INTERNATIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO BLN 1273 21 JANUARY 2017
BRANCH LINE NEWS
This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS TEAM:-
International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY
A question from a member: Is there anywhere other than Kingswear and Mariefred where it is
possible to interchange between a steam train and a steam boat on a regular basis? Replies to the
International Editor please.
Wrocław has an extensive tram system with a number of unusual routes. One of these, in the east of the city, connects the
routes to Sepolno and Biskupin between 9 Maja and Hala Stulecia. This 1.5km link line with triangular junctions at each end runs
down tree lined Adama Mickiewicza first on one side, then the other side, before running down the middle of the road and
turning left towards Biskupin. There is just one tram pair each weekday over the route. On the occasion our member travelled
the line all went well until just before the first stop at Hala Stulecia where the tram collided with a car. The tram pulled forward
into the platform and the two drivers exchanged details. The picture shows the tram at Hala Stulecia with minor collision
damage on the platform side. The car, almost hidden by the shelter, suffered much greater damage.
 France – Closure candidates
We know that many readers are interested in French country branch lines and therefore present a list
of the rural lines that are at risk of closing in the near future. The list totals 2,145 km for 34 different
lines. This list is not official. It is based on an assessment of press reports, statements by Regional
authorities and FNAUT, and personal research. It is not certain that all the lines listed will close. Some
may be repaired and see continued services after investment by some Regions. Other lines, not
included on our list, may close unexpectedly (like Autun - Etang recently). Most of the lines listed do
not carry freight, so are additionally vulnerable. SNCF Réseau will not renew the infrastructure on lines
which have less than ten trains a day unless someone else pays. On the attached list, most lines have
less than ten trains a day, some have only 2 or 4 a day on average. Lines in danger have track aged 30
years or more and bridges, tunnels and viaducts that date from the creation of the line more than 100
years ago. The policy of SNCF Réseau is to maintain these secondary lines without investing in new
components. Thus the condition of the track will deteriorate gradually until it becomes unsafe. To
reduce the rate of decline SNCF Réseau can impose speed limits. On single track lines this measure is
usually disastrous as it reduces capacity so that, for example, two railcars may need to be in service to
keep the same timetable where only one was necessary before. Ultimately, if not regenerated, the line
will become unsafe and traffic will be suspended indefinitely. The future of these lines depends on the
degree of local support and local financing. A serious complication arises when a line crosses a regional
border. The need to co-ordinate financial contributions from two or more Regions to save that line is
often a major difficulty.
Northern France - 255 km
St Pol - Etaples Le Touquet (expected to close Sept 2017*) - 61 km; St-Pol - Béthune (2018*) - 32 km St-
Pol - Arras (2020*) - 39 km; * closure for scheduled major repairs - now some uncertainty; Laon -
Hirson - 57 km; Abbeville - Le Tréport-Mers - 37 km; Abancourt - Le Tréport-Mers - 57 km; Cambrai -
Douai (via Aubigny au Bac) - 29 km
Western France - 265 km
Morlaix - Roscoff - 28 km; Lamballe - Dinan - Dol - 69 km; (Rennes) Janzé - Chateaubriant - 37 km;
Auray - Quiberon - 28 km; (Chartres) Brou - Courtalain-St-Pellerin - 17 km; (Thouars) Bressuire - La
Roche-sur-Yon - 86 km
Eastern France - 234 km
(Nancy) Pont St-Vincent - Vittel - Merrey (Dec 2016) - 106 km; Epinal - St Dié - 60 km; St Dié - Saales -
25 km; Epinal - Aillevillers - 43 km
South Eastern France - 808 km
Clamecy - Corbigny - 33 km; Auxerre - Clamecy, Auxerre - Avallon - 91 km; Andelot - Morez - Saint-
Claude - Oyannax - 104 km; Grenoble - Veynes (Gap) - 110 km; (Valence) Livron - Crest - Die - Aspres
(Gap) - 110 km; Thiers - Boën (2016) (part of Clermont-Ferrand - St-Etienne) - 48 km; Rodez - Sévérac -
le-Chateau - 44 km; Neussargues - Millau - Bédarieux - 238 km; Le Monastier - Mende - 30 km
South Western France - 526 km
Montluçon - Guéret - 78 km; Felletin - Guéret - 36 km; Aurillac - St Denis-près-Martel (Brive) - 75 km
Volvic - Le Mont Dore (closed 2016, open for freight) - 57 km; Périgueux - Le Buisson - Agen - 152 km
Courtesy of the SNCF Society
 Germany - New deviation nearly ready
East of Aschaffenburg Hbf on the line to Gemünden and Würzburg Hbf the so-called ‘zweigleisige
Umfahrungsspange Schwarzkopftunnel’ is nearly ready. This new line with four tunnels will replace the
existing line between km 69.99 and 77.0 which includes the 926 metre-long Schwarzkopf tunnel. From
26 June 2017 the present line will be taken out of service and the new route opened – but only single
track until 9 December 2017 when full operation as twin track will commence.
