling this Friday from Lobito to the province of Huambo to inaugurate the existing stations at that section.
on June 19, 2012 in Angola
The creation of an Angolan railway museum at Huambo is a strategic project with importance for the revival of tourism in the province. The museum aims to feature technology and architecture in strengthening the identity and enhancement of existing rail assets, at the same time emphasising the joint estate between traditional and new technologies. The possible operation of a tourist train within the province or with regular connections with the coast is seen as a promising vehicle for promoting and facilitating the tourism industry in the region, attracting people who appreciate the opportunity to relive memories of the past by providing the appropriate flavour of historic amenities and comfort. In the long term it is the intention to offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely trip on a historic train, with steam locomotive and carriages dating from the beginning of the last century
Luanda — At least nine railway stations on Viana/Dondo line, will be inaugurated on Friday by the Transport Minister Augusto Tomas, under the recovery programme of roads countrywide for the benefit of the population.
According to a note that reached Angop, Thursday, there will be inaugurated stations of Viana, Kapalanga, Junction, Bay, Catete, Barraca, Zenza do Itombe, Cassualala and Dondo.
"The openings are intended to achieve the dream of people to move freely and easily throughout the country, once peace permits, and will facilitate the rapid integration of the national economy," reads the document.
On 14 June, eleven newly-built stations on Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB) were officially inaugurated by Angolan transport minister Augusto Tomas together with Benguela governor Armando da Cruz Neto and deputy governor Augustine Felizardo. Later ten stations between the cities of Huambo and Kunje in the province of Bie were inaugurated.
On 15 June it was the turn of the stations Tchindjenje, Ucuma, Longonjo, Lepi, Calenga, Caálaand St Peter.
On 18 June, minister Tomas officially inaugurated nine newly-built stations between Viana and Dondo on Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL). These were Viana, Kapalanga, Junction, Bay, Catete, Barraca, Zenza do Itombe, Cassualala and Dondo.
On 18 June, a ten-coach train from Lobito on Caminhos de ferro de Benguela (CFB) reached Kunje, in the municipality of Kuito, central Bie province, Angola – the first to do so in 30 years. Angolan minister of transport Augusto da Silva Tomás formally inaugurated the new Kunje station.
On 31 March 2012, a test train had arrived at Kuito, conveying a number of government dignitaries from Huambo, headed by minister da Silva Tomás and Bie provincial governor Álvaro Manuel Boavida Neto.
on July 3, 2012 in Angola
Some 240 people would be employed at eleven rehabilitated stations recently inaugurated by transport minister Augusto da Silva Tomás on Caminhos de ferro se Benguela (CFB). This was disclosed in an interview with Angola’s official news agency Angop by Catumbela stationmaster Arminda Augusta, who said he expected to employ about 40 workers
on July 10, 2012 in Angola
The second conference of SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) ministers of transport and meteorology responsible for infrastructure took place on 28 June 2012 in Luanda. A draft regional steering plan for the development of infrastructures in the region was analysed and is to be submitted to the next summit of SADC heads of state and government in the community, scheduled for August in Maputo.
On 13 July, ten new stations on Caminhos de ferro de Luanda (CFL) in the Malanje and Kwanza-Norte provinces were inaugurated by Angolan transport minister Augusto da Silva Tomás: Lombe, Zanga, Cacuso, Cambunze, Quizenga, Lucala, Ndalatando, Canhoca, Luinha and Ndalahui.
Benguela, 500km south of Luanda, seems a different world from the capital – a neat, laid-back city with pink villas shaded by acacia trees, towering palms in its squares and the country’s best beaches.
When Angola gets tourism together, it will be a destination.
But the main reason the name of this old slave port and provincial capital has resonance is the railway built in the early decades of the last century 1,340km into the interior, one of the legendary exploits of colonial Africa, and the venture’s latter-day revival an emblem of China’s new role in infrastructure projects across the continent.
“Angola is a building site,” reads a painted slogan at a football ground near Benguela’s new station. True, but it has become largely a Chinese building site.
Using loans obtained by mortgaging future oil supplies, Angola has contracted out the main share of its reconstruction to the Chinese. Nothing symbolises this role more than the $1.5bn Benguela railway, built by China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation and to a large extent by Chinese labour.
Not much is going on, however, at the station, decked with rows of shiny metal seats. Services along the 30km stretch running north to the terminus at the deepwater port of Lobito resumed less than a year ago for the first time since 2002, the year the fighting stopped. So far, there are just two trains a day, using old locomotives and rolling stock. New units – imported from China – are still being fitted out.
