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Government keen to promote rail travel

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Government has said problems like train run overs, theft and vandalism are some of the factors scaring potential investors from investing in rail business.

Principal Rail Transport Officer in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Justice Mtande, said while the country is making strides in resuscitating the sector, there is also a need to promote safety.

Mtande made the remarks during a rail safety awareness meeting organised by rail operator, Central East African Railways (Cear) in collaboration with Vale Logistics and the government.

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“No matter what government and its development partners in railway industry [Cear and Vale] will do to re-invest in railways, but if there is no assurance on safety of investments, then the efforts are in vain. Good safety on the rails helps in business prosperity of the trains,” Mtande said.

He then disclosed that they have identified accident hot spots including Nayuchi, Namanja, Mbanira in Machinga district and also Lirangwe and Namatunu in Blantyre hence the awareness campaign to reverse the trend.

“The sensitisation meetings are aimed at giving the community an opportunity to learn more about safety on the railway, especially on the level crossing safety. So the railway is not a playground and make sure you observe and obey the signs. Be patient whenever crossing rail tracks because the train has a right of way,” he said.

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Mtande also said it is punishable by law to vandalise rail and telecommunication equipment.

Blantyre North Member of Parliament and Group Village Headman, Nkumba, asked for more similar innervations to ensure that more people area ware of safety measures on the rails.

Nacala Corridor railway has been under rehabilitation since August 2015 at a cost of $46 million. So far, Cear remits to government five percent of their gross revenue each year as concession fees, while Vale pays government twice a year at a rate off our percent of their gross revenue.

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