Tanzania debuts Eastern Africa’s first electric train

Tanzania marked a historic milestone on Saturday with the launch of its first electric train, transporting 1,400 passengers on its maiden journey from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, covering a distance of 300 kilometres.

Equipped with cutting-edge electric and signalling systems, this project is celebrated as Eastern Africa’s first electric standard-gauge railway, as reported by Albawaba News. The initial segment of the railway has been completed by Türkiye-based company Yapi Merkezi, which is responsible for four of the five sections of Tanzania’s extensive railway network, spanning over 1,000 kilometres.

Transformative impact

Yapi Merkezi’s Project Manager, M. Firat Aygen, emphasised the transformative impact of the newly inaugurated railway, describing it as the first step towards a broader transportation revolution in the region.

Tanzania Railways Corporation’s General Manager, Masanja Kadogosa, highlighted the project’s significance in fostering economic growth and enhancing transportation efficiency throughout Tanzania and Eastern Africa. He noted that the inaugural journey, which transported passengers for free, reduced travel time between the two cities to just two hours.

Modern infrastructure

The Standard Gauge Railway Station in Dar es Salaam, featuring a shimmering facade of sky-blue glass panels, resembles an opulent airport terminal. Inside, passengers navigate through a maze of escalators, offering panoramic views of the bustling terminal below. The station boasts state-of-the-art ticketing counters and plush waiting lounges equipped with charging ports and other amenities.

Economic and regional connectivity

The electric train project, valued at nearly $2bn, is expected to significantly boost domestic connectivity, trade, and economic opportunities with neighbouring landlocked countries like Uganda and Rwanda. The entire SGR route will run from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, a port city on Lake Victoria, and Kigoma, near the borders with Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, covering nearly 1,300 kilometres.

Currently, the completed section runs from Dar es Salaam to the capital, Dodoma, covering approximately 460 kilometres. This section will be officially inaugurated on July 1, signalling a new era in Tanzania’s transportation infrastructure.

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