Tanzania receives new electric trains for expanded SGR network


Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has taken a major leap forward in its railway modernization efforts with the arrival of two new electric multiple-unit (EMU) trains from South Korea.

These state-of-the-art trains boast eight carriages each and will be deployed on the brand new route connecting Dar es Salaam and Dodoma, scheduled to begin service on July 25th, 2024.

This marks a significant upgrade for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) network.

Adding to the excitement, reports indicate the launch of an express train service between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro as early as this Friday, further enhancing passenger travel options.

The Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) has purchased 10 sets of locomotives and coaches from the Hyundai Rotem Company of South Korea.

Each set includes eight wagons, with a locomotive at both the front and back, and has a capacity of carrying 589 passengers and a travelling speed of 160 kilometres per hour.

In the announcement seen by The Citizen, the new two sets bring the total to three sets already in the country, with the first having arrived in April this year, noting that it is the one currently undergoing trials.

“TRC has received a total of 65 passenger wagons, 17 electric locomotives, and three sets of EMU trains; the receipt of the equipment for the SGR operations is ongoing in different phases,” reads part of the statement.

“The newly arrived equipment will continue to undergo testing for assurance before commencing provision of service,” read another part.

Furthermore, the statement says the corporation was proceeding with initial operations and the provision of electric train transportation services through the international standard between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro.

Speaking on Monday, the Tanzania Bus Owners Association (Taboa) secretary-general, Ms Priscus Joseph, said the train was the largest means of transportation in the world, which is not inevitable, but at the moment there is no passenger challenge as buses and trains altogether get customers.

Mr Joseph advised the government to ensure that it managed the operation of the train, noting that taxpayers would be discouraged once TRC declared losses after a certain period.

"We in the private sector pay taxes, so those who would be employed in the provision of services should work efficiently by considering the taxpayers' money instead of doing business as usual; the equipment has been bought at a high cost, so it must be protected," he said.

Commenting on the matter on Monday, a lecturer at the College of Engineering and Technology (COET) in the Department of Transportation and Geotechnical Engineering of the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr John Elvis, said increasing the number of train trips means that one does not have to live in Morogoro or Dar es Salaam; there are many areas in between those regions, and people can start cities.

"The important thing is that the government should look into the possibility of how to promote the various areas that this train passes through, as well as the TRC, to ensure that fares do not increase at this time so that it can get enough passengers," he said.