Zambia: ZRL Gets $120 Million Grant for Rehabilitation

GOVERNMENT has released a US$120 million grant to Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) to enable the railway firm to rehabilitate the railway network, chief executive officer Clive Chirwa has said.

Professor Chirwa has also announced that the railway firm would introduce fast trains to operate on the south-north route.

He said following the release of the funds, rehabilitation of the railway line would commence soon.

Prof Chirwa said apart from reconstruction of the rail track, ZRL would build another railway line alongside the existing one from Chingola to Livingstone.

He was speaking in Livingstone on Tuesday when he featured on Falls FM Radio's Special Edition of the Seventh Floor programme.

"We already received a grant of $120 million money from the Government. We know just rehabilitation is not good enough because we need to build a railway line of tomorrow to a standard of moving locomotives and trains," he said.

He said ZRL would ensure that the railway system promoted national development and ensure people travelled safely for work between towns.

Prof Chirwa said coming from a highly sophisticated technological environment, he did not see how he could not design wagons, a railway line as well as a passenger coach and advanced locomotives.

"Today [January 31, 2012], I will be presenting a document to Government in Lusaka at 18:00 hours to highlight especially how the design will be done. The design is already on the computer and people will see the model," he said.

Prof Chirwa yesterday in Livingstone launched an extra passenger train in addition to the existing one.

"We are trying to offer more services to customers. It is unacceptable to operate one train per week.

"People want more than one train and hence we are launching this extra service so that the people of Southern Province can benefit from the extra service," he said.

On job creation, Prof Chirwa said about 100 to 150 people would be employed during the rehabilitation period of three years.

About 980km of the railway line from Chingola to Livingstone would be rehabilitated in three years.

He said the new ZRL commercial department would revamp all the stations which were currently deplorable.

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