Every year, people are killed and injured because they are trespassing, or vandalising the railway facilities.
Zambia Railways Limited has continued to appeal to the general public to desist from activities such as trespassing, vandalism and encroachment
Only certain parts of the railway premises are open to the members of the public. Of course, you can go on the stations, platforms and safe crossing places.
But you will be trespassing if you go on to the railway tracks, or any other area without authorisation by railway staff.
Anyone trespassing on the railway facilities puts his or her life at risk for any eventuality in the railway premise especially those that short cut across the railway track.
Vandalism of Railway Infrastructure and assets has continued to be a setback in improving the Zambia Railways’ infrastructure.
These retrogressive acts are not only endangering the lives of the travelling public on the railway line but also contributing to derailments, forcing the company to incur unplanned costs .
In some communities along the line of rail most residents have been dumping garbage on the railway line posing a risk to the passengers and the goods.
In other cases, some unscrupulous people have been caught removing concrete sleepers, ballast stones and rail components from the track which in some way causes derailments.
It is a criminal offence for any person found removing concrete sleepers, ballast stones and other railway components from the railway line or being in possession of the stated items because anyone found wanting will face the law.
Mmebers of the public are therefore urged to desist from such acts and safeguard the railway infrastructure.
It is against this background that ZRL Police command has been the main provider of Security and has attached great importance to safeguarding the passengers and the customer goods.
In fighting Vandalism and theft,the ZRL police Unit has a good working relationship with other security agencies such as the Zambia State Police.
The good cooperation with the State Police has resulted into joint anti vandalism and train escorts of high valued commodities such as Copper, fuel, Sugar, Fertilisers etc.
Zambia Railways Police Unit has investigated complex criminal cases of vandalism and theft which has led to conviction of offenders.Therefore there is need for communities especially those along the line of rail to protect the railway infrastructure by desisting from vandalism and theft and reporting any cases to ZRL Police or any police station.
The performance of Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) has continued to improve from 2012 when the Government took over the management of the Company from the concessionaire Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ).
The performance from 2003 to 2012 during the concessioning period declined to 594,050 tons per year and started increasing after the takeover by ZRL to 959,956 tons in 2014
The USD120 million Eurobond that the government injected into ZRL has been utilized to purchase through open tendering, materials, spares, passenger coaches and equipment for Infrastructure and rolling stock rehabilitation.
The aim of the track rehabilitation is to increase the track capacity and train speeds to an average of 70km/h for freight trains and 80km/h for passenger trains.
During the rehabilitation exercise a total of 291,000 concrete sleepers have been installed to replace expired wooden and steel sleepers.
The aim of the rolling stock rehabilitation is to provide adequate and reliable rolling stock and locomotives for the haulage of more traffic volumes and movement of more passengers.
ZRL has a total fleet of 37 and 2,094 locomotives and wagons respectively.
Out of the 18 locomotives earmarked for rehabilitation and periodical overhaul, 7 locomotives have been overhauled.
So far the company has rehabilitated 91 wagons and refurbished 13 passenger coaches.
The company has commenced the re-manufacturing of ten (10) locomotives at Kabwe workshops; so far, Four (4) U20C Locomotive frames have been prepared.
ZRL has plans to construct new railway linkages to the new mineral production centers on the Copperbelt Province so as to link all the mines which are Zambia’s main economic hub.
In line with Government policy direction of resuscitating inter- mine train operations on full scale following the nullification of the concession , works by ZRL with regards to inter-mine train operations are progressing very well;
Zambia Railways Limited has linked KCM’s Konkola, KCM’s Nchanga mines and Manica siding to the main railway line.
Zambia Railways Limited(ZRL), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and CFM of Mozambique have embarked on a joint marketing programme in a bid to promote the Beira corridor of Mozambique through interactions with various customers in Zambia.
The delegation from both Zimbabwe and Mozambique combined with Zambia Railways are scheduled to meet customers and hold promotion talks to market the Beira corridor.
The Beira corridor is one of the corridors that Zambia Railways utilizes for the movement of commodities because of its operational efficiencies. Today Beira has handled a lot of fertilizers for Zambia and the aim is to ensure most of these come by rail.
