Kampala-Gulu railway works start June, says URC

A larger chunk of Uganda’s railway network has suffered due to years of neglect and low investment. Photo / Edgar R Batte 

What you need to know:

  • The 375-kilometre railway stretches through Mbale, Soroti and Lira, before terminating at the Gulu Logistics Hub

Government, through Ministry of Works, with Uganda Railways Corporation (URC), as the implementing agency, has signed a Shs200b contract with China Road and Bridge Corporation to rehabilitate the Tororo to Gulu section of the metre gauge railway.

The 375-kilometre railway line, which stretches through Mbale, Soroti and Lira, before terminating at the Gulu Logistics Hub, is designed to facilitate transportation, collection, separation, consolidation and distribution of goods for national and international transit on a commercial basis.

The rehabilitation works, which will solely be funded by government, are expected to take two years. 

Mr David Musoke Bulega, the acting URC managing director, said at the signing that works will start after one month because the contractor is going to re-mobilise equipment and manpower.

The rehabilitation, he noted, will also link the rest of the country to the main line - Malaba-Tororo to Gulu - which is intended to link up with Gulu Logistics Hub, a new project, which has been completed.

“So, we are seeing another development in business on the northern line,” he said, adding that while the entire line is going to be rehabilitated, some sections such as bridges and culverts, are going to be totally overhauled, while other sections have materials, which are still usable.

Mr Dai Dexin, the China Road and Bridge Corporation country manager, said the contract, which also seeks to develop the Northern corridor, will revive the road sector, part of which has wasted away due to years non-usage.

“The cargo still needs to go to South Sudan, Burundi and that corridor had stopped operations for some years, which had also affected the roads in that corridor,” he said in a separate interview, adding that after rehabilitation, having a logistics hub in Gulu will serve both railway and roads at the same time.

Mr John Linonn Ssengendo, the URC senior public relations and communications officer, said the Northern corridor is made up of the Kampala-Malaba and Tororo-Gulu-Pakwach lines.

“The Malaba line serves Kampala up to Kenya, while the route from Tororo to Gulu and Pakwach serve South Sudan and northern DR Congo,” he said. 


After Sogea, which was supposed to work on the stretch up to the logistics hub and would have partially completed the entire Northern line, disengaged, government has for some time been looking for a contractor until China Road and Bridge Corporation was brought on board.