Da es Salaam – PLANS are afoot to officially launch the 1.923 billion US dollar (over 4tri/-) construction of the 336-kilometre Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Morogoro to Dodoma.
The groundbreaking ceremony to lay a foundation stone that signals the kicking off of the second phase of the SGR project is scheduled at Makutupora area in the country’s capital, Dodoma, according to Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO).
The second phase of the country’s ambitious project comes barely nine months after President John Magufuli launched the first phase of the SGR, which according to RAHCO Acting Managing Director, Masanja Kadogosa, is progressing well. Phase two of SGR stretches from Morogoro to the political capital of Dodoma, covering 336 kilometres.
Once the project is complete, the government plans to introduce fast and a modern train with a speed of 160kph. The freight train on the other side will have a maximum speed of 120kph.
Speaking in an interview with the ‘Daily News,’ Mr Kadogosa said the second phase of the project whose completion is set in 2020 is due for commencement and all preparations are in order. “We are currently finalizing the logistics within the government and later we will notify the public as to when we will lay the foundation stone for the project,” he said.
The government of Turkey expressed interest to fund the SGR project from Morogoro to Dodoma when President Recep Erdogan toured Tanzania last year. The second phase includes the design and construction of 336 kilometres from Morogoro to Makutopora.
Other phases will cover the 294 kilometres from Makutupora to Tabora, 133 kilometres from Tabora to Isaka and 294 kilometres from Isaka to Mwanza. On the first phase, RAHCO chief expressed optimism that the team on the site was progressing well, saying the work will be accomplished within the set deadline.
The first phase of the SGR project is expected to be completed in 2019. In April 2017, President John Magufuli laid the foundation stone for the construction of the first historic SGR line in East and Central Africa, with the capacity to transport 10,000 tonnes of cargo at once, with the potential of creating over one million jobs upon completion in 2019.
During the historic event at Pugu, some few kilometres west of Dar es Salaam City, Dr Magufuli stressed that his administration focuses on improving infrastructure to expedite the country’s economic growth.
The 1.215 billion US dollar (about 2.7 tri/-) project that is currently being executed by the contractors, YapiMerkezi of Turkey and Mota-Engil of Portugal, is expected to create over 600,000 job opportunities, including 30,000 direct jobs.
The 30-month project will upon completion enable trains to travel at 160 kilometres per hour. It will also comprise 300 kilometres railway line, with 205 kilometres being the main line and 95 kilometres intersections.
There will also be six main stations and six mini-stations for intersections. And, upon completion, the electrified train will take two hours to travel from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma and after the whole project is complete, it will take less than 10 hours to reach Mwanza, the same distance that currently trains use up to 36 hours to cover.