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Just under 78,000 passengers have travelled by train between the cities of Cuamba and Lichinga, in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa, since the railway line was reopened last November.
The line is a 262-kilometre long spur off the northern rail corridor that runs from the port of Nacala to Entre-Lagos on the border with Malawi. During the war of destabilisation the line could not be used, and even after the end of the war, in 1992, repeated promises to make the line fully operational came to nothing.
Trains ran sporadically on the line, but the state of this railway was so poor that, even in the dry season, a journey between Cuamba and Lichinga could take three days. In 2010 the Northern Development Corridor (CDN), the company to which the entire northern rail system had been leased, suspended rail traffic to Lichinga.
However, the line was completely reconstructed through an investment of around a hundred million US dollars. As a result, the line was reopened by President Filipe Nyusi on 3 November. Between then and the end of June, a total of 94 trains carried passengers and goods between the two cities.
According to CDN, the number of passengers exceeded the company’s expectations. In addition, over 120,000 passengers travelled on the main line between Nampula and Cuamba, and between Cuamba and Entre-Lagos on the border with Malawi.
A statement from company spokesperson Sergio Paunde stressed, “CDN believes that the circulation of trains in the sections Nampula-Cuamba, Cuamba-Lichinga, and Cuamba-Entre-Lagos is improving the socio-economic life of the population living in the north of the country, and in Niassa province in particular. The company will continue to offer train services with security, quality, and efficiency”.
On 16 June, CDN relaunched the freight trains service between Cuamba and Lichinga, opening the path for goods to be moved by train to and from the port of Nacala. In the initial phase, the prices charged will be subsidised to make the route competitive with road haulage.
CDN is a Mozambican company created for the management, rehabilitation and commercial exploitation of the Nacala port infrastructure and the northern railway network, in an integrated manner.Source: AIM