 Germany - Noteworthy features of the 2017 German timetable
Schleswig-Holstein: Most weeks the Summer Saturday overnight trains between Hamburg and
København run via the Kiel avoiding line.
Hamburg: There remain a few trains that run between Hamburg and Lübeck via Rothenburgsort and
Abzw Horn. Except during the winter, there is a Saturday train pair between Köln and Fehmarn-Burg
via Hamburg-Harburg, Rothenburgsort and Abzw Horn. This is additional to the established summer
service between Köln and Stralsund via Hamburg-Harburg and Rothenburgsort.
Berlin: From 9 February until 9 December trains, other than S-Bahn, between Berlin-Gesundbrunnen
and Berlin-Karow are diverted via Berlin-Lichtenberg and Biesdorfer Kreuz. The Locomore trains
between Stuttgart and Berlin run between Berlin Ostbahnhof and Berlin-Lichtenberg via Rummelsburg
and Biesdorfer Kreuz.
Brandenburg: The line is closed for engineering work between Wünsdorf Waldstadt and Elsterwerda,
so all trains between Berlin and Dresden are diverted via Falkenberg (Elster) and Zeithain
Sachsen: Following commissioning of additional tracks, almost all trains between Dresden and Leipzig
or Berlin run via Radebeul Ost, whether or not they stop at Dresden-Neustadt. There is only one fast
train via Cossebaude, which is EC258 from Praha to Leipzig. This is the only passenger train to use the
line between Radebeul-Naundorf and Radebeul Abzw Az. As a result of Berlin trains being diverted via
Falkenberg (Elster), there are none between Abzw Kottewitz and Großenhain. IC and ICE trains
between Halle (Saale) Hbf and Bitterfeld are diverted via Delitzsch from 27 December until 17 April, as
are the few RE and RB trains that are not replaced by buses. Two trains are subject to diversion via the
south curve at Delitzsch, but for different periods. There are also some diversions via Wiederitzsch.
The Zürich to Hamburg overnight train runs this way 11 December to 9 February. On Mondays and
Tuesdays 9 January to 14 March and 15 May to 5 September a number of late evening trains between
Leipzig and Berlin are routed this way, reversing at Leipzig-Leutzsch. The 19:05 Cottbus to Leipzig runs
from Leipzig-Heiterblick via Leipzig-Schönefeld to the low level station at Leipzig Hbf.
Sachsen Anhalt: There are extensive alterations as a result of rebuilding work at Halle. The railway
between Halle and Merseburg is completely blocked for engineering work from 26 March until 20
May. During this period RB trains, generally hourly, run via Halle-Angersdorf and Buna Werke. From 11
September to 22 November 2017 a number of late evening IC and ICE trains are routed via the curve
from Halle-Ammendorf to Halle-Kanena. From 9 January to 15 March and 15 May to 5 September a
few late evening ICE trains from Erfurt to Leipzig use the connection from the Schnellfahrstrecke to the
S-Bahn at Gröbers. There is a limited local service between Magdeburg and Lutherstadt Wittenberg
using a rebuilt curve at Roßlau (Elbe) to avoid reversal there.
Thüringen: Trains between Göttingen and Erfurt normally reverse at Gotha, but from 19 April until 16
June do not stop there and use the east curve instead.
Niedersachsen: The Locomore trains between Stuttgart and Berlin run between Hannover
Messe/Laatzen and Hannover Hbf via Hannover-Linden and Ahlem.
