Sky Way Investment Group (SWIG) has pitched its ideas of a commercial cable train in Ethiopia - a globally new technology which is said to be less space consuming than the traditional railway construction. SWIG proposed the idea of installing the transportation facility in Ethiopia and the way of financing to Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport (MoT) as well as to officials at the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau.
The officials are said to have shown interest in the idea going to the extent of verbally agreeing to provide a piloting space possibly from Ayat to Tulu Dimtu, it was learnt.
According to the company that developed and tested the technology in Belarus, the new way of building a railway will save a lot of space in urban cities and suits mountainous, frosty as well as hard to reach places.
The new rail technology is said to link airports to city centers, city centers to the suburbs and nearby cities with freight transportation.
SWIG presented the technological capacities of the railway as well as ways of financing it at a workshop it organized at Ghion Hotel, Addis Ababa a week ago.
The company intends to finance the development through public private partnerships where the general public will be able to invest in it.
The estimated value of a city high-speed track, without the cost of rolling stock, passenger stations, terminals and infrastructure is said to be around USD three million per km, according to the company
SWIG came to Ethiopia with the help of Technosaat, a company owned by Ethiopians involved in the development and adaptation of various technologies to the country. Technosaat will be an official partner of SWIG for the implementation of the Ethiopian chapter.
Having demonstrated its application in Belarus, SWIG has now been given the green light from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to install the same technology for commercial uses in Dubai, company representatives said.
The new technology, according to SWIG, has competitive advantages over the traditional method of developing railways in that it significantly reduces "land take for tracks and infrastructure, elimination of earth banks, removals, transport tunnels, bridges, crossovers, multilevel transport junctions and water sluices, elimination of safeguard railings and sound barriers from the linear portion of the high-speed track, rugged topography, low strength of underlying subgrade or complex geographical and climatic conditions do not lead to higher costs of the rail string elevated structure, reduces in a bigger scale the resource intensity of a rail string elevated structure, compared to the traditional transport elevated structure with continuous roadway."
Although to its most part, the transport technology is said to be advantageous, there are critics saying that it might be disrupted during bad weather. Some also questioned its safety as it will be suspended above the ground.