Written on the flight home, early on 23rd April – St. George’s Day.
My first visit to Uganda in 1994 started with a train journey from Mombasa. So it is perhaps fitting to end with a short piece about what is happening to the railways of Uganda now. The first line from Mombasa through Nairobi and on to Kampala and then Kasese was built well over a hundred years ago and is of a narrow gauge construction. There is to be a new line from Mombasa through to Kampala provided a current dispute between the Chinese contractors and the Ugandan government can be resolved.
I read this piece in the Railway Magazine on the flight home ….
“Uganda set for rail revival? …. Freight traffic in Uganda is slowly increasing, although long-term prospects probably depend on the completion of the proposed standard gauge line from Mombasa, in Kenya, to Kampala, in Uganda. The line is being built by Chinese contractors and is now the subject of disputes between the Ugandan government and the contractors.”
This new line will be to standard gauge and there will be transhipment issues between different parts of the network.
The passenger service I enjoyed in the 1990s is long gone. New Vision in Uganda carried a story about the decline of the railways.
I did a little bit of research on the way home.
The government is considering developing commuter services for Kampala:
Two wikipedia articles are interesting, giving some good background information:
RVR (Rift Valley Railways) is the new franchise holder for the railways and is beginning to undertake some development work.