Purchase of 20 locomotives will double haulage capacity in 8 months
Regional railway operator, Rift Valley Railways has purchased 20 locomotives under an ambitious expansion programme that aims to double its locomotive and wagon fleet by June next year.
The 12-cylinder, turbocharged engines, built by American industrial conglomerate General Electric, will be delivered between March and the end of June next year.
The trains are equipped with a microprocessor control system that monitors the engine’s performance and boosts load-carrying capacity by 20 per cent by optimizing the traction between the wheels and the railway track.
“Since 2010, RVR shareholders have injected over $156 million to improve railway infrastructure and install modern, GPS-based train management technology in Kenya and Uganda. Investing in expanding our cargo haulage capacity to meet growing demand is the logical next step in our plans”, said Darlan De David, RVR’s group CEO.
RVR recently rebuilt 73kms of rail track between Nairobi and Mombasa and nine culverts between Busembatia and Jinja, helping cut cargo transit time to Uganda by 6 hours. The company recently rehabilitated and reopened the 500km Tororo-Gulu-Pakwach railway line in northern Uganda. This track will facilitate delivery of rail cargo from Gulu by road to South Sudan and eastern DRC.
“This capacity expansion will dramatically increase our rail cargo carrying ability which will be a boon to freight transporters not only in Kenya and Uganda, but across East Africa”, De David added.
When added to ongoing locomotive rehabilitation in progress in its Nairobi plant, the 20 trains will double RVR’s wagon-moving capability. The wagon refurbishment programme underway in RVR’s Nairobi and Kampala factories is expanding the fleet at the rate of 50 wagons per month, with a view to tripling the wagon operating convoy by 2015.