Tanzania set for historic SGR train trial between Dar and Dodoma

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What you need to know:

  • The test follows the February 26, 2024, trial covering 300 kilometres from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, being part of the implementation of an order by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania is slated to test its electric train from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma for the first time as the country commemorates the 60th anniversary of the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

The United Republic of Tanzania was formed on April 26, 1964, following the unification of the two sides, with Julius Nyerere becoming the first President, and Sheikh Abedi Amani Karume serving as the first Vice President and chairman of the Revolutionary Council.

An electric train will be operated in the country’s 541- kilometre mainline Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) infrastructure from the heart of Dar es Salaam to Makutupora in Dodoma.

The test follows the February 26, 2024, trial covering 205 kilometres of mainline from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, being part of the implementation of an order by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

She directed that by July this year, SGR train services from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma should have begun.

Tanzania has been postponing its implementation since April 2017.

President Samia was quoted saying: "I have been hearing about changes in the start dates for train services via the SGR railway from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, and indeed, citizens are tired of excuses; they want to see the train in operation. Therefore, I direct that by the end of July 2024, SGR railway services between Dar es Salaam and Dodoma must have commenced."

The test marks a significant step forward in Tanzania's efforts to modernise its transport infrastructure and boost connectivity across the nation.

Speaking on Friday, April 19, 2024, Permanent Secretary, Office in the Vice President’s Office, responsible for Union and Environment, Mr Cyprian Luhemeja, said the test will be held on Sunday, April 21, this year.

He said the trial expected to be led by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa will include religious leaders from both the Mainland and Zanzibar.

“This historic event will be followed by national prayers, whereas clergymen will pray for the country’s achievement as it marks 60 years of the union," he said during the official opening of the 60th anniversary of the trade exhibition of the union.

Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) head of public relations, Ms Jamila Mbarouk, told The Citizen that the trip was a continuation of the first successful test from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.

She said the trip will also include several government officials and CCM leaders.

"They will travel using an electric coach with new coaches. We expect to use between eight and 10 coaches. There will be national prayers at the Jamhuri Stadium in Dodoma on April 23 this year,” she said.

The first phase of the train trial took place on February 26, 2024, from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, using eight coaches and taking two hours and 20 minutes to reach the region.

During the 60th anniversary of the trade exhibition of the union, slated for April 19, 2024, to April 25, this year, Zanzibar’s Second Vice President Hemed Suleiman Abdulla underscored the need for Tanzania to protect and advocate for the union.

“The most important thing is that we will continue to protect the union at all costs. The youth must always be informed about the importance of the union and extend the professionalism of the union for the future generation,” he said in his opening speech.

He further stressed that the public must be informed of the benefits of the union as it commemorates its 60th anniversary.

“The union forefathers laid a good foundation; therefore, we don’t expect anyone to destroy this important legacy,” he said.

Mr Abddulla said that citizens need peace and unity, so it is important to protect the union at all costs.

The over 540-kilometre Dar-Dodoma mainline is the first and second phases of the SGR project, which is expected to run up to Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria and Kigoma on the northeastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in five phases.

There are plans to add connections to Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the East African Railway Master Plan.

The line is being extended to Tabora, 294km away, in phase three.

The fourth phase will link Tabora to Isaka, a 130-kilometre mainline, where it will branch to Mwanza and Kigoma.