Green light for railway rehab

TransNamib is to start rehabilitating the northern railway line, which is apparently not suitable for passenger trains at the moment.

07 February 2019 | Transport

ILENI NANDJATO



TransNamib has received the go ahead from the works and transport ministry to rehabilitate the Tsumeb-Oshikango railway line, which is reportedly in a bad state.

The northern railway line was apparently laid too low, making it unsuitable for passenger trains.

On 14 January masses of unemployed people flocked to TransNamib in Ondangwa to apply for 40 posts that were announced over the radio.

The posts were long-term contracts to repair the 315-kilometre railway line between Oshikango and Tsumeb.

In 2002 the government embarked up on the N$1.4 billion Northern Railway Line Extension Project. This was a three-phase project, with phase one (the 246 km Tsumeb-Ondangwa railway line) and phase two (the 60 km Ondangwa-Oshikango railway) already completed.

Phase three, the 28 km line between Ondangwa and Oshakati, is currently under construction.

TransNamib spokesperson Ailly Hangula-Paulino did not respond to questions sent to her about the rehabilitation project.

Works ministry spokesperson Julius Ngweda acknowledged that the ministry was aware of the northern railway rehabilitation.

“The railway line was completed some time ago and has been in use since then. Usage means maintenance must be carried out in order to keep the infrastructure up to standard,” said Ngweda.

He could not say how much the rehabilitation work would cost, adding that such information could only be obtained from TransNamib.

Usually the rehabilitation and upgrading of railway lines is done by D&M Rail Construction, which was also involved in the initial construction of the northern railway line.

D&M Rail managing director Dawie Möller said they were not informed that the railway line is not in a good state.

“We do not know about any rehabilitation work to the northern railway line. We just learn about it when hundreds of unemployed people flocked to our Otjiwarongo office, saying they heard we were recruiting for the northern railway rehabilitation, but we were not hiring, and we do not know where they heard it,” Möller said.

Ngweda said: “The ministry of works and transport entered into a management agreement for TransNamib to manage, maintain, repair and do other work on the railway infrastructure. The maintenance and repair work is part of TransNamib’s annual plan of activities.”

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