East African Railway Master Plan

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The East African Railway Master Plan is a proposal for rejuvenating existing railways serving Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and extending them initially to Rwanda and Burundi and eventually to South Sudan, Ethiopia and beyond.[1] The plan is managed by infrastructure ministers from participating East African Community countries in association with transport consultation firm CPCS Transcom.[2]


East Africa, and indeed Africa in general, uses several gauges which would cause problems if railways of different gauges meet. The following gauges are used by existing railways in the area:

The first of the proposed regional railway lines, the Mombasa-Nairobi-Kampala-Kigali-Bujumbura Railway would use standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) railway.[3]

Proposed lines[edit]

The following are some of the proposed railway lines under the plan; all are standard gauge:[4]

  1. Mombasa-Bujumbura Line; passes through Nairobi, Rongai, Tororo, Kampala, and Kigali.
  2. Nairobi-Addis Ababa Line; passes through Garissa.
  3. Lamu-Juba Line; passes through Garissa.
  4. Nairobi-Juba Line; passes through Garissa.
  5. Nairobi-Kisumu Line; passes through Rongai
  6. Kampala-Kisangani Line; passes through Kasese
  7. Kisangani-Bujumbura Line; passes through Kasese, Kampala, and Kigali
  8. Tororo-Juba Line; passes through Gulu, with spur to Pakwach at Gulu.
  9. Kisumu-Juba Line; passes through Rongai
  10. Kampala-Juba Line; passes through Tororo, and Gulu
  11. Juba-Addis Ababa Line; passes through Garissa
  12. Dar es Salam-Burundi and Rwanda Line


  • May 2014, signing ceremony for funding of the construction of the Standard gauge MombasaNairobi section between the government of Kenya and the government of the People's Republic of China.[6]
  • August 2014, Uganda awards the contract of the construction of the MalabaKampala section of the standard gauge section to the Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). The contract is worth an estimated US $8 billion (USh 20 trillion).[7]
  • March 2015, Uganda on Monday 30 March 2015, signs contract with China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, to build standard gauge railway from Malaba to Kampala and from Kampala to Rwandese border. Contract includes construction of Kampala to Kasese Railway Line. Not clear if Kampala to Nimule Line is included.[8][9]
  • March 2015, Tanzania on Monday 30 March 2015, announced plans to build a $14.2 billion rail network under a plan that Transport Minister Samuel Sitta called "the single biggest project ever to be implemented by the Tanzanian government since our country's independence." The plan calls for the construction of a railroad from Rwanda and Burundi to Dar es Salam and from the capital to the northern and southern parts of the country.[10]
  • October 2016, the electrified standard-gauge Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway begins freight service, with passenger service scheduled for early 2017.[11]
  • October 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta launches construction of phase 2A, a 120 km link between Nairobi and Naivasha.[12]
  • November 2016, Civil works completed on the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge link, and service is scheduled to begin on 1 June 2017.[13]
  • January 2017, The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway is declared fully completed and is officially inaugurated.[14]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Sambu, Zeddy (29 April 2008). "East Africa: Countries Move to Upgrade Railway Network". Business Daily (South Africa). Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Muramira, Gashegu (20 April 2009). "East Africa: EAC Railway Master Plan to Be Redesigned". New Times (Rwanda). Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "China To Build Railway Linking East Africa". Agence France-Presse via Aljazeera.com. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Map of Proposed New East African Railway System". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Kenya Launches New Railway to Reach South Sudan and Burundi, BBC News, 28 November 2013, retrieved 13 May 2014 
  6. ^ Mumo, Muthoki (5 September 2013). "Sh319bn China Funds to Build High-Speed Railway to Burundi". Daily Nation Mobile. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  7. ^ David Lumu, and Samuel Balagadde (30 August 2014). "Chinese Firm CHEC Given US$8 Billion Railway Deal". New Vision (Kampala). Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Jin, Haixing (31 March 2015). "China's Xi Finds Eight Good Reasons to Host Uganda's President". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Monitor Reporter, . (30 March 2015). "Museveni Signs Deal With Chinese Company To Construct Kasese Railway Line". Daily Monitor (Kampala). Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "UPDATE 2-Tanzania to spend $14 bln on railways, eyes regional hub status". Reuters. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ethiopia-Djibouti electric railway line opens". BBC News, 5 October 2016. Accessed 3 November 2016. [1]
  12. ^ Shem Oirere. "Kenya launches second phase of standard-gauge railway" International Railway Journal, 20 October 2016. Accessed 8 November 2016. [2]
  13. ^ Ringa, Mathias (2017-01-11). "50 more trains to arrive from China by May ahead of June launch". Business Daily. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  14. ^ "Djibouti-Ethiopia Railway Officially Inaugurated". Awramba Times. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 

External links[edit]