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Welcome to TAZARA

The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority, popularly known by the acronym TAZARA, is a bi-national railway, jointly owned by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Government of the Republic of Zambia on an equal share-holding basis. The 1,860km-rail runs from Tanzania and East Africa’s major seaport of Dar es Salaam into the heart of Zambia’s Central Province, terminating at New Kapiri-Mposhi, where it is further linked by road and rail to Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka (about 200km), Zambia’s mining nerve centre, the Copperbelt province (about 100km) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Our core business is freight and passenger railway transportation services. TAZARA is a major transporter of copper and other minerals out of Zambia and the DRC, but also conversely serves as a key conduit for all kinds of bulk imports from all over the world, including fuels, fertilisers, general merchandise, hardware, coke and other critical inputs into the mines and agricultural farmlands of Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and the DRC, as well as Rwanda and Burundi through the Port of Mpulungu on Lake Tanganyika. With its sprawling interconnectedness and reach, TAZARA is poised to serve as a critical infrastructural backbone for the three regional groupings of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC). In terms of passenger transportation, TAZARA not only eases mobility for some of the most disadvantaged rural communities in Tanzania and Zambia, but also provides a public railway service that is very predictable, reliable, safe and convenient. Amongst the million passengers that throng TAZARA every year between the two neighbourly and friendly countries are thousands of tourists that have conveniently shaped a triangular tour-circuit that takes them through Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia in one tourist sprint, luxuriating in some of the most unique and spectacular tourism opportunities the world can offer.

Type of gauge and links

TAZARA links the Southern African regional transport network to East Africa and the rest of the world through the East African seaport of Dar es Salaam. It runs from the port of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania to the Town of Kapiri Mposhi in Central Zambia where it links with the existing Zambia Railways system.The gauge of the line is 1,067 millimetres (three and half feet), also known as the "Cape Gauge". The gauge of the TAZARA line is the same as that of Zambia Railways and all the other main trunk lines in Central and Southern Africa, which were all part of the grand plan by colonialist businessman Cecil Rhodes who envisioned building a rail link from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt. In 1998, a private transshipment hub was built at Kidatu in Southern Tanzania to connect the metre-gauge Central Line (Tanzania) with the Cape gauge TAZARA line. Kapiri-Mposhi enables road and railway
inter-connectivity to other parts of Zambia, to the rest of Southern Africa in the south and to the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo in the north.

Route Map and Profile

A map showing the track route of TAZARA

TAZARA covers a distance of 1,860km between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi stations, negotiating its way through many amazing topographic features and monuments, including game parks, thick jungles, mountains and steep valleys. From a low altitude of 14.06m above sea level at Kurasini Station, the line rises steeply to 500m at Mlimba and further up to a peak of 1789.43m at Uyole Station (the highest point of TAZARA) in Mbeya before cascading down to 1660m above sea level at Mwenzo (the highest point in Zambia) and runs at a relatively steady level up to New Kapiri-Mposhi where it settles at 1274.63m above sea level.

A great symbol of friendship

To date, TAZARA also fondly known as the “Great Uhuru Railway” because of the role it played in the liberation of many countries in Southern Africa, is the greatest symbol of friendship between the nations of China, Tanzania and Zambia. TAZARA provides a platform for political and socio-economic relationships amongst the three countries, which relationships brought about the existence of the railway line in the first place. From the pre-construction period to date, the relations amongst the three republics have been growing stronger by the day. The peoples of the three countries have since been co-operating in various spheres, with TAZARA being the critical uniting factor in the trilateral co-operation.

Achievements

Amongst the many feats that TAZARA achieved over the last four decades of existence include the transportation of over 50 million passengers and more than 30 million metric tons of freight between the two countries and in the region. On average, one million persons ride on TAZARA going to various destinations between Tanzania and Zambia. In terms of employment, over one million people have passed through the employment system of TAZARA to date. TAZARA has been a catalyst for social-economic growth and expansion of small settlements along the line, which have now become big districts and towns as a result of the TAZARA services and the accompanying economic spin-offs.