Central East African Railways (Cear) has invested $6 million in a rail rehabilitation project to ensure uninterrupted operations during the rainy season.
Last year, the company was forced to suspend operations to some locations after heavy rains washed away rail networks across the country.
Cear Communications and Corporate Image Manager, Chisomo Mwamadi, said the project is scheduled to be completed in the next three years.
“Issues of rail damage and many other problems that come with the rains are a major concern to us as a company and our customers. Last year, we had a bad experience when heavy rains affected our operations and we had to suspend operations because most of our network was washed away by the rains,” Mwamadi said.
He said since January this year, the company’s engineers have been doing random inspections of the rail lines to see which areas need strengthening, especially between Nkaya and Kanengo
“Apart from the usual repairing of bridges and checking the drainage systems, our major focus is to erect culverts on some key bridges within the section. So far, we have set up eight of the required 30 culverts in this section. We hope to put 16 next year and the other six in 2018 because this is an on-going project running from 2016 to 2018 worth $6 million,” he said.
Commenting on the Limbe- Nkaya rehabilitation, the first phase which included the rehabilitation of Blantyre to Lirangwe rail section, Mwamadi said construction works are progressing well with only 6.4 kilometres of the line to be covered.
“We have done 40.6 km of the 47km stretch from Limbe to Lirangwe. Our contractors have assured us that by end November, we should be done with the outstanding section.
“After the first phase, we will go straight into the second phase which is Lirangwe to Nkaya. Major works include replacing the existing 30 kilogramme rail with a 40 kilogramme rail which is strong and stable. We are also working on some bridges, drainage and other repair works,” Mwamadi said.