Hessen: Engineering work on the line between Frankfurt am Main Hbf and Frankfurt am Main Süd via
the Main-Neckar-Brücke at weekends between 10 February and 2 April results in extensive changes to
train services. Many trains will be diverted via the Niederrader Brücke and Abzw Forsthaus, with
others running direct between Frankfurt am Main Süd and Frankfurt Stadion, not stopping at the
Hauptbahnhof. Some Darmstadt line trains are diverted to Frankfurt am Main Hbf Süd. There will be
similar, but not quite so extensive, changes over the Easter weekend, 14 to 17 April. Two Sunday
evening trains from Berlin to Stuttgart are diverted via Gießen, Frankfurt am Main West and the
Niederrarder Brücke, without calling at Frankfurt am Main Hbf. Between 14 August and 24 September
RE trains from Saarbrücken Hbf to Frankfurt am Main Hbf (but not in the opposite direction) reverse at
Mainz Hbf and run via Kostheim. IC and EC trains between Mainz and Mannheim are diverted via Groß
Gerau and Groß Gerau-Dornberg on Saturdays and Sundays 7 October to 3 December 2017.
Baden-Wüttemberg: Various IC trains are diverted from 27 July until 10 September to use the line
between Mannheim-Friedrichsfeld and Schwetzingen. At the same time some trains between Bruchsal
and Karlsruhe are diverted via Mühlacker Kurve. There is a Garden Festival at Ettlingen, so Ulmer
Eisenbahnfreunde are running more trains between Karlsruhe and Bad Herrenalb via Ettlingen West
Bayern: The overnight trains between Innsbruck and Düsseldorf run between Augsburg and Nürnberg
via Nürnberg Rangierbahnhof. On Fridays from 22 September until 17 November IC1984 München to
Hamburg-Altona is diverted via Nürnberg-Eibach, Nürnberg Großmarkt and Fürth. The IC train pair
between Hamburg-Altona and Berchtesgaden are now the only passenger service between München-
Pasing and München Ost not via the Hauptbahnhof. However from 13 April to 16 July southbound,
and a day later northbound, the trains terminate and start at München Hbf.
Total closure between München-Moosach and München-Feldmoching in August 2017 with RE and
ALEX trains diverted via the Nord ring. More specific details are posted at:-
 Germany – Some notes from German railway magazines
Baden-Württemberg - Der Schienenbus carries a feature on the Härtsfeldbahn – Museumsbahn. This
is a metre gauge preserved line located some distance from other active railways and is part of a line
which once ran from Aalen to Dillingen (Donau). Currently trains run from Neresheim to Sägmühle, but
an extension to Katzenstein is under way at present. No date has been given for the reopening.
Rudersberg – Welzheim (part of the Wieslauftalbahn, Schorndorf – Welzheim). In September and early
October 2016, in an unusual turn of events, the parallel road was closed by a landslide so buses were
replaced by a temporary rail service on this stretch of line which normally only has a museum service.
Bayern - Hopes of saving the Jossa to Wildflecken line have now gone – the track has been lifted.
Sachsen – Chemnitz to Aue. The future of the section from Thalheim to Aue now looks more secure.
However the entire line will close from March 2018 to December 2018 to allow the Chemnitz –
Thalheim section to be equipped for the “Chemnitzer Modell” tramtrains
Thüringen – Grossherringen to Sömmerda. The good news is that Erfurter Bahn has won the contract
to run trains on this line from December 2017 until at least 2024. The bad news is that trains will only
run between Sömmerda and Buttstädt and there will be fewer of them – 9 pairs instead of the 13
currently. Those needing the Buttstädt to Grossheringen section would be advised to travel on it
sooner rather than later.
Niedersachsen - Bad Bentheim to Neuenhaus. Reopening of this portion of the Bentheimer Eisenbahn
is still scheduled for December 2018.
Nordrhein-Westfalen – Recke to Osnabrück Eversburg – The so called Tecklenburger Nordbahn which
runs parallel to the DB line from Osnabrück to Rheine, currently has no traffic. Hopes for survival now
rest on a possible re-opening to passengers.
Rheinland-Pfalz /Saarland –The re-opening of the Homburg to Zweibrücken line appears to be firmly
mired in a political dispute between Rheinland – Pfalz and Saarland as to who will pay and who will
benefit, and even if some of the politicians actually want the re-opening at all.
Schleswig-Holstein – Work is still progressing on the re-opening of Kiel to Schönberger Strand, but
more slowly than originally anticipated. The suggestion is that the line to Kiel Oppendorf will open in
“early 2017”, with the rest of the line in 2020. The track has been realigned over a 0.5 km stretch near
Kiel - Wellingdorf to improve running.
