Railway Operations Resume in Northern Uganda

October 27, 2013 4:39 am0 comments by:

Rift Valley Railways has finally resumed rail services in northern Uganda.

Rail services on the 500 kilometer northern line were officially launched yesterday by President Yoweri Museveni during the ceremony that took place from Gulu Railway Station.

The line runs between Tororo – Mbale – Kumi – Soroti – Lira – Gulu and Pakwach.

It had been out of service for the last 18 years due to the Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA insurgency in northern Uganda.

“What may seem as a small step by Rift Valley Railways today is a great step for economic integration in the region,” Mr. Charles Mbiire, Director Rift Valley remarked at the function.

The General Manager of RVR Uganda Mark Rumanyika had earlier told the Continent Observer that the northern railway line will play an increasingly strategic role in the development of their business.

Rumanika said the northern Uganda railway line is strategic because of landlocked Southern and the discovery of commercially viable Hydro Carbons in the Albertine region of Uganda.

In northern Uganda, there’s excitement as residents trekked from miles away to see the train.

18-year old Denis Opio a resident of Bungatira Sub-county in Gulu is among those who moved for several kilometers to see the train for the first time.

“I have only been hearing stories about the train but I had never had the opportunity of seeing it but I’ am very happy today to see it with my own eyes” an excited Opio says he now looks forwards to have a ride in it.

But Wilson Okello another resident, he hopes the resumption of the train services to northern Uganda will boost his business of produce.

“I have been having problems transporting my produce from Gulu here to Kampala because of the cost involved in hiring a lorry. I will now take advantage of the train to transport my farm produce at a cheaper cost” remarked Okello who was among the hundreds of ecstatic residents who turned up for the launch of the train services in Gulu.

RVR spent two million dollars on repairing the 500km railway line.

Repair works on the line commenced on the 19th November 2012 and involved a three- phased approach. The first phase involved clearing of bushes, weeding, and removal of anthills while, the second phase involved restoration of washed out areas.

The final phase was the restoration of vandalized sections of the line.

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is the Kenya-Uganda concessionaire operating freight and passenger rail services in Kenya and Uganda on an exclusive basis. The company was founded in 2006 and has been granted a 25 year mandate to operate railway services on 2,000 kilometers of track linking the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa in Kenya with the interiors of both Kenya and Uganda, including Kampala.

RVR is owned by the following shareholders: Citadel Capital, through its subsidiary Ambiance Ventures51%; TransCentury, through its subsidiary Safari Rail Limited 34% and Bomi Holdings 15%.

 

 

 

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