Kampala — Rift Valley Railways (RVR) the concessionaire for the Uganda-Kenya Railway has released plans to rehabilitate the Tororo Pakwach line.
The Northern line which has been out of operation for the last 18years due to insecurity and vandalism runs between, Tororo - Mbale - Kumi - Soroti - Lira - Gulu - Packwach, a distance about 500km.
The General Manager of RVR Uganda Mr. Mark Rumanyika said "the Northern line is a very important part of our concession and will play an increasingly strategic role in our business development going forward.
"Landlocked Southern Sudan has recently become independent, commercially viable Hydro Carbons have been discovered in the Albertine Graben and peace has returned to the North meaning that the potential for business growth is virtually unlimited."
Rumanyika added that the work on the Northern line, which will cost $2million commenced on the 19th November 2012 and will use a three- phased approach.
"First phase which includes clearing of bushes, weeding, and removal of anthills will be undertaken by Kato contractors, a Ugandan Engineering company," said Rumanyika.
Kato contractors will employ local communities to do the work.
"The second phase will involve restoration of washed out areas due to flooding especially in Soroti and installation of new culverts where required. The final phase will involve replacement of vandalized locations," stressed Rumanyika. A total of 10% of the line needs to be restored.
"The contractor has hit the ground running and we are confident they will start registering significant progress.
"RVR is working very close to the Government to ensure the project is a success because we both understand the stakes involved and potential impact this project can have on the Northern region, to the country and the East African community as a whole.
Opening up the central economies to the rest of the world is one of the most important aspects of the East African integration project EAC and we fully intend to play our part in accelerating this process," said Rumanyika.
The Managing Director of Kato Engineering noted that "rehabilitation of the Northern line will be a challenging project given the length of the line and the amount of time it has been non- operational, we are however confident of beating the nine month contractual deadline of the 25th of August 2013".
Rehabilitation of the Northern Railway line in Uganda is one of the major transformation projects aimed at improving the business RVR has undertaken in the last year.
Others include; repair and replacement of nine major culverts between Busembatia and Jinja in eastern Uganda, overhauling of 365 wagons in a KFW funded project and overhauling of 8 locomotives.
Rift Valley Railways also embarked on the replacement of 70km of railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi, the Automatic Train warranty project as other business process improvement projects that RVR rolled out this year.