The two nations will have the electric lines installed in the SGR project with plans of eventually upgrading to electric trains when there is enough energy supply.
Uganda made the decision to have an electric element incorporated in their project because, “We have been assured of adequate power from the ongoing energy projects at Karuma and Isimba. This decision was also based on the costing factor, given that after completion, the long term costs of operation and maintenance will be cheaper than diesel,” said Uganda’s SGR project co-ordinator Kasingye Kyamugamba.
Uganda and Tanzania are planning to buy trains with an electric element while Kenya’s trains run on diesel engines.
Kenya’s newly launched SGR will have an electric line installed in four years as the it allows for addition of a single electric line at the cost 480 million USD.
“We didn’t want to construct an electric line since we don’t have a dependable source of electricity. So we had to construct a diesel locomotive line but with a capability of upgrading it,” said Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.
Electric railroads depend on the availability of electricity in a region, currently the supply is inadequate. Uganda expects its power generation to reach 1,500MW in 2019, after the two dams inject an additional 783MW — Karuma at 600MW and Isimba Hydropower at 183MW) into the national grid.