Political Bickering Threatens Uganda’s Standard Gauge Railway

Uganda is in the eye of a storm after its MPs alleged that Kenya’s recently constructed Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway line is class 2.

A Uganda Parliamentary Committee chaired by Eng Denis Sabiiti said in its report that Uganda as well as Kenya were constructing an SGR Class 2 just like Ethiopia.

The report further observed that Uganda’s SGR has the same specifications in terms of designs, viagra operating speeds and is expected to serve the same purpose as Ethiopia and Kenya.

ChimpReports understands the MPs’ report has infuriated Kenya with Kenya Railways Managing Director, approved Atanas Maina warning Uganda risked tough consequences if it chose to go for the Second Class Railway as proposed by MPs.

Uganda’s SGR Executive Director Kasingye Kyamugambi recently told this website that the Northern Corridor countries agreed on China Class 1 Railway standard to ensure a seamless transport network while Tanzania is basing on AREMA standard while Ethiopia is China Class 2 Standard.

The AREMA standard is not a national standard but a standard of an association of some railways in North America while the Chinese Standard is a national standard.

The railways in the four countries are dominantly freight but will have passenger services.

Observers say the continuous political bickering could threaten the multi-billion dollar infrastructure project.


Already, ask Kenya is set to open its Mombasa-Nairobi railway line this year.

More to this, Tanzania President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli on Wednesday launched construction of the Dar-es-Salaam-Morogoro Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Once completed, the 1,217 km railway line from Dar-es-Salaam to Mwanza will link Uganda to the port of Dar-es-Salaam where cargo (import and export) can be transported by the SGR and by ship across Lake Victoria using Port Bell.

Under the auspices of Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP), regional leaders in 2010 agreed to develop a seamless high capacity, modern, reliable and safe SGR system across the four countries.

Standard Gauge Railway as a back bone of transport infrastructure is expected to provide a transport service for export and import that is comparable to other services in other countries in terms of quality, cost and reliability.

These countries and their neighbors are at different stages of developing their respective railway systems in order to fully participate in international global trade and production.

Comparison of Major Characteristics of the Malaba-Kampala and Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Projects 

Item Uganda Kenya
Route Length 273KM 472KM
Track length 338KM 609KM
Standard China Class 1 China Class 1
System SGR SGR
Traction Electric Diesel
welding Continuous Jointed
Curvatures 1200/800 1200/800
Gradient 1.2% 1.2%
Trailing Load 4000/5000 metric tonne 4000/5000 metric tonne
Structure Gauge Double Stack Double Stack
Signaling Fully Automatic Fully Automatic
Percentage of Bridges along the route 8.8 % of the route 5.9% of the route
Super Bridge 1KM Bridge over river Nile None
Cost per route Km (excluding locomotives) 7.32m/Km 7.288M/Km
Total costs excluding locomotives USD204 Billion USD3.44 Billion


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