Following the cancellation of the passenger train hardly two years ago, the same locomotives discredited by the Botswana government are safely in operation and benefiting the people of Mozambique.
Claiming fragile financial sustainability and the locomotives’ affinity to accidents owing to their age, the Botswana government sold the coaches to Mozambique.
A public outcry that ensued did not convince the government to reconsider reintroducing the passenger service.
“Botswana Railways hauled the coaches to Plumtree in Zimbabwe at a cost of P150, 266 at the request of the Mozambique Port and Railways Authority (CFM). The authority contracted the National Railways of Zimbabwe for onward haulage of the coaches from Plumtree to Mozambique,” said the minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, adding that “the CFM engineering team that came to Botswana spent more than a month in the country to bring the coaches to a relatively safe condition to be railed to Mozambique”.
He said that CFM confirmed that, upon arrival into Mozambique, “it took them more than a month for further repairs of the coaches in their workshops before they could be released to service”.
“The coaches are being used in Mozambique. The bid price offered by CFM for the 38 coaches was P 12 303 400,” Ramsden further revealed, insisting Botswana Railways is currently going through a turnaround programme at the end of which a decision on the passenger train will be made; the result will be determined by the information on the ground.”