Zambia Railways Limited Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda said ZRL boasts of a good working relationship that it enjoys with other contiguous railways in the southern region, and this can be evidenced by the joint marketing programmes.
He said the company will endeavour to support any region efforts aimed at marketing corridors linked to Zambia.
Zambia Railways does not work in isolation but it incorporates other key players in the safe movement of goods for customers to various corridor destinations.
National Railways of Zimbabwe Director Marketing Elector Mafunga observed that the rail transport business has changed over the years due to a number of factors obtaining on the market.
And this therefore means that the approach to wooing customers must change too, if the railways have to survive and increase the share on the market. High levels of flexibility in the rates for movement of cargo should be adopted by railways.
Mrs. Mafunga further urged Zambia Railways to count on the National Railways of Zimbabwe for any business developments.
The CFM of Mozambique Director Commercial Paulo Tarmamade has urged customers in Zambia to move their bulk cargo by rail on the Beira route.
Mr Tarmamade noted that the railways are a best option in the heavy cargo movement because of its many advantages over road haulers.
Government has reiterated its commitment in ensuring that Zambia Railways becomes a more viable business enterprise.
Transport and Communications Minister Kapembwa Simbao visited Zambia Railways for a familiarization tour of the Railway facilities in the company of his Deputy Minister James Kapyanga.
Mr. Simbao an Engineer by profession said Zambia Railways has potential to get back to its glory days because it is a profitable entity which deals with carriage of heavy goods and passengers.
“Government wants to ensure that the company comes back to the way it used to be, as railway companies are profitable if given utmost attention” he said.
The Minister noted that many customers are willing to move their cargo by rail as it is one of the safest, reliable and efficient mode of transport.
Mr. Simbao was elated by the skilled workforce at Kabwe Main Workshops after his tour , and urged Management to advertise the various products been made from the workshops.
Mr. Simbao addressed Zambia Railways employees based in Kabwe, further elaborating on the transfer of shares of the railway firm to the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which he described as a step in the right direction.
He urged the employees to show a different characteristic in improving the operations of the organization, by been innovative, disciplined and hardworking.
Zambia Railways has launched the new Zambezi Ordinary Passenger Train that will be traversing between Kitwe and Livingstone twice weekly.
Speaking during the Flagging off ceremony of the Zambezi train, Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge said it is gratifying to note that the train with its state- of- the- art facilities still remains the cheapest and,therefore,most affordable to the common person.
“This is an indication of a caring Government and as you may wish to know, in monetary terms, Passenger Services do not generate profit, therefore, our Government will continue to invest into it because of its determination and commitment to improving the Social Welfare of our people” Mr. Musenge said.
The minister who also inspected the train urged all the travelling publics, not to vandalise the new passenger coaches but to take care of the infrastructure so as to maintain quality of the service, which should remain as an inheritance from generation to generation.
Meanwhile Zambia Railways Board Chairman, Mr. Davies Chama in his speech read by one of the Board members Professor Steven Simukanga said Zambia Railways has continued to record progress from the time government took over the company and subsequent commencement of the rehabilitation programme.
Professor Simukanga said the new coaches for the Zambezi train have been procured with the proceeds from the US$120million Eurobond, an indication that the money injected into the railway firm was utilized appropriately.
The Zambezi Train has facilities such as sleeper compartments, business, standard and economy classes. It also has television sets, music system, bathroom showers, snack coach and air-conditioned coaches.
The Catholic Church is impressed with the rehabilitation works been carried out by Zambia Railways.
During the familiarization tour of Zambia Railways facilities, Catholic Diocese of Kabwe Bishop Clement Mulenga, was happy with the progress made so far by the institution after governments decision to repossess it.
The catholic clergy was in the company of Vica General-Rodgers Kabwiri, Fr. Bartholomew Mukuka, Ms. Mary Kabinga and Sr. Winfridah.
“We are delighted to see how Zambia railways operations are improving, and we hope that the institution will continue progressing and recording success in their operations” Bishop Mulenga said.
