Uganda and Tanzania are looking to incorporate electric railway lines into their standard gauge railway transport network.
According to the East African newspaper, the two countries are planning to upgrade the SGR project after its installment to electric lines. However, this will depend on the availability of sufficient energy supply.
Uganda’s SGR project co-ordinator Kasingye Kyamugamba said the decision to go ahead with the incorporation of electric trains is as a result of assurance of adequate power from ongoing energy projects. Moreover, the option is more cost- effective in the long term when compared to diesel.
Uganda and Tanzania are planning to buy trains with an electric element while Kenya’s trains run on diesel engines.
Kenya on the other hand has announced that its newly launched SGR will have an electric line installed in the year 2021. Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said this is because Kenya lacks a dependable source of electricity. However, he was quick to add that the diesel locomotive line that is currently operational has upgrading capabilities. A single electric line costs approximately $480m.
Electric railroads depend on the availability of electricity in a region, currently the supply is inadequate. Uganda expects its power generation to reach 1,500MW in 2019, after the two dams inject an additional 783MW — Karuma at 600MW and Isimba Hydropower at 183MW into the national grid.
Kenya’s SGR was officially flagged off in May this year. The 472- kilometer project had initially been set for completion in December 2013.
Just weeks after the completion of the Nairobi-Mombasa line, phase two which will run from Nairobi to Naivasha will be an extension of the former and will run till it links up with Uganda SGR line and then to Kigali in Rwanda.