CEAR to buy more rail coaches to meet Malawi demand

The Central East African Railways (CEAR), Malawi’s railway transport provider, will buy more passenger coaches to meet high demand.

The company told Nyasa Times a week after it introduced six new wagons on the rails in the South, operating between Limbe and Liwonde.

CEAR says despite the maiden trip being a success, the coaches could not accommodate all the passengers.

Malawi on the move; Passengers on train
Malawi on the move; Passengers on train

“We need to add more coaches to meet demand,” CEAR’s communications officer, Chisomo Mwamadi, told Nyasa Times.

“We were overwhelmed by the response from the general public. All the coaches were full to capacity and we had to leave other passengers in some stations because of lack of space.

“Even the business class which we thought will not attract much attention was full, which is an indication to us that people are happy with the new coaches,” he said.

According to Mwamadi, the lack of space also came about because CEAR is now embracing new safety measures called “the golden rules” where no passenger is allowed to stand.

He indicated: “We want everyone to be seated for security reasons and to make sure that passengers are comfortable.”

As disclosed by the CEAR spokesperson, the company will be getting new coaches around August or September 2014.

Mwamadi however revealed that in the meantime, CEAR is improving the capacity of its locomotives to allow them pull more coaches on its fleet.

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.

The company also introduced new passenger fares for both the latest and old locomotives, with an 85 percent increment effective 15 January, 2014.

Meanwhile, the new wagons took their second trip Wednesday morning from Limbe to Balaka, where they will connect to Nayuchi on Thursday and back in the evening, before their return to Limbe on Friday.

Mind the gap: Passengers boarding
Mind the gap: Passengers boarding
Inside the CEAR new wagons
Inside the CEAR new wagons

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