With a view to enhancing passenger comfort Botswana Railways has introduced new amenities including comfortable seating and easily accessible toilets in coaches.
At the same time, passengers of BR Express were over the Christmas holidays not only treated to popular songs and music but accorded public address system in their respective coaches, along with updates on train related information on an hourly basis. This is one of the new developments that seems to have come with the train and has had some of the passengers excited.
Although the passenger train started its return journeys with hiccups early last year, all seems to well now for the former “Blue Train”.
One young passenger, who made her first train trip to Gaborone from the city of Francistown, could not hide her excitement as she said the journey was better than what she had expected.
“Although the network was not as good last night, I liked the fact that I could keep in touch with my friends through free Wi-Fi that’s offered on board. In between the villages, we were also treated to good movies and music, what more could one have asked for?” said young Sipho Mosojane.
Another elderly passenger, Godfrey Mwanga, who was not as much fascinated by the “movies and music” but did not mind it either, said that from experience, “train trips are the safest. And now that they sell us tea on the way and play us gospel music, the long trip has been shortened”.
Although no official comment has been solicited from the BR Express management regarding the new developments on the train, most travellers seem to be making a shift to rail transportation as opposed to buses. Perhaps due to the many road accidents or just maybe the introduction of the infotainment.
Botswana Railways terminated the previous passenger train in 2009 following a string of operational losses amounting to about P30 million per annum; as well as inability to service the locomotives and coaches, which put passengers’ lives at risk. A decision to return the train under a new name and model was made a few years back with the first trip made early last year.