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EAC Railways sub-sector Projects

East African Railways Master Plan

The East African Railway Master Plan is a proposal for rejuvenating existing railways serving Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and extending them initially to Rwanda and Burundi and eventually, to South Sudan, Ethiopia and beyond.

The preparation of the Master Plan followed a Summit directive issued in 2004 following the near collapse of the railways system in the region. The Master Plan aims at providing a guide to the development of the railways transport sub-sector in the region over the next 25 years. It proposes strategies for upgrading of the infrastructure and better management of the services, and will present business cases that would attract private sector investments in the sector. The study, which was undertaken by CPCS Transcom of Canada, commenced in September 2007 and was completed in January 2009.

The Community has commenced the construction of a standard gauge railway line on the northern corridor from Mombasa to Malaba with a spur to Juba and to Kigali and ultimately, to Bujumbura. Construction works on the Kenyan section have already began, while the procurement for the Uganda-South Sudan and Uganda-Rwanda-Burundi section is ongoing.

Railways Transport in East Africa

Railway transport is the second most important mode of transport after road and critical for long distance freight along the main transport corridors.

The EAC acknowledges the need to rationalise rail development within the region and to harmonise road and rail transport operations along the main corridors and has therefore, prepared an East African Railways Master Plan to guide the future development of the railway services in the region.

Tanzania has a total of 3,676 km of railway lines operated by two railway systems, Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and Tanzania – Zambia Railways (TAZARA). Due to poor conditions of tracks and ageing rolling stock and locomotives, tonnage freight volumes and passenger numbers have continued to fall every year. However, efforts have been taken and some sections of the railway lines have been revamped, leading to an increase in the numbers of passengers and cargo.

Kenya has a rail network of 2,778 Km of lines. The mainline connects the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi and to the Kenya / Uganda border at Malaba. Even though the freight performance has also continued to decline, it still plays a critical role in the transport of export and import goods which account for about 35% of the long haul freight traffic handled at the port of Mombasa

In 2017, Kenya opened the 579 km Nairobi - Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), while runs parallel to the Kenya/ Uganda railway line. The introduction of the SGR has seen an increase in freight and passengers between Mombasa and Nairobi.

Uganda’s total developed rail network covers 1,250 km, until recently only 265 km are currently serviceable due to abandonment or closure. Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) has embarked on an ambitious revamping exercise in an effort fast-track development and spur trade. URC has also relaunched cargo services to the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania following more than decade of dormancy.

East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org