03-07-2022 by redazione
Work to rehabilitate the metric-gauge railway line from the town of Voi to the foothills of Kilimanjaro, or Taveta, Kenya's last town on the border with Tanzania just below Africa's largest mountain, will begin later this year.
The 127-kilometer Voi-Taveta line had been permanently abandoned in the early millennium after it served not only commercial convoys but also a passenger train. The Voi-Taveta link with Tanzania was built between 1914 and 1918 for strategic purposes during the First World War and to provide access to the sisal plantations in the Taita-Taveta district.
Now the intention is to resume with freight trains to transport containers from the port of Mombasa to the Tanzanian border and connect them with the road transport system that will be able to more easily transfer them not only to the neighboring country but also to Rwanda and Burundi.
Kenyan Deputy Minister of Planning, Saitoti Torome announced the completion of the feasibility design of the refurbishment work on the old line, confirming that the government's intention is to start by the financial year 2022/2023.
The Kenya Ports Authority has secured a 50-acre piece of land at the Taveta-Holili border crossing where it will build the inland freight hub. The railway and freight hub will bring the port facilities closer to importers and exporters and reduce the distance from Mombasa to Burundi's capital, Bujumbura via the Northern Corridor by 358 kilometers.
The flow of goods from these two countries into the port of Mombasa has decreased in recent years. In 2021, about 232,000 tons of goods destined for Tanzania were handled in the port of Mombasa, while 1,000 tons were destined for Burundi.
As for the possible tourist and commuter use of the rail line, we will have to wait for allocations for passenger rail convoys. But it is clear that, with the connection to Voi of the SGR fast line connecting Mombasa to Nairobi, the possibility of getting to Kilimanjaro and within easy reach of Amboseli National Park by train could be an additional attraction for tourism in this country.
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