The Tanzania Railways Corporation plans to start testing the standard gauge railway electricity systems over three months, run by four sub-stations along the completed 300 kilometres stretch between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro.
The four sub-stations are 50km apart, with 19 transformers, and the test will be done in two main stages — the unit test and the component test.
This will ensure that the whole system is well installed and connected to the national grid whose electricity is supplied by three main sources of power: steam, gas and hydroelectricity generation.
Initially, the SGR testing was to be completed by end of April, after which grand testing of the locomotives was to be carried out from May.
However, this had to be postponed to allow the main contractor to complete sensitive and delicate works on overhead bridges along the 14km stretch between Dar es Salaam and Pugu stations.
Speaking to The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam recently, SGR project manager Machibya Masanja said that once the construction of overhead structures is complete, preparations for grand testing would take place for three months, prior to the official inauguration of goods and passenger service towards the end of the year.
“Contractors ought to be careful as the railway line crosses four main roads, so they have to avoid unnecessary traffic congestion or blockade at junction points at Nyerere Road, Kigogo, Kilwa Road, and Nelson Mandela road junctions at Buguruni,” said Mr Masanja.
These roads stretch from Dar es Salaam’s central business district to the outskirts.
Recently, Tanzania Electric Supply Company Ltd (Tanesco) said it had dedicated 70MW of electricity to power the first phase of the SGR project set to start operations in the next few months.
Energy Minister Medard Kalemani said that the actual construction of power lines between Dar es Salaam (Kinyerezi) and Morogoro (Kingolwira) was complete and that the 70MW are already available to the Tanzania Railways Corporation.
The government has invested Tsh71.1 billion ($30.7 million) in building the required power infrastructure for the first phase.
Dr Kalemani said the locomotives being imported have inbuilt power-saving systems that keep them charged for almost one hour.