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Parliament Committee Queries Government for Disregarding Dual Gauge Railway Line :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Parliament Committee Queries Government for Disregarding Dual Gauge Railway Line

The Committee on National Economy Chairperson, John Bosco Ikojo is dismayed and wonders why the government chose to go for two separate lines instead of implementing the dual gauge to save taxpayers money.
Demonstration centre of the various railway guages.

Audio 1



The Parliament Committee on National Economy has faulted the government for disregarding the dual gauge railway track in favour of the two separate lines of Metre Guage Railway and later the Standard Guage Railway Project. 

  The committee was undertaking an appraisal visit of the works on the Kampala - Mukono railway metre gauge line on Thursday before reconsidering the re-approval of the loan which was approved by the tenth parliament in May 2021 but later some of its new terms changed.

  The committee was surprised to notice that Imathia Construction, a factory that was contracted by the government to produce concrete sleepers for replacing the metallic metre gauge railway track has the capacity to manufacture and also implement a dual gauge railway.

  As the government is undertaking the concrete metre gauge project, it is also securing more land to implement the standard gauge railway project.

  At the Imathia factory, there is a demonstration of three gauges and the engineers confirmed that they have the capacity to implement them with ease. The dual gauge track can consist of three rails sharing one common sleeper or have four at once, with the rails of the narrower gauge lying those of a broader gauge.  

The Project Coordinator at Imathia, Eng. Luis Brasa Gonzalez says a duo gauge comprises two gauges using a single alignment. In this case, sleepers are designed to accommodate all the rails.

“The dual gauge is implemented in many Western countries and is much more effective, especially in Spain where the alignment enables two trains two to use the same line,” Gonzalez says.

 

Speaking during the visit, Engineer Josephine Aguti is certain that the dual gauge would reduce the cost, especially in acquiring another corridor for SGR, making compensations, and construction adjustments as well as less spent on producing sleepers and also repair and maintenance.

    

The Committee on National Economy Chairperson, John Bosco Ikojo is dismayed and wonders why the government chose to go for two separate lines instead of implementing the dual gauge to save taxpayers money.

  According to him, once enough research is not done by the county’s planning department, the country ends up spending unnecessarily a lot of money.

  //Cue in: “It becomes costly…//

Cue Out: …spending a lot.”//

However, Stephen Wakasenza, the Chief Commercial Officer at Uganda Railways Corporation-URC says any other option would require a lot of money to be implemented.

  He says like in many other countries, various alignments are implemented and used interchangeably hoping that in the future, the country can as well choose to undertake the construction of the dual gauge.

  Lately, URC is implementing the refurbishment of the Metre Gauge Railway from Malaba to Kampala. The parliament committee on National Economy is yet to consider a loan which was approved by the tenth parliament in May 2021.

    According to Ikojo, the funders reconsidered changes in the terms of the loans and accepted to reduce the amount of the loan and offer part of the funds as a grant for the country to complete the refurbishment of the MGR. 

 

  Parliament approved a loan request worth 1.39 Trillion Shillings for the refurbishment of the project. The 250-kilometre Kampala-Malaba railway connects Uganda’s capital with Kenya at the Malaba border. 

  Money for the project will be sourced from the African Development Fund- ADF which will provide 356.61 billion shillings, the African Development Bank- ADB (825.52 billion), and the Corporate Internationalization Fund of Spain (110.72 billion shillings).