Malawi new rail coaches starts Wednesday -CEAR

The newly acquired Central East African Railways (CEAR) passenger coaches will take a maiden trip on the rails Wednesday, January 15, 2014, the company has announced.

This follows the launch of the six passenger wagons in November 2013, as CEAR is on a campaign to revive its passenger services on the country’s rail network.

Chisomo Mwamadi is CEAR’s communications officer and he told Nyasa Times on Monday that the company delayed operations of the coaches as they were working on improving them.

“The new coaches will take their maiden trip on 15th January 2014,” he said. “We took long to have them on the rail because we wanted to improve them to a good standard for passengers’ satisfaction.”

Mwamadi: New rail coaches

Mwamadi: New rail coaches

CEAR, the sole railway service provider in Malawi, spent US$14 million purchasing the modern wagons, which are spacious with lights, water, modern toilets and air conditioned.

According to Mwamadi, CEAR is offering three classes on its coaches namely business, premier and standard, to give passengers the chance to choose according to their pockets and taste.

Meanwhile, CEAR has introduced new passenger fares for both the latest and old locomotives, with immediate effect.

“The fare hike is roughly around 85 percent, but very fair, reasonable and competitive,” said the company’s communications officer.

He disclosed that the fare hike has come about due to last year’s fuel price hike as well as government’s removal of the passenger subsidy fee that they used to give CEAR.

Mwamadi said the new fares will be distributed in all their stations where the coaches will be operating.

CEAR has since indicated that passengers from Limbe, Blantyre, Balaka, Liwonde and Nayuchi must book a day before the departure date, while all other stations will be issuing tickets on the day of departure.

The company further advises that luggage weighing more than 5kgs will not be allowed in the coach but will go to the luggage wagons.

“A person without a ticket will not be allowed in the coach and if found, a penalty will be given to the offenders. We will carry passengers according to number of seats available,” said Mwamadi.

Established in 1999, Cear was given a concession to run rail transport in the country which has since been extended to 2045.

The first trips will be as follows:

Wednesday 15/01/14 Limbe – Balaka 07:00

Thursday 16/01/14 Balaka – Nayuchi – Balaka 06:00

Friday 17/01/14 Balaka – Limbe 06:00

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