Luena, Moxico, 20 Feb – Chinese company China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation (CR-20) this week began repair work on the railway between Munhango (Bié) and Luau (Moxico), and the Benguela Railroad (CFB) over a stretch of 500 kilometres, according to Angolan news agency Angop.
The work, on which 300 Chinese technicians and the same number of Angolans are working, began in Chicala some 35 kilometres from the city of Luena with preparation of the base for laying the rails.
“CR-20” official, Zhang Li Jun, told Angop that by May 2010 the rails will have been replaced and the first train may arrive in Luena.
Zhang Li Jun also said that at the end of the same year it would be possible to reach the station at Luau, an Angolan municipality bordering the Democratic republic of Congo.
The same official said, however, that the opening of the line between Lobito and Luau would only take place in 2011.
The Angolan government invested US$1.8 billion in the repair of the stretch of railway, which also includes bridge construction and 16 train stations with capacity to handle over 100 tonnes of cargo per day.
Reconstruction of the CFB will drive development of the central and eastern regions of the country, as well as strengthening regional integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as the railroad passes through three countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe) in the region.
The CFB which is 1,301 kilometres long, is over 100 years old, and is the only rail link from Central Africa to the Atlantic and it was built between 1903 and 1929 and opened to traffic two years later. (macauhub)