TSUMEB - The upgrading of the railway line between Tsumeb and Otavi to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) standard has been completed by the D&M Rail Construction company.
The 40 km railway line was funded by government at a cost of N$320 million since June 2017.
Project manager Leon Steyn said SADC requires railway lines to be built with rails at 48 kg which have a wider and thicker top compared to the 30 kg.
During the upgrading the 30 kg rails which limited trains to a top speed of 40 kilometres per hour were replaced with the new required 48 kg rails which will enable trains to reach a top speed of 100 km/h with comfort.
The 48 kg rail, he added, were purchased in 2016 from Austria by government at a cost of N$100 million.
“We reused some old rail materials to rehabilitate some portions, and we also replaced the iron sleepers with the concrete sleepers,” he said.
The Tsumeb-Otavi railway line was last upgraded in 1958 with the 30 kg rails. With the 48 kg rails, the railway line is expected to last for the next 100 years, Steyn said.
‘Job well done’
D&M Rail Construction site agent, Wilbard Nashima, expressed satisfaction with the work done on this 40 km Tsumeb-Otavi railway line.
“I am impressed with the job well done as we also eliminated all the railway line joints by welding the two sections of rails together to the SADC standard,” he said.
Nashima further said that the rehabilitations and upgrading works on the railway lines between Krantzberg, Kalkfeld, Otjiwarongo and Otavi, which started in 2013, had been also completed.
The Krantzberg-Tsumeb railway line is known for transporting goods in cargo, fuel, ballast stones, sulphuric acid and copper among others from the Dundee Precious Metals in Tsumeb to the Walvis Bay harbour.
D&M Rail in 2013 was sub-contracted by government through TransNamib to rehabilitate and upgrade a total of 391 km railway lines from Krantzberg, Kalkfeld, Otjiwarongo, Otavi and Tsumeb.