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Work has been completed on increasing the capacity of the Sena railway line, which runs from the Moatize coal basin in the western Mozambican province of Tete to the port of Beira.
As a result of the EUR162 million (about US$180 million) expansion, the line will now be able to carry twenty million tonnes of coal per year. The latest work on the line began in 2013 when its capacity was just 6.5 million tonnes per year.
Improvements along the 575 kilometres of track were carried out by the Portuguese companies Mota Engil and the Visabeira group.
Key to the expansion was the extension of the passing stretches at each of the 31 stations and stopping points. These have been elongated from 750 metres to 1.5 kilometres to allow for longer trains to run on the track. This will increase the maximum length of the coal trains from 42 wagons pulled by two locomotives to a hundred wagons pulled by six locomotives.
Other work included the building up of ballast and improvements to more than 300 bridges, culverts, and aqueducts. In particular, this included enhancements to the famous Dona Ana Bridge over the Zambezi River which links the towns of Sena and Mutarara.
In addition, the train stations at Manga, Dondo, Savane, Muanza, Inhaminga, Inhamitanga, Marromeu, Caia, Sena, Doa, Sinjal and Cambulatsisse were completely restored.
The stationmaster at Moatize, Ambrosio Magona, told the daily newspaper “Noticias” that the improvements have substantially reduced derailments. This is due to improved communications, with the central command in Beira controlling train speeds using satellite GPS information services.
However, Magona lamented that the railway still suffers from the theft of ballast by people living near the tracks.
The Sena line was originally built in 1914 by the British company Trans Zambezi Railways Limited. In recent years it has been heavily used by both coal and passenger trains. However, it has not managed to keep up with demand, leading the Brazilian mining company Vale to build a separate line to take coal to the northern port of Nacala. In addition, there is still talk of building another line to a new deep water port at Macuse on the coast of Zambezi province.Source: AIM