Tanzania has conducted the inaugural test run of a train on its Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) between major port city Dar es Salaam and its capital Dodoma, with Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa flagging off the train on its first journey. 

Part of the Tanzanian Government’s $10bn SGR International Strategic Railway programme, the new railway is scheduled to begin services in July, with the inaugural trip carrying a group of local religious leaders to trial passenger operations to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Tanzania. 

Prime Minister Majaliwa said: “Today is a historic day towards the culmination of sixty years of the Union of the United Republic of Tanzania, the launch of the Railway line from Dar Es Salaam – Dodoma shows that there are still a few steps left for us to start the official journey.” 

The ceremony launching the inaugural service also saw the government assure Tanzanians that the 627km line would open by July 2024, with 65 of the 89 passenger carriages ordered for the services already delivered. 

The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) also confirmed that nine of its new 19 passenger and cargo locomotives had been delivered, while just one of 10 Hyundai Rotem EMUs on order was now in its possession. 

Despite the celebration of the beginning of passenger trials, the TRC said it was particularly keen to begin similar trials for cargo operations on the line. 

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Ndugu Masanja Kungu Kadogosa, director general of the TRC, said: “We are very much waiting for the cargo carriages because that is where there are more economic benefits and opportunities.” 

Development on the Dar es Salaam to Dodoma line continues the heavy investment put into Tanzania’s rail infrastructure in recent years, with the country also recently welcoming a $200m loan from the World Bank to improve the existing rail line between the port city and Isaka.