The Uganda Railway is still a meter-gauge railway system which was constructed and by the British state railway company. Because Uganda is a landlocked country, the railway linked the interiors of Uganda and Kenya to Mombasa port and as well continued to Mwanza port in Tanzania. After a series of mergers and splits, the line is now under the hands of Uganda Railways Corporation.
The line’s management changed from the Uganda Railways Corporation to the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) in 2006. The Rift Valley Railways consortium took over the operations of the Uganda and Kenya Railways after acquiring a 25-year concession in November 2006 to operate the Kenya-Uganda Railway line built by the British. It stretches from the Port of Mombasa to Kampala in Uganda, touching major economic towns within the region.
The railway transport means has faced the most challenging moments compared to other transport models used in Uganda. Most of the railway lines have been stolen for scrap selling which has cut off the movements of the railway to all its reaches across the country.
The activity of the railway in Uganda were shifted to the South Africa’s private Rift valley railway for a period of 25 years contract but when the operations has failed out the government of Uganda under its authority decided discontinue the contract.
For today Uganda government through the Uganda Railway Cooperation is trying to revamp this section of transport besides other means. The authority has the mandate to construction, operation and maintenance of railway, marine and road services both in and outside Uganda, for the carriage of passengers and goods.
Railway Network in Uganda
- The railway line has almost reached all regions of the country right from the Kampala capital to Malaba, from Kasese to Arua covering over 1,260km. The main line from Kampala to Tororo/Malaba, part of the Northern Corridor between Kampala and Mombasa covers about 250km;
- Spur lines to Jinja and Port Bell ferry terminals on Lake Victoria for routes to Kisumu (Kenya) and Mwanza (Tanzania) extends to an estimate of 21km.
- The line from Kampala to Kasese the most common western route 333km
- The northern line from Tororo to Pakwach 641km and the Busoga Loop line 15km.
The railway transport system in Uganda also includes rail wagon ferry services on Lake Victoria connecting Port Bell and/or Jinja extending to Tanzania at Mwanza and Kisumu in Kenya. The Uganda railway track is meter gauge.
After the government revealed plans of revamping the available meter gauge railway, the Sh5 billion deal with a Chinese firm that will see its 260-kilometre century-old meter gauge railway line between Malaba and Kampala rehabilitated in under 12 months. This slowed the hope of the construction of the standard gauge railway between Tororo –Pakwach and Kampala- Tororo and Malaba –Kampala, which would even connect to Kenya and Rwanda.
In the November 2021, the Uganda Railway Corporation under ministry of works and transport procured locomotive from the South Africa’s based manufacturer Grindrod Rail. Though the locomotives were incompatible with the Uganda Rail but adjustments were made to ensure they fit on well.
The major functioning routes of railway network in Uganda is the cargo railway from Kampala to Malaba
However, passenger railway is as well available for shorter distance from Nalukolongo to Namanve and if, wishing to use the railway line have to follow the passenger schedules for the railways routes at the headquarters.