TransNamib, the national rail provider, has confirmed that limited locomotive capacity restricts it from introducing regular passenger service. This is according to TransNamib spokesperson Abigail Raubenheimer.
“But we are working towards increasing the capacity in terms of rolling stock, so that we can resume regular, reliable passenger service. Our railway tracks are also prone to weather changes and especially wash-aways because of rains or flooding,” Raubenheimer explained.
Responding to queries from this publication, Raubenheimer added TransNamib will continue to run special passenger train services, dependent on its locomotive capacity and the condition of the tracks.
Furthermore, she stated, TransNamib ran special passenger service trains to accommodate travellers during the festive season. The train service started on 9 December 2022 and ended on 8 January 2023.
The routes offered were Windhoek to Walvis Bay, Keetmanshoop and Oshikango.
In total, TransNamib ran eight passenger trains over the mentioned period.
“We can confirm that our most popular train service was the last train service from Oshikango to Windhoek/Walvisbay. We transported 170 passengers, the majority from the coast. The current schedule ended on 8 January 2023, but we will be offering the services at peak periods only this year,” said Raubenheimer.
Government has spent N$100 million per annum over the last decade on the rehabilitation of railway lines along the Walvis Bay-Kranzberg-Tsumeb route.
TransNamib CEO Johny Smith last year stated that continuous development of rail infrastructure will allow the State-owned rail operator to have increased capacity.
The CEO noted that due to the line not fully being upgraded, about 1 012 broken rails were recorded over the entire railway section between the Kranzberg and Tsumeb stations.
Smith added this situation increases the risk of derailments and, therefore, continuous maintenance needs to be done to ensure preventative measures and provide improved management of this railway line at the moment.
Smith further stated that TransNamib’s financial position will start improving as from the end of the current financial year.
They have a period of two to three years before moving into profitable levels.
In efforts to bring TransNamib back on track to profitability, Smith last year said the company needs N$2.6 billion for their five-year business plan to reach break-even by 2023.