Rwanda and Tanzania have agreed to drop the proposed use of diesel engines in favour of electric locomotives for the Isaka-Kigali standard gauge railway (SGR) line.

According to Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, Rwanda’s transport minister, the decision to switch from diesel to electric was motivated by the need to reduce travel times for both cargo and passenger traffic, as well as to address environmental concerns.

Speaking at a meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart Makame Mbarawa, Uwihanganye directed the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) and Joint Technical Monitoring Committee (JTMC) to produce an updated feasibility study for the project.

The suggested change in plan is expected to make the proposed trains faster which will give the countries and the Central Corridor a competitive edge over the Northern Corridor that runs through Kenya.

The two governments are expected to tender the project in the next three months with the ground breaking of the railway set for October 2018.