4 February 2013

Zambia: ZRL to Use Local Materials for Rail Rehab

ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) will generate material for rail construction locally, ZRL managing director Clive Chirwa has said.

Professor Chirwa said materials would be generated from within the country as he intended to create an institute of rail construction at the firm's head office in Kabwe.

He said the ambitious programme would target to produce wagons, locomotives, coaches, locally to help cut down on import costs.

Professor Chirwa said this during a discussion programme organised by the Engineering Institute of Zambia on Thursday evening.

The railway firm would require an additional US$1.5 billion for the reconstruction of the network.

He said the reconstruction project would run more than a three-year period and would create 10,000 jobs mainly for youths.

About 48 per cent additional financing would have to be floated to the private sector as key stakeholders to revamp the deplorable rail system.

"Everything has been designed and I am a person who is against the unnecessary time-wasting on feasibility studies. So there will be no feasibility study in this operation, what will be there is total implementation," Prof Chirwa said.

In the three-year period, he would create nine groups which he referred to as modules each tasked to reconstruct 100 kilometres of railway line.

The groups would commence works as broken down as Victoria Falls to Mayoba a stretch of 105kilometres, module two would work from Mayoba to Choma, which was 112kilometres; module three would work on the 101 stretch from Choma to Monze.

Module four would work from Monze to Naluwama which was 101kilometres; module five would work from Naluwama to Chisamba which was 109kilometres, while module six would undertake works from Chisamba to Luanshimba which was 103kilometres.

From Luanshimba to Kafulafuta which was 104 kilometres, would be undertaken by module seven.

Module eight and nine would work from Kafulafuta to Mabote (94kilometres) and Mabote to Chingola (92 kilometres).

Prof Chirwa also said the undertaking would be done in three shifts to ensure the reconstruction work was expeditiously done.

Prof Chirwa was confident that his railway masterplan would help boost economic power of the railway potential.

Prof Chirwa's vision was to have an efficient railway network that was profitable as a core business and that was the envy of the world and strategically connecting Zambia to its natural borders and overseas.

"We are confident that within three years Zambia will see a modern rail system that will give dignity to passengers and also the one that departs and reaches destinations on time. The whole line will be fenced 50 metres from the rail," he said.

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