PEOPLE travelling from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro will have every reason to smile come November 2019, as the company undertaking the 2.7 tri/- Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, Yapi Merkez, maintains that it is committed to beat the deadline.

As of June, 2018 the construction work for the first phase from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro had reached 16 per cent, according to Yapi Merkez Planning Chief, Enis Eryilmaz.

According to him, next month, the contractor will start laying of tracks, a move that will increase confidence in many Tanzanians who are eagerly waiting for an electronic train.

Equally, Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), Assistant Project Manager, Engineer Machibwa Masanja insisted on Tuesday that by the end of this month, the construction works is expected to reach 18 per cent.

He was speaking when members of a team of the Engineers Registration Board (ERB), led by their Chairman Professor Ninatubu Lema visited the construction sites, to receive a progress report on the implementation of the SGR project.

Almost 15 months since the execution of the project kicked off, already, Tanzanians have so far secured jobsAccording to Mr Eryilmaz, of all the employees currently executing the project, 90.4 per cent are Tanzanians while only 9.6 per cent were expatriates. 

“We are really committed to complete the project on time as we are working day and night and we look forward to celebrate the first electric train in Tanzania,’’ insisted Yapi Merkez Deputy Project Manager (Construction), Tamer Comert.

The ERB chairman and his team said after visiting several passenger stations that the construction work was superb and that they were happy to see many Tanzanians engaged in the project.

“We are happy that majority of Tanzanians are participating in the project and we believe that capacity building to local engineers will be made by experts and experienced engineers,’’ said Prof Lema.

The ERB Registrar, Engineer Patrick Balozi, said he was also impressed that some important equipment was being procured in Tanzania thus boosting the country’s economy.

The first phase of the 1.215 billion US dollar (about 2.7 tri/-) SGR project is expected to be completed in November 2019.

In April 2017, President John Magufuli laid the foundation stone for the construction of the first historic electric train in East and Central Africa, with the capacity to transport 10,000 tonnes of cargo at once, with the potential of creating over one million jobs upon completion in 2019.

The 30-month project will enable passenger trains to travel at 160 kilometres per hour.

It will also comprise 300 kilometre railway line, with 205 kilometres being the main line and 95 kilometres intersections, according to Engineer Masanja.

The TRC Assistant Project Manager (SGR Dar-Morogoro) said there would also be six main stations and six mini-stations for intersections.

The main Stations are, Dar es Salaam, Pugu, Soga, Kwala, Ngerengere and Morogoro. Once the project is complete, the government plans to introduce fast and modern train.

The freight train on the other side will have a maximum speed of 120kph.

During the visit by ERB, Korea’s national railway operator, Korail, that was awarded a contract by the Tanzania’s Rail Assets Holding Company to provide consultancy services on the project, through its Vice-President Young Hak Choi touted for amendment of some tax laws that he insisted were delaying the implementation of the project.