Angola: Train to reach Malanje this year

4 May 2009

Luanda, Angola, 4 May – Passenger and goods trains will be able to travel between Luanda and Malanje by the end of the year, according to the director-general of the Luanda Railroad (CFL), Manuel Gougel Rodrigues.

Speaking to Angolan news agency Angop, Rodrigues said that as part of the programme for rebuilding and modernising of the Luanda Railroad, the track has been laid as far as Malanje and stations have been repaired.

Estimated to cost around US$90 million the reconstruction project for the Luanda railroad is being carried out by Chinese company CMEC-TEC.

Gourgel Rodrigues also said that the track was being taken up in order to lay ballast to make the line safer and make the corrections needed to prevent setbacks.

He said that the aim was to create conditions for the trains to circulate at a “commercial” speed of up to 80 kilometres per hour and thus increase their profitability.

The CFL was inaugurated in 1909 across a total of 479 kilometres, including small branchlines.

After Angola’s independence, the CFL went into a long period of decline, due to the reduced amount of cargo that was transported (from 301,000 tonnes in 1973 to 54 tonnes in 1990), loss of qualified staff, financial difficulties and a lack of investments due to the deterioration of the line.

Another factor that led to the line coming to a standstill was the civil war, as railway traffic was often halted, as of 1984. After two years of no traffic at all, the CFL re-launched a limited service between Malanje and Luanda in August 1991. (macauhub)