Passenger train between Lilongwe and Chipata to be introduced

Zambian Railways Limited (ZRL) intends to run a passenger train between Chipata and Lilongwe District in Malawi as one way of increasing its passenger traffic in 2014.

ZRL Regional Manager for Nacala Corridor, Moses Sipumo, said his company wants to increase the passenger traffic from the current 200, 000 to 400, 000 people per year.

Currently ZRL has a total of 37 locomotives out of which 24 are active while 13 need major repairs, according to Zambia’s The Post Newspaper.

“By 2014, we want to increase the volume of people on our train. They must come to us by choice not by being stranded. We are ordering new coaches and of course we would like to run a passenger train between Chipata and Lilongwe, we are looking into that as well,” said Sipumo on Tuesday.

The ZRL boss was presenting a paper in Chipata District this week on the Chipata-Mchinji Railway line at a business forum organised by the Rotary Club of Chipata.

“After meeting our customers in Lusaka and Lilongwe we have seen that what we pledged to put in is by far too little, the response is very overwhelming. As management, we are increasing the number of wagons to 250 instantly,” he said.

The first train carrying ballast stones for the completion of the Chipata/Mchinji railway project arrived in Chipata in 2010 to the excitement of residents that gathered to witness the laying of the stones on the railway track.

In the initial stage, ZRL, whose construction works of a dry port in Chipata is progress well, had planned to inject 100 new wagons and some locomotives on the Nacala Corridor.

Sipumo also said ZRL already signed business agreements with railway operators from both countries.

He added that the railway line had come up with a trade plan that would run from 2014 to 2018, all aimed at increasing the speed of trade between the countries.

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