Rendsburg to Rendsburg Seemühlen – the sporadic services on this freight only line ceased in
September 2016 due to condition of track. The local authority is now faced with a dilemma – refurbish
the line at a cost of €500,000 (with no certainty that it will be used) or lift the track at a cost of
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - It is planned to run tourist trains on the lines from Parchim to Waren
(Müritz) and from Karow to Plau am See this summer.
Bahn Report suggests that the Barth – Velgast line may well close in December 2017. There is no
freight on the line and the hoped-for extension onto the island of Zingst has been removed from
regional transport plans.
 Italy – Permanent closures
Lines where the train service has previously been withdrawn, but the replacement bus service is no
longer advertised are Piacenza – Cremona, Pergola – Fabriano and on Sicily, Alcamo Diramazione -
Trapani (direct). The entire service between Rocchetta San Antonio Lacedonia and Gioia del Colle is
 Italy – Changes from the new timetable
The train service between Gioia del Colle and Gravina in Puglia was withdrawn (again) from 11
December 2016, because of the poor condition of the track and lack of funds for maintenance. Since
the service was reinstated in 2012 there had been just three trains each way, Mon-Saturday.
The new timetable also shows trains throughout between Siracusa and Caltanissetta, but only three
each way between Gela and Caltanissetta. Buses replace trains between Foggia and Manfredonia, but
only until passenger numbers pick up again in the summer months.
 Latvia – Electrification plans changed
National railway LDz has updated its plans for the roll-out of 25kV 50 Hz electrification and the
conversion of the routes around Rīga which are currently electrified at 3kV DC. The programme would
increase electrification from 257 km to 839 km of the 1860 km network by 2030. The project has been
divided into two phases. The first phase would be undertaken in 2019-23 and cover electrification of
the freight corridor running from Daugavpils and Rēzekne in the east, via Krustpils and Jelgava to the
Baltic port of Ventspils. It would also include the line from Jelgava to the port of Liepāja, which is to be
funded under the EU’s 2014-20 budget which requires completion by 2023. The second stage would
cover electrification of the Krustpils – Šķirotava route by 2025 to enable electric trains to run between
Daugavpils and Rīga, and also the route from Daugavpils to the border with Belarus. Conversion of the
3 kV DC network around Rīga to 25 kV 50 Hz has been put back to 2025-30, to align with the timescales
for the phased purchase of a new passenger fleet.
 Lithuania – Branch truncated
The Marcinkonys service has been cut back to Varėna, though exactly when this occurred is uncertain.
This used to be the main line from Vilnius to Warszawa in the days of the Soviet Union.
 Romania – The Căciulaţi to Snagov Plajă branch
This 15.3km branch off the București to Urziceni railway opened 30 April 1948. It runs almost directly
to the beach at Lake Snagov which is in the Pădurea Snagov nature reserve and a popular weekend
destination from București. The last excursion traffic was in 2006 and the branch is now overgrown
with some tracks stolen. However private company Transferoviar Călători have included reopening the
branch in their bid to operate services from București to Urziceni as well as Bucureşti to Olteniţa.
 Spain – Routings of Bilbao trains at Miranda de Ebro
EGTRE notes the two separate routes from Miranda de Ebro to and from Bilbao and suggests that they
should be defined by platform usage, essentially long curve behind the depot to south side platforms
(6) and shorter northern curve to north side platforms (4). A change of train here allowed the
departure sheets to be photographed and currently these are the platforms used: Platform (4): 11:35
to Bilbao and 18:24 ex Bilbao Platform (6): 12:25, 18:58 and 20:32 to Bilbao and 08:03, 11:16 and
16:50 ex Bilbao. ALL times at Miranda de Ebro. The train our member travelled on did the longer curve
into platform 6 as predicted.
 Sweden – An Introduction to Stockholm Urban Travel (part 2)
T-Bana and light rail
The next morning our members set off from the city centre on the Green Line to the T-Bana
interchange station at Fridhemsplan where they found both an inclined lift in the escalator shaft and
one of SL's information and sales offices at street level. One member took the chance to ride on the
Blue Line to its northern terminus at Akalla and back, mostly underground, while the other collected a
comprehensive collection of SL's transport publicity. This is of a good standard and at the other
extreme to the national (but far from monopoly) train operator SJ which issues no paper publicity at
all. The members next continued further on the Green Line to the hub of light rail operation at Alvik.
This is served by the newish cross city light rail Tvärbana and the traditional light rail Nockebybana.
