The new passenger coaches recently introduced in the country are proving to be popular with passengers, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has said.
About a month ago, NRZ introduced new locomotives and coaches, leased from South African rail utility, Transnet, as part of its revival strategy. The rail coaches were deployed on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route and started operating on March 28, 2018.
The coaches are part of 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and coaches leased from Transnet under an agreement with the Diaspora Investment Development Group (DGIG)/ Transnet Consortium.
NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika said: “NRZ has witnessed an increase in patronage on its passenger train on that route.”
“There has been a significant rise in passenger figures with an average 300 people boarding the train daily compared to 240 recorded before their deployment.
The…coaches…complement those owned by the parastatal as it seeks to reposition itself as a transporter of choice with the travelling public on inter-city routes,” he said.
“NRZ passenger services offer a number of advantages over road transport. These include safe travel, affordable fares and comfort in the sleeper and standard coaches while dining cars are available on some routes.”
Maravanyika said all the 200 wagons have been put to dedicated use for chrome exports from the Zimbabwe Iron and Mining Company (Zimasco) Kildonan in Mashonaland Central and Zimasco Kwekwe to Maputo.
It is estimated that NRZ requires about $2 billion to turn around its fortunes, but the $400 million would help reposition the parastatal for self-sustenance.