The first train for more than two decades reached the railway station at Moatize, in the western province of Tete, on 30 January, as the reconstruction of the Sena line, linking the port of Beira to the Moatize coal basin, nears completion.
The Sena line was comprehensively sabotaged by the apartheid backed rebels in the mid-1980s. Every inch of track had to be relayed, in work done by the Indian Rites and Ircon Consortium.
On its arrival in Moatize, the first train was received by members of the Central Committee of the ruling Frelimo party resident in Tete, some Frelimo members of parliament, members of the provincial and district governments, and a large crowd of local residents.
Moatize district administrator Adelino Andissene said that the trains will bring many benefits to the province and to the people living along the railway.
For his part, the Tete provincial director of transport, Paz Catruza, said that the long awaited arrival of trains from Beira to Tete will speed up exploitation of the coal mines in Moatize, scheduled to start between the end of this year and early 2011. The railway can now be used to transport the equipment needed by the two companies with mining concessions, Vale of Brazil and Riversdale of Australia.
Catruza guaranteed that rail passenger transport between Beira and Moatize will resume in February. He pointed out that the rail fares will be much cheaper than the fares charged by the private minibus operators who currently ferry passengers between Beira and Tete province.