THE TANZAM (TAZARA) RAILWAY

On October 22nd 1975 the first passenger train left Kapiri Mposhi station in Zambia with representatives of China, Zambia and Tanzania aboard. It drew into Dar es Salaam station on Friday, October 24th. The magazine Africa reports: ‘For the comfort of a first class journey (over the 1,160 miles) the passenger pays K 28.17, second class fare is less than half that at K 12.68 and the third class fare – designed for people making only short journeys is exceptionally low, just half the second class fare. For a trial period until next year this passenger service will run once a week between the two terminals. Then the line will be fully operational and the number of departures will increase substantially, as will the number of freight services which at the moment run once a day in both directions . ‘

Africa continues; ‘The Chinese construction camps once a familiar sight along the route have gone. So have the doctors who dispensed free medical treatment and the engineers who provided new water supplies and roads to remote rural areas. But the friendship between the countries still prevails and aid is still given by China. Some technicians have remained to supervise the final work on the railway and to help with its administration, but the Chinese have already trained 200 Tanzanians and Zambians at their own Communications University’. According to Africa, ‘Malawi is enthusiastic for a line to be built through the Luangwa Valley to connect Serenje, on the Uhuru railway, with Mchinji, which will shortly be the western end of the line to Nacala (on the Indian ocean)… A more likely scheme is a railway through Solwezi from the Copperbelt. New copper deposits are to be exploited in North-Western Province and this line would be viable, carrying copper to Luso in Angola.’

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