The refurbishment of Botswana Railways proposed stations are reported to be near completion as the corporation prepares to reintroduce the passenger train in March next year.
Addressing the media on his Ministry’s performance, this Monday, Minister of Transport and Communications Tshenolo Mabeo revealed that the proposed stations; Lobatse, Gaborone, Mahalapye, Palapye, Serule and Francistown will be completed by end of December 2015.
The service will be operated as night trains on a daily basis, whereas day trains will be operated during public holidays in addition to the night service. Botswana Railways Chief Executive Officer, Dominic Ntwaagae revealed that South Africa’s Transnet Engineering Company has been given the tender to manufacture and supply the coaches.
On the other hand, other companies are working on the stations, ticketing systems and catering among other components to bring back the blue train to full operation. “We have spent R280million in coaches. P20million will be spent on refurbishment of the stations,” said Ntwaagae.
The delayed return of the blue train is attributed to the initial tendering process, which was cancelled due to non-compliance by bidders. The train was scheduled to hit the rails by end of December 2015 and was later postponed to March 2016 in line with the delivery schedule of the manufacturer.