According to a recent post by the Government of Botswana, the Botswana and Zambian railway boards have announced their re-commitment to carrying out a railway line connecting Mosetse and Livingstone.

Addressing a press conference in Kasane on July 22, Zambia Railways Limited board chairperson, Mr Linyama Lubinda said Botswana and Zambia had already partnered in delivering the Kazungula Bridge project and found it appropriate to construct a railway line to increase trade in the region.

He however, said the railway line project was still at infancy stage with the framework still being negotiated adding that the feasibility study was yet to be completed and would determine the cost of the project and other logistics.

Mr Lubinda noted that in Zambia, a pre-feasibility study was once carried out but since the project was a joint venture, technical teams from the two countries would work together.

He said Botswana and Zambia were committed to the realisation of the 430-kilometre project despite the challenges.

The railway line is expected to reduce transports and transit time of goods.

Botswana Railways board chairperson, Mr Adolph Hirschfeld noted that the project would take into consideration, environmental issues such as the wildlife in the area.

Mr Hirschfeld said a Kenyan railway model whereby the railway line passed through a wildlife park would be adopted especially where there were animal corridors.

Earlier the two railway boards toured the ongoing Kazungula Bridge project and the deputy team leader, Mr Michael Lear said it was anticipated that the first package of the project being the bridge, would be completed in June next year, while the Botswana and Zambia One Stop Border Post (OSBP) would be completed in October and February next year respectively.

He said the estimated cost of the bridge was US$174 million, with the Botswana OSBP costing P440 million while the Zambian one was about P217 million.

Mr Lear said the Botswana OSBP cost more because it was located on a flood plain, a marshy area which required a lot of work to bring it to the required standard.

He said the OSBP would operate in such a way that no paper work would be required for a traveller from Botswana while on the Botswana side but such would be needed on the Zambian side and vice versa.

Immigration and customs officials of the two countries, he said would be housed in the same building on each side.

Once completed the waiting times at the border will be reduced from the current two to four days to a few hours.

Mr Lear explained that as at 2008 the average total of vehicles ferried daily was 207 but with the completion of the bridge an average of 413 vehicles would cross daily.


Source: RailAfrica