Meanwhile Zambia Railways Director Rolling Stock Webster Mtambo made a presentation to the clergy and his entourage on the update report of Zambia Railways from the time the company was repossessed by government.
Mr Mtambo said ZRL has recorded progress in the ongoing rehabilitation programme of the infrastructure and rolling stock.
He further pointed out the expected benefits of the rehabilitation project, which includes increased train speeds, increase in the passenger ridership and increased tonnage for freight trains.
After the presentation, the visiting clergy and his entourage toured ZRL Main Workshops, the Control Traffic Center (CTC) to familiarize with the operations of the institution.
Zambia Railways Limited has reaffirmed its commitment in training its human resource for improved operations of the institution.
Speaking during the graduation of twenty seven (27) trainee artisans, Zambia Railways Limited Director Human Resources Davies Mukonkela said for the railway firm to thrive, there is need for a skilled workforce.
The trainee artisans underwent training in Human Resource, Safety and Environment, Motive Power, Carriage and Wagon, Finance and general operations of Zambia Railways.
Mr Mukonkela said the company will continue investing in the training of its workforce for a better Zambia Railways.
He urged the graduates to apply the knowledge that they acquired from the training and therefore add value to the institution.
The trainee artisans specialized in different trades were later handed with certificates at a colourful graduation ceremony held at Tuskers Hotel in Kabwe.
Some of the artisans are electricians,heavy duty operators,plumbers,etc.
Zambia Railways Head Training Harry Siame said the training programme for any employee is an ongoing undertaking and when recruiting.
Mr Siame further added that it is important that the trainees are inducted so that they understand the general operations of the company.
Zambia Railways has reiterated its commitment in preserving the cultural heritage of the country by supporting traditional ceremonies.
Zambia Railways Limited Director Human Resources, Mr. Davies Mukonkela said this after making a contribution towards the ceremony where ZRL was one of the sponosors at the Ncwala Traditional Ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Chipata district which took place on 27th February, 2016 at Mtenguleni.
Mr Mukonkela said Zambia Railways has a proactive Corporate Social Responsibility CSR policy which enables it to participate fully in the social and community activities of the country.
“We are happy as Zambia Railways to be part of this colourful and splendid event. We shall continue rendering support to traditional ceremonies as a way of preserving our rich culture and history.” He said.
The Ncwala ceremony was characterised by dances and songs from the traditional dance groups also known as ‘impis” much to the satisfaction of the audience in the arena.
The Senior Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni Speaking people clad in his animal skinned ceremonial attire was later handed with gifts presented by the Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda in the company of the Director Human Resources,Manager Procurement and other support staff from the railway firm.
The colourful and unique ceremony was graced by His Excellency the President Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
ZAMBIA RAILWAYS ATTENDS A BUSINESS FORUM IN FRANCE
Zambia Railways Limited is impressed with advanced technological railway infrastructure and operations in Paris, France.
Zambia Railways Limited Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda represented the institution accompanied by the Corporate Planning Manager, Vyonsi Manda at a Business Forum in France from 5th to 9th February, 2016.
Mr Musonda was given an opportunity to speak at this important forum, and his presentation caught the attention of many French investors involved in concrete sleeper manufacturing, rail transport and construction industries.
He further told the forum that Zambia Railways has huge potential to grow the business and become the leading bulk and heavy transporter in the country.
Meanwhile a French company called ‘RATP’ has expressed interest to venture into commuter train services in Zambia. RATP is a state owned parastatal running Rail and Road Public Passenger Transportation with a workforce of about 58,000 employees and about 14million passengers are moved per day.
In addition, RATP has 75% passenger market share and has a fully fledged real estate division which owns and operates shopping malls among other properties.
The Zambia Railways team also had a meeting with Alstom another strong French company specialised in the energy and transport sectors with a division involved in the manufacturing of coaches and railway rolling stock.
Systra was another French company that was visited by ZRL and it is specialised in public transportation and in the export of railway expertise to the outside world.
The Business Forum was organised by the Zambian Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Trade. The Zambian delegation was headed by His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu with the Ministers of Energy and Water Development, Foreign Affairs and Commerce in his entourage.