Recently the governments of Uganda and Tanzania signed a Memorandum of Understanding and set up a substantive ministerial committees consisting of members from the ministries of finance, EAC affairs, transport and the attorney general to implement the new railway project linking the Tanzanian port of Tanga to Kampala, thence to Nimule (which lies on the border with Southern Sudan). Uganda’s minister of works and transport Abraham Byandala told the Daily Monitor (published in Kampala) that construction is expected to start in the second half of 2012 with a $US3 billion budget funded by the governments of Uganda and Tanzania. He was quoted saying the line is to run from Tanga to Nimule by way of Arusha, Musoma, Kampala, Tororo and Gulu.

According to Byandala, the proposed new railway would be the main transport route for cargo destined for Uganda and South Sudan.

[Earlier reports said the new line from Tanga was to go to Musoma. Cargo would continue by ferry on Lake Victoria to Port Bell in Uganda, from where an existing rail line runs by way of Tororo to Gulu and Pakwach. Tanga-Musoma-Kampala would be a roundabout route if the railway is to be continuous, as implied above. In any event, Uganda’s existing line via Tororo to Gulu is in very poor condition (the Monitor describes it as a “shambles”), requiring complete rebuilding. About 100km of new construction would be needed northwards from Gulu to reach Nimule. The usefulness to Sudan of such a line would depend on heavy new construction being undertaken to link Nimule to the town of Juba (about 150km to the north), – as there is only a very indifferent road – then a further 500km or more to reach the southernmost Sudanese railhead at Wåw. The existing road in this case is shown on the map as nothing more than a “track” – editor, Railways Africa.

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