The Tvärbana is operated in two parts at present. The 11.5km southern section to Sickla udde is
operated by Bombardier part low floor trams, while the 7 kilometres northern section by new cars
from CAF. The visitors rode first on the northern section of the Tvärbana opened in 2013-14.
A pair of CAF type A35 units on the northern part of the Tvärbanan at Solna Centrum
On their return, they took a return trip on the radial Nockebybana, a 5.7 km remnant of the former
tram system on own alignment but with traffic levels and level crossings which made it unsuitable for
conversion to T-Bana. It is operated by Bombardier part low floor trams. One quirk at Alvik is left hand
running to facilitate cross platform interchange with the Green Line, then a change to right-hand
running for the rest of the route to Nockeby. Thereafter the visitors headed south to Sickla udde on
the section worked by pairs of Bombardier cars. While nominally 'light rail,' the route includes
everything from major bridges over Lake Mälaren, rock tunnels and street running.
A Bombardier unit of type A32 at Nockeby on the Nockebybanan. 432 was one of six that operated until 2009 between Gouda
and Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands
The members next target was the Spårvägsmuseet, the Transport Museum which they reached on a 3-
axle Scania motorbus on route 71 operated by French SNCF owned Keolis, a company jointly owned by
the French railways SNCF and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. One of the visitors was
taxed by having to photograph a Leyland Atlantean double deck bus of the museum parked in a roof
car park but visible from the street. 50 of these buses were purchased for the change in the road in
1967. The exhibits include horse and motorbuses, horse drawn and electric trams, trolleybuses and
'light rail' and T-Bana trains. The museum sells an excellent English language version of its guide under
the title of 'catalogue.' This 40-page publication is much more than this and provides a comprehensive
overview of Stockholm's public transport over the last 200 years.
Tram and Lidingöbana
The members headed back to the city on another Keolis operated motorbus on route 2, this time an
articulated MAN. The next target was the Spårväg City tramway just to the east of the city centre. This
started only as a heritage largely weekend tram operation in 1991 operated by AB Stockholms
Spårvägar, but the line was later extended at the city end and operated since 2010 on a regular basis
as part of the city's transport system. A further short extension at the city end was under construction
at the time of the visit and regular service trams were having to use the loop normally used by the
heritage trams. The visitors rode on both the regular service Bombardier cars on route 7 also operated
by AB Stockholms Spårvägar and since it was a Saturday on heritage route 7N with the heritage tram
formation of Stockholm 4-wheelers 76 (1926) + 846 (1929) + 182 (1914). The heritage operation only
runs as far as the major Djurgården entertainment park at Skansen but accepts normal SL ticketing.
A Heritage tram train with Stockholm Motor car 76 of Class A1 leading at Skansen. This was rebuilt in 1926 from a car originally
built in 1904
The next target was the newly reopened light rail Lidingöbana on the island of Lidingö reached by T-
Bana Red Line. However, they had a minor diversion on the T-Bana since they spotted in service and
took a short ride on one of the previous generation C-series Tunnelbana trains. These are 4-car non-
articulated sets normally running in pairs which entered service from 1950 till 1989 with almost
unchanged design. Later trains reused components from older sets. The Lidingöbana runs on the island
of Lidingö and crosses a bridge to make an end on connection (without through track and at a different
level) with the Red Line at its terminus at Ropsten. The Lidingöbana was reopened in October 2015
after a long closure for refurbishment. Articulated low floor CAF trams as used on the Tvärbana
replaced 1940s / 1950s rolling stock and the visitors found that the mainly single track alignment had
been upgraded. Before the T-Bana reached Ropsten in 1967, Lidingö cars ran through over the on-
street tram tracks into central Stockholm. The most notable feature is a low-level bridge from Ropsten
to the island which includes a movable span; it isn't clear whether this is still operable. On the island at
Aga work is still in progress on a combined bus and tram depot. The line is also operated by AB
Stockholms Spårvägar as with tram line 7. A conductress amused a passenger who couldn't find his
smart card by successfully scanning his whole wallet and receiving a positive electronic response.
A strange funicular
The members then headed on the Red line for their final travel target of the day at the junction station
of Liljeholmen in the south west: a funicular which is free and leads from the station to a housing
estate at a higher level called Nybohov. The visitors had some problem finding the base station since a
shopping centre had been built between the railway and funicular base station since a previous visit.
