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NRZ hits the brakes on commuter trains

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says it is not in a state to re-introduce commuter trains due to infrastructural challenges.

This was in response to a hoax message circulating on social media claiming the parastatal will next week reintroduce commuter trains in Bulawayo.

“NRZ will re-introduce commuter trains via Luveve to town with the effect of next week and Emganwini to town. The fare will be 25cents,” read the message.

In an interview with CITE, NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the parastatal currently does not have resources to repair infrastructure.

“We received suggestions from the public to re-introduce the trains but we do not have resources to repair coaches and the rail line which are both in a critical state,” said Maravanyika.

In 2017, out of 166 locomotives, only 60 were functional and were 30 to 50 years old when their lifespan was supposed to be 25 years.

There were 7 153 wagons, and 3 641 wagons had various defects, while only 3 512 were in service.

There were 332 passenger coaches, but only 108 were in use and these were in a poor condition. 255km of rail out of 2 660km was classified as under restrictions, which means the driver had to travel at 10km per hour instead of 60km to avoid derail.

Earlier this year, NRZ received railway equipment, on lease terms, under the $400 million NRZ and Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)/Transnet deal.

Mr Maravanyika highlighted that they will look at possibilities to re-introduce the trains after these challenges are addressed.

The hoax message comes after commuter omnibuses hiked fares, with some charging as much as $2 for a single route.

 

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