The old saying: “always something new out of Africa” is alive and well in Tanzania. Only a week or two ago, Uganda’s Daily Monitor quoted minister of works and transport Abraham Byandala saying that $US3 billion was budgeted by the governments of his country and Tanzania for a new railway to run from the Tanzanian port of Tanga to Nimule (on the Sudanese border) by way of Arusha, Musoma, Kampala, Tororo and Gulu.
Only a week later, Transport World Africa on line quoted The East African giving a figure of $4.7 billion for a new line along the same route. A curious thing about this second version is a statement indicating the new line “will run alongside the $3 billion Tanga-Arusha-Musoma-Kampala railway”. As there is no such line at present (except the metre-gauge, out-of-use Tanga-Arusha portion) this sounds as though $3bn is to be spent on one new line, and a separate $4.7bn on a line running alongside it.
The $4.7bn line, according to The East African, is to be 1,435mm gauge. The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the paper says, is busy with a feasibility study. It quotes CCECC managing director Wang Xiangdong saying: “We are expecting to hand over the feasibility study by April, while construction of the 880km railway line is expected to be completed by 2015.”
[ We suspect the papers’ journalists have got their lines crossed. Exactly the same figure – $4.7bn – is the latest price-tag for the new Dar es Salaam-Rwanda line which goes nowhere near Tanga, Arusha, Musoma or Kampala. It does run parallel to the existing metre gauge as far as Isaka – and that happens to be 880km from Dar. – editor: Railways Africa