Benguela, Angola, 9 Jan – The Benguela Railway (CFB), which links Angola’s Atlantic coast with the country’s central highlands breadbasket and neighboring states, will be rehabilitated along its entire route by 2007 to become a key tool for development in Southern Africa, officials have said.
Rebuilding and modernization work on the 1,300 km line has been in progress for several years and a US$ 300 million contract was awarded last week to a Chinese consortium for the rehabilitation of the final stretch of track.
The Luanda authorities estimate that the CFB will operate about 50 trains daily traveling at an average 80 kph when it reopens. The line, from the port city of Lobito to Luau in the eastern province of Moxico, will carry 4 million passengers and 20 million metric tons of freight every year.
The Benguela railway took over a quarter century to build and was opened in 1929 to become a crucial tool for the development of the Portuguese colony of Angola. It also carried copper ore from neighboring Congo for shipment from Lobito.
After Angola’s slide into civil war from 1975, the line fell into disuse with the exception of a short section from Lobito to Benguela along the Atlantic coast. (macauhub)