Dar es Salaam commuter rail service stalled

The Dar es Salaam commuter railway services, originally scheduled to open in October, now look as though they might not be launched until a later date.

The transport minister Harrison Mwakyembe has blamed the delay on the "invasion" of the tracks by settlers seeking compensation for evacuating the area.

The commuter rail services would run for 12 km from Ubungo in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam to Stesheni in the city centre, and for some 35 km from Mwakanga outside Dar es Salaam to Kurasini, near Dar es Salaam port.

Mwakyembe said the trains – designed to reduce congestion in the city – would have a capacity to carry about 36,000 passengers a day. He said the government would spend Sh4.75bn/- on renovating the Ubungo-Stesheni line while the Mwakanga-Kurasini route would require some Sh838m/- , including the renovation of three locomotives and 14 passenger coaches.

The railway project involves collaboration between the transport ministry, the Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO), Tanzania Railways Ltd and Tanzania Zambia Railways Ltd.

About Sh4 billion is lost daily in the city over decreased productivity, wasted fuel and late delivery of products as a result of traffic jams, according to estimates made by traffic authorities in 2010.