By Spy Uganda
Work to upgrade the 1000mm-gauge route from the Ugandan capital Kampala to Malaba on the border with Kenya is due to finish next month, according to contractor China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
“We have rehabilitated over 200km and are at 95%,” CRBC engineer, Mr Qin Jian said.
“We shall be able to hand over the project in February as planned,” he said. “We want to complete the rehabilitation work on time so that the trains can keep moving.”
Work has included laying new rail on concrete sleepers and rock ballast, and has been carried out in two phases.
The first phase included track renewals on the Kampala – Namanve and Tororo – Malaba sections, totalling 28km, and engineering design for a multi-modal hub at Kampala.
A total of 245km are being upgraded under the second phase, which covers the Namanve – Tororo and Kampala – Kyengera sections as well as the branches from Kampala to Port Bell and to Jinja port.
The second phase also includes the acquisition of new locomotives and wagons and workshop equipment.
The Kampala – Malaba upgrade is being funded with a $US 301m loan from the African Development Bank (ADB).
The route forms part of the Northern Corridor of the East African Community, linking Kampala with the port of Mombasa in Kenya.
Completion of the upgrade is expected to increase rail capacity and lower transport costs. Uganda Railways says that passenger hubs will be built alongside upgrades of the Kampala – Mukono, Mukono – Kyengera and Kampala – Port Bell routes.
DMU-worked passenger services are expected to help reduce road congestion.