Central East African Railways (Cear) has said its new passenger coaches launched in November last year will take their maiden trip on Wednesday this week.
The company, in a press statement released on Friday, said the new coaches which include business, premier and standard classes will leave Limbe for Balaka on Wednesday at seven in the morning.
From there, passenger coaches will proceed to Nayuchi and then back to Balaka on Thursday before returning to Limbe on Friday, the statement said.
Speaking in an interview on Friday, Cear communications officer Chisomo Mwamadi said the charges for the new services are competitive and affordable.
“All our three classes of passenger coaches are air-conditioned and comfortable. Our fares are both affordable and competitive. Railway transport is the cheapest mode and the public should embrace it,” he said.
He, however, added that they have introduced new passenger fares to reflect the current operational costs, noting that the increase in the fares is a reflection of the removal of a subsidy on the service by government.
Mwamadi said the increases are minimal, noting that the fare from Limbe to Utale, Balaka has been increased from K500 to K950, Limbe to Liwonde has gone up to K1 100 from K600, whereas from Limbe to Nayuchi, the fare is now at K2 100 from K1 150.
According to Cear, all passengers intending to travel from Limbe to Nayuch via Balaka and Liwonde will have to book a day before the departure date while others will buy their tickets at their respective stations when the train arrives.
Cear also added that luggage weighing more than five kilogrammes will not be taken into the passenger coaches, but will go to the luggage wagons.
Established in 1999, Cear was given a concession to run rail transport in the country which has since been extended to 2045.
Cear has since promised to revitalise the rail transport services and it will, this year, bring into the country 12 locomotives and six more coaches. n