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Zim goes for Chinese trains

Godfrey Marawanyika

ZIMBABWE intends to import Chinese-made railway wagons and locomotives to replenish those dilapidated among its fleet. The deal is, however, still subject to negotiat


A team of Chinese, which was in the country to inspect some of the railway infrastructure, has gone back to complete their evaluation.

Transport and Communication minister Christopher Mushowe said although the delegation from China was in the country, nothing concrete had been reached as yet.

“I went to China early last month to discuss some of the problems our railway sector is facing. The visit was meant to assess and see how we can refurbish our own infrastructure which includes locomotives,” he said.

“A Chinese delegation also came and did its own feasibility study on our locomotives. If all goes well we might get some locomotives from them. However, the delegation left for China last week.”

Mushowe’s comments come in the wake of last week’s accident which left 70 people seriously injured when two commuter trains carrying 3 500 passengers collided.

The country’s railway sector is dogged by problems pertaining to lack of spare parts which have affected the signalling system since most of the equipment is imported.

Last year 50 people died when two trains collided in Dete in an accident largely blamed on the poor signalling system between the Bulawayo/Victoria Falls route.

Mushowe, however, refused to disclose how much it could cost the country to secure the equipment from China, saying Zimbabwe was also in discussions with other unnamed countries.

“We are not only in discussion with the Chinese but with other countries. I cannot disclose which other countries we are discussing with for possible assistance because right now we have not even signed a memorandum of understanding.”

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