Rail transport in Rwanda

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There are currently no railway lines in Rwanda, although various plans to construct railways have been proposed, including a proposed line to Tanzania.[1][2]



Burundi / Rwanda rail plans of 2000[edit]

In 2000 Burundi and Rwanda announced plans to build a rail line linking their two countries to the Tanzanian rail network, and thus to the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam.

2006 delay[edit]

According to the Rwanda News Agency the African Development Bank was responsible for a 2006 delay in surveying the route of a rail link from Isaka through Rwanda's capital Kigali to Bujumbura.[3] The initial feasibility study was to cost $2.7 million. According to the Rwandan News Agency officials stated the African Development Bank was to have loaned 90% of the cost of the railway, with the remainder paid by Tanzania and Rwanda.

The Rwanda News Agency reported that an Indian firm named RITES was expected to take over the contract for the management of the Isaka line.[3]

A delegation from the American railroad BNSF also met with President Paul Kagame to discuss a route from Kigali to Isaka and at the same time the government announced that it had selected a German consulting company to undertake pilot work for the proposed mail line.[4]

Chinese survey of 2007[edit]

China had played a big role in building the TAZARA part of Tanzania's rail network, and in 2007 conducted a survey for extending the network into Rwanda.

2008 plan[edit]

On January 26, 2008 Rwanda's President announced plans for BNSF Railway to build a link from Rwanda's capital Kigali to Tanzania's rail network in Isaka Tanzania.[2][5] Some reports state the new line would be a narrow gauge, like the rest of Tanzania's rail service. Other reports state that Tanzania has already decided to upgrade its Isaka line to standard gauge, and that the Isaki-Kigali link would also be standard gauge. Yet other reports state that the Isaka-Rwanda leg would be of standard gauge and that cargo would be transshipped to different rolling stock in Isaka.

According to Reuters political unrest in neighboring Kenya has disrupted the reliability of road and rail service through Kenya, and the Rwandan line would allow rail transport to bypass Kenya if rail transport was disrupted there in future.[2]

The proposed plan was projected to be complete by 2013. Projected costs have not yet been announced.[2]

2013 Plan[edit]

More plans are being made for a link from Uganda.[6]

Opening ceremony in November 2013 for standard gauge railway from Mombasa, Kenya via Nairobi and Kampala to Rwanda and Burundi.[7] [8]

Under Construction[edit]

Technical measures to overcome Break of Gauge[edit]

On 31 May 2008, a proposal to link the railways of Egypt, 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) gauge, and Sudan, 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge, surfaced, with "Technical measures" to overcome the Break of gauge. What exactly these technical measures are was not revealed, but they presumably could be used on the new line to Kigali.[12]

Rail links with adjacent countries[edit]

See also[edit]




  1. ^ "Burundi and Rwanda". International Railway Journal. July 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-01. The governments of Burundi and Rwanda have announced plans to build their first rail lines to link their countries to the rail network in Tanzania, enabling freight services to operate to the port of Dares-Salaam, Tanzania. 
  2. ^ a b c d Obulutsa, George (January 26, 2008). "Tanzania to build rail link to Rwanda by 2013". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-06-02.  mirror[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "ADB delaying Isaka-Kigali railway". Rwanda News Agency. 31 July 2006. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  4. ^ "Rwanda: Kagame Meets Railway Expert". The New Times, Kigali, Rwanda. 2007-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Rwanda -- Tanzania railway 'on track'". May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  6. ^ http://www.railwaysafrica.com/blog/2013/10/new-railway-from-rwanda-to-uganda/
  7. ^ Photo and Map
  8. ^ http://www.railwaysafrica.com/blog/2011/07/07/african-development-bank-grants-for-study/
  9. ^ http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2013-11/29/c_132926989.htm
  10. ^ Photo and Map
  11. ^ http://naibuzz.com/2015/04/13/photos-standard-gauge-railway-construction-in-kenya/
  12. ^ Technical Measures Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine.[not in citation given]

Further reading[edit]

  • Robinson, Neil (2009). World Rail Atlas and Historical Summary. Volume 7: North, East and Central Africa. Barnsley, UK: World Rail Atlas Ltd. ISBN 978-954-92184-3-5. 

External links[edit]