Tanzania has started to test its first, maiden, Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) electric train along the Dar-es-salaam and Morogoro section.
The Tanzania SGR train hit a speed of 160Km/h compared to Kenya that uses diesel and can move up to 120Km/h.
It is being expected that, once commissioned for service, the new SGR train should be able to travel at the velocity of 160 kilometers per hour, which is essentially twice the speed of an ordinary bus.
The SRG line between Dar-es-salaam City and Morogoro Station measures 300 kilometers.
On Sunday, Tanzania’s Chief Government Spokesperson through their official social media shared a short clip of the electric SGR during its first test.
Majority of Tanzanians bear reservations regarding efficiency of an electric powered locomotive, taking into considerations that Tanzania always suffer regular power outages.
Tanzania is building the new SGR targeting to replace the rather aged and less efficient meter-gauge railway system, established during the colonial East African Railways.
This proposed Standard Gauge Railway featuring wider and firmer tracks supports heavier loads coupled with higher speed, compared to the older Meter Gauge Railway (MGR).
In May, the government said citizens will wait longer to ride on the electric train, thanks to delays in completion of Julius Nyerere Dam that is expected to produce electricity to power locomotive engines on the SGR.
According to officials, the construction schedule of the dam was re-done and the completion date pushed to 2024.
Railway lines will be complemented with overhead powerlines to supply electricity to the trains and wagons.
The project will be developed in five phases starting from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro at 300 kilometers, which is now complete.
The Railway line’s Phase Two runs from Morogoro to Makutupora, covering 422 kilometers.
Another recently unveiled Phase Three targets to link Makutupora to Tabora Town along a track measuring 294 kilometers long.
From there, the country will embark on the Fourth Phase measuring 130 kilometers to link Tabora with Isaka.
Isaka is going to be the branching point. Here one arm will be extending to Mwanza with an added 249 kilometers in Phase Four to wind up the in-country, Dar to Lake Zone SGR network.
At $1.92 billion, Tanzania appears to have secured the cheapest railway construction deal in the region, given that it will be spending nearly half of what Kenya spent to build the first phase from Mombasa to Nairobi.
Kenya’s line between Mombasa and Nairobi, which was slightly longer by about 50 kilometres, was constructed at a cost of $3.8 billion.