The underground line rises 38 metres at a gradient of 1:6.15 and uses a single rubber tyred car with a
nominal capacity of 17 people plus space for pushchairs and an attendant who seemed to have
nothing to do.
http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lost-toys-of-the-nybohov-funicular provides some views of the
funicular. The visitors returned to central Stockholm on the Red Line to conclude their tour of the
urban transport highlights of Stockholm.
Pendeltåg and Saltsjöbana
Our members did not have time to sample either the Pendeltåg or the surface light metro Saltsjöbana
(see BLNI 1144.335 for a visit report). The Pendeltåg comprises two groups of main line suburban
services at present worked for SL by a subsidiary of former national monopoly train operator SJ. In mid
2017 Pendeltåg trains will be diverted away from Stockholm Central high level station into a Crossrail
style Citybana with 3 deep level stations. The Saltsjöbana is a mainly single track interurban line
operated by Arriva using adapted older generation T-Bana stock. At the time of the visit it was
temporarily cut back one station from its former edge of city centre terminus at Slussen.
REST OF THE WORLD
 Azerbaijan/Iran - New line to connect the two countries
Tracklaying on an 8.3 km extension of the Azerbaijan Railways network from Astara station to the River
Astarachay, which marks the border with Iran, was completed on 7 November. The 1520 mm gauge
line will cross the border on an 82.5 m long bridge which has been under construction since April, and
then continue a further 1.7 km to the Iranian town of Astara. Here there will be transhipment facilities
with a 164 km long 1435 mm gauge line which is under construction to link Astara with the Iranian
network at Rasht. This is expected to open next year, completing the north–south rail corridor from
Iran’s ports to Russia and Europe via the west side of the Caspian Sea. The first direct freight service
from India to Russia along the corridor ran in late September and early October, with the sea and rail
journey between Mumbai and Moscow taking 23 days, including road transport for the 180 km
between Rasht and Azerbaijan.
 Bangladesh – British company to deliver new railway
The Government of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Railway have signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with the British company DP Rail to deliver a new 240 km railway between Dhaka and
Payra. The agreement gives DP Rail the exclusive right to design, finance, build and operate a new
railway between Dhaka and the Payra Seaport. Construction would be undertaken at the same time as
the development of the port so that both would open simultaneously. The new railway would provide
a fast and high capacity export route for clothing manufactured in Bangladesh, and carry imported
goods to a planned distribution hub in Dhaka. DP Rail said it expects rail freight services from the port
to start in 2024.
 Kenya – Progress with the standard gauge railway project
Construction works for the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway project were officially
launched at a ceremony at the Embulbul work site in Ngong Town on 19 October 2016.
Phase 2A covers the 120 km Nairobi – Naivasha section of the 2,937 km MoKaKi corridor. It was
approved by the government in May 2015, in order to serve a new economic development zone in the
Rift Valley. The US$1.5bn project is being funded by a loan from the Chinese government.
Construction is to be undertaken by China Road & Bridge Corp (CRBC), which is currently building the
473 km Phase 1 line between Mombasa and a new terminus at Embakasi on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Phase 1 is now expected to open in January 2017. CRBC has already started work at Embulbul, where
the 8 km Kajiado tunnel is being bored to carry the standard gauge line through the Ngong hills west of
Nairobi. There has been some controversy over the planned route of the new line through the Nairobi
National Park to the south of the capital, but KRC announced on October 19 that it had signed an
agreement with the Kenya Wildlife Service, adding that the alignment had been selected to minimise
the gradients between Nairobi and the Rift Valley. Maina pointed out that 123 km of Phase I had been
built through the Tsavo National Park with appropriate mitigation measures including a lengthy
viaduct. It was claimed that work in the Nairobi Park would be completed within 18 months including
full remediation. A separate agreement covering Phase 2B from Naivasha to Kisumu and 2C from
Kisumu to the Ugandan border at Malaba was signed with CRBC's parent China Communications
Construction Co in March 2016.
 Zambia - Design and build contract let for Zambia East line
A four-year contract to design and build the Zambia East Line, has been awarded to a Chinese
company. The 388.8 km line will run from Serenje on the Zambian Railways network to Petauke and
Chipata, which is the terminus of an existing 1067 mm gauge line from Malawi which offers onward
links to Mozambique. This would create a 1,500 km corridor from Kapiri Mposhi to the Indian Ocean at
Nacala and would be significantly shorter than the current rail routes via Zimbabwe or Tanzania. It has
also been announced that construction of a railway from Chingola in Copperbelt Province to Solwezi in
North-Western Province is to begin in January 2017.