The Ministry of Works and Transport has said the construction of the Mombasa-Kigali railway line will be completed in March 2018.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Mr Abraham Byandala, the Minister of Works said the heads of State of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda meeting in June in Kampala tasked Uganda to spearhead the development of the railway line from the Mombasa port.
“The leaders agreed to undertake the development of a standard gauge railway (SGR) as a regional project,” he said.
He said feasibility studies for the first phase of the railway from Mombasa to Nairobi covering 500 Kilometres are complete and ground breaking is scheduled for November.
The design for Phase II of the line covering 511 Kilometres from Nairobi to Malaba is being undertaken by the Kenya Railways Cooperation and will be complete by 2013.
Design for the Kampala to Malaba line covering 250 Km will be complete by October 2013 in which a second phase of the Tororo-Packwach railway line was completed in 2011.
Phase III of 344 Km will cover Kampala to Kasese en route to Bihanga-Mirana hills (200 Km).
The government of Rwanda will develop the 200 Kilometres line from Mirama hills to Kigali.
“The Rwandan government has agreed to connect to the Kampala-Kasese line,” said Engineer John Byabagambi, the minister of state for Works.
The overall cost of the railway line is $13 billion (about Shs33 trillion) and the governments are contemplating to look to China for the funding of this ambitious infrastructure by March 2018.
Mr Byabagambi stressed that once completed, the passenger track will travel at 120 Kilometres per hour and 80 Km per hour for cargo estimated to be 25 metric tonnes from the current of 15.
Fate of RVR
The ministers acknowledged that Rift Valley Railways (RVR) — the company with a concession to operate the Kenya-Uganda railway line— will remain operational.
RVR recently launched a Shs24 billion technology upgrade on the line to centrally control the movement of trains and cargo along the railway tracks which was dubbed a major revamp.
A ministerial committee comprising of Mr John Byabagambi, the Kenyan and Rwandan ministers was formed to jointly steer the development of the project.
Meanwhile, the Chinese infrastructural contractor-China Construction Engineering (CCE), was given a contract to develop the Tanga-Musoma railway line, which is expected to link the Bukasa port.