Central East African Railways (Cear), the concessionaire firm of the country’s railway system will today start construction of a 1.3 kilometre fence along the railway line in Mbayani Township in Blantyre to reduce fatal accidents along the railway.
Cear communications manager Chisomo Mwamadi in an interview on Tuesday said that the project, which will run for 90 days, will cost the company $260 000 (K190 million).
“The fence will keep communities away from the rail because in the past some people were passing time on the railway, throwing garbage on the rails which posed a threat to train movement.
“Some people were in fact doing business on the railway while others constructed structures close to the line which was putting their lives in danger,” said Mwamadi.
He said Cear will use environmental friendly concrete blocks for this project and will have six crossings well marked for pedestrians.
“Consultations with community leaders and the communities in Mbayani Township started in December last year,” he said.
Mwamadi added that funds permitting, the company would also like to take the project in all critical areas along the whole rail network.
Last month, one person died due to severe head injuries after being hit by a Cear train in Mchinji district while another lost both limbs after a train run over him in the same district.
Rail transport is vital in landlocked Malawi, especially to move goods in and out of the country.
In a recent interview, Cear managing director Hendry Chimwaza urged the private sector in the country to utilise rail transport as it is cheaper and capable of moving goods in bulk.
He said so far, Cear has invested 12 locomotives and new passenger coaches while their partner in Mozambique, Northern Corridor Development (CDN), which operates railway system north of Mozambique and Nacala port, has 32 locomotives.