TAZARA ends cross-border passenger train services

via XINHUA - The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) announced Wednesday that passenger trains between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and New Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia will no longer run across the borders.

The termination, to take effect from August 26, was announced by TAZARA's head of public relations, Conrad K Simuchile.

"Trains will u-turn at Nakonde, bordering the two countries," Mr Simuchile said, adding that passengers crossing the border will be swapping trains at Nakonde.

He said the passenger trains will operate as local trains within the respective borders of Tanzania and Zambia, both u-turning at the Tanzania-Zambia border station of Nakonde.

"Passengers who intend to cross the border and travel by train all the way through to the other country will be required to swap trains at Nakonde in order to proceed to Dar es Salaam or New Kapiri-Mposhi, respectively," he said.

Sharp decline

Mr Simuchile also announced new timetables for the Tanzanian and Zambian operated trains designed in such a way as to allow for the interfacing of the trains at Nakonde station so that any passengers that are crossing into the other country have sufficient time to swap the trains and proceed with their journey with minimum inconvenience.

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway was constructed as a turnkey project between 1970 and 1975 through an interest-free loan of $500 million from China, with commercial operations starting in July 1976, covering 1,860 km between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi.

However, the performance of the railway has undergone a drastic decline from a peak of 1.2 million metric tonnes of cargo and over 1 million passengers in 1986/87 to less than 340,000 metric tonnes and around 900,000 passengers in 2011/12.