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Tanzania to Receive First 42 Korean Electric Trains By November

The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) has said it will receive first 42 electric locomotives by November this year.

This will see the corporation officially start operating the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

This was stated by the Minister for Works and Transport, Dr Leonard Chamuriho, after he witnessed the signing of the contract between Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), and Hyundai Rotem on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam.

During the signing TRC was represented by its director general, Masanja Kadogosa, while Hyundai Rotem was represented by its senior manager, Mr Lee Se-Han.

"Earlier, we procured 42 electric locomotives from Germany and South Korea. Once they arrive in November, the testing of the SGR section from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro will commence," he said.

Speaking at the event, Mr Kadogosa said it was encouraging that they the contractor has seen the need to train local engineers on how to operate the SGR.

"In every contract that we have signed so far, there is a component that compels the teaching of local experts on maintenance, signals and driving.

"This will enable our experts to be trained in different areas. We want more local engineers to be competent in all the aspects just like the way we have our own experts operating Air Tanzania," he said.

Mr Kadogosa stressed that 200 engineers and 10 drivers will go Korea to learn how to operate electric trains. "The approach we are using is to allow locals experts to operate in the SGR instead of going for foreign engineers," emphasized.

He said construction of the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section of the SGR has reached 92.7 percent - and, currently, the contractor, Turkish firm, Yapi Merkezi, was completing the remaining 15 kilometres of the project.

Explaining, Mr Kadogosa said they decided to choose Hyundai Rotem to manufacture the electric locomotives because it is a big company that has been operating for many years.

In his remarks, Mr Lee Se-Han said his organization was happy to work with TRC to supply EMUs and electric locomotive for the SGR.

"We are confident that through close cooperation we will be able to manufacture the electric locomotives within the specified time 25 months," he said.

The deal follows the Tanzanian government's plan to modernize its railroads, investing 7.9 trillion ($6.9 billion) to replace its old railway system. Tanzania's rails were narrower than standard gauges, and trains had to be driven at a slow speed of 30 to 40 kilometers per hour.

With new rails, electric locomotives and EMUs supplied by Hyundai Rotem will run at a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour.

Along with the ongoing construction of the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section, work on the 426-kilometre long Morogoro-Makutupora section of the SGR is currently ongoing.

Like the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section, the Morogoro-Makutupora section is also being built by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi.

There are still three more phases left in Tanzania's standard gauge railway project -- modernizing the 673 kilometer railway between Makutupora, Tabora, Isaka and Mwanza -- and Hyundai Rotem aims to actively participate in future bids to supply more electric trains.

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