The line striking out east from Benguela has been restored to Luena, 1,000km away. Scheduled services go part of the way, to the city of Huambo. Miss your train there and you have to wait at least a week for the next one. But then, up to last year, no trains came at all for 20 years.
When the refurbished line reaches the Democratic Republic of Congo border, possibly around the end of the year, it will reconnect a transcontinental route between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, opening a trade corridor through Angola’s hinterland.
A new mineral terminal, also Chinese-built, is nearing completion in Lobito, providing an outlet for copper and other ores from the DRC and Zambia – the purpose the railway was originally built for.
The venture began with a concession granted in 1902 to Sir Robert Williams, a Scottish entrepreneur, who formed the Benguela Railway Company. Work started in 1905, initially under Sir John Norton-Griffiths, or “Empire Jack”, a British soldier and engineer who had served in the second Boer war. Difficult terrain, so steep on one part of the original route that it required a rack-and-pinion system, was not the only problem. It suffered repeated setbacks – disruption by war in Europe, soaring costs, a chronic Portuguese debt crisis, refusal by Britain to guarantee debentures and then, after the railway was finally inaugurated in 1929, world depression.
Run by a subsidiary of Société Générale de Belgique, the railway never fulfilled its promise. After independence Angola’s, sabotage by Unita rebels and minefields along the route left it inoperative. When the concession expired a decade ago, it was in disuse.
What transformed its prospects for reviving the railway was the offer of virtually open-ended Chinese finance. Angola’s first $2bn line of credit from the state-owned China Exim Bank was announced in 2004, just when the government had broken off negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, baulking at IMF insistence on reforms and transparency.
Further credit lines followed on similar terms – long-term loans repayable through deliveries of oil. China relies more on Angola for its oil imports than any other source apart from Saudi Arabia, and it is Angola’s biggest client. International officials emphasise that the funding terms are by no means concessional. But Angola had no alternative at the time. “It was the only way to get it,” says one official. “When you are in that situation, surely you are not going to get it cheap.”
Manuel Vicente, the top economy minister, last month put total Chinese credit at $10bn, while China’s outgoing ambassador was quoted earlier saying the accumulated credit lines came to $14.5bn. In any case, Angola has used up only part, despite dozens of big public works projects, including a new international airport under construction outside Luanda, a university campus and a vast 20,000-unit social housing development south of the capital. by a real estate arm of the oil company Sonangol in conjunction with China’s state-owned Citic group.
The vehicle for most of the choice projects is the Hong Kong-based China International Fund and its affiliate, China Sonangol, a complex and secretive alliance of private and public interests. At times Angola’s new cityscapes look more like China than Africa. The frequent use of Chinese on signs and hoardings reinforces the illusion. With skills and locally sourced materials in short supply, Chinese contractors bring them in, relying on experienced Chinese workers more than the training of local employees.
During a visit to Beijing in April, the head of Angola’s migration department told the national news agency, Angop, there were nearly 260,000 Chinese in the country. They mostly live in separate communities. In Luanda’s south-eastern outskirts, in a district called Vila Chinesa (Chinese Village), a China Jiangsu company compound resembles a large army barracks, controlled by implacable armed guards.
Outside Benguela station, a man sweeping rubble from the entrance introduces himself as Mr Wang from Xi’an in central-northwest China. He has been in Angola for three years but speaks little Portuguese.
Other Chinese have settled into commercial activities such as motorbike stores, car repairs and stalls selling flip-flop sandals. “We are all trying to work out where the Chinese women are,” says Nancy Gottlieb, an American who runs a school of English and guest house in Benguela. “We never see them.”
on July 24, 2012 in Angola
At recent functions to mark the opening of ten stations in the Malanje and Kwanza Norte provinces east of Luanda, Angolan transport minister Augusto da Silva Tomás disclosed that some $US3.3 billion have been spent on reconstructing the railways from Luanda, Benguela and Moçâmedes. The stations included Lombe, Zanga, Cacuso, and Cambunze Quizenga (on Malanje), as well as those of Lucala, Ndalatando, Canhoca, and Luinha Ndalahui (in Kwanza Norte), spanning a distance of approximately 263km. It is estimated that potential users will number about 875,000. The minister was accompanied at the functions by provincial governors Boaventura Cardoso (Malanje) and Henrique Andre Junior (Kwanza Norte).
on July 31, 2012 in Angola
On 23 July, Angolan minister of transport Augusto da Silva Tomás inaugurated seven new stations on Caminhos de ferro de Moçamedes (CFM) in Angola’s Huila Province. These were at Mapunda, Arimba, Chanja, Dongo, Tuntum, Jamba and Carvalhais, within a distance of 318km extending from Lubango, capital of Huila Province, to Jamba.