Isaka–Kigali Standard Gauge Railway

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Isaka–Kigali Standard Gauge Railway
TypeHeavy rail
TerminiIsaka, Tanzania
Kigali, Rwanda
Opened2022 (Expected)
Operator(s)Tanzania–Rwanda Railway Authority
Line length571 km (355 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Isaka–Kigali Standard Gauge Railway is a planned railway line linking the town of Isaka in Tanzania to the city of Kigali in Rwanda.[1]


The railway line would start at the inland container depot (ICD) at Isaka, in Kahama Rural District of Shinyanga Region, in Tanzania. The line would travel in a general northwesterly direction to the border town of Rusumo, Rwanda, in Kirehe District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. From here the line would continue westward, through Rwanda, to end at Kigali, the capital and largest city of the country. The total length of the railway line is estimated at about 571 kilometres (355 mi).[2]


This 1435 mm (4 ft ​8 12 in) railway line is intended to ease the transfer of goods between the port of Dar es Salaam and the city of Kigali, and subsequently to Bujumbura in Burundi and to Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Goods would either travel to Isaka from Dar es Salaam on the existing narrow-gauge railway line, or on the Dar es Salaam–Mwanza Standard Gauge Railway when completed. After offloading at the existing internal container depot (ICD) at Isaka, the goods would be loaded on this standard gauge railway line for transport to Kigali.[3]


The construction, is expected to be financed jointly by the governments of Tanzania and Rwanda. As of January 2018, the feasibility studies for this project have been concluded.[1][4]

Construction is expected to start in October 2018 at an estimated total cost of US$2.5 billion. The Isaka–Rusumo section, measuring approximately 371 kilometres (231 mi) of relatively flat terrain in Tanzania, will cost a total of US$942 million. The more mountainous Rusumo–Kigali section in Rwanda, measuring approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi), will cost a total of US$847 million. Burundi has put its standard gauge railway project on hold.[5]

In March 2018, The EastAfrican reported that both countries had agreed to change the railway design to accommodate electric locomotives which are faster than the original diesel-powered equipment.[6] In April 2018, the same newspaper further reported that the World Bank had expressed its willingness to fund this project.[7]

In Rwanda[edit]

In January 2018, the government of Rwanda allocated space in Ndera, approximately 20.5 kilometres (13 mi), by road, east of Kigali city center,[8] on which the passenger terminal of the SGR will be built.[9] The cargo terminal will be built in Masaka, another neighborhood, approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi), by road, south-east of the central business district of Kigali City.[10] Rwanda has plans to extend the SGR to Bugesera International Airport.[9]

In December 2018, the New Times newspaper reported that the budgeted cost for the Rwanda section had increased to US$1.3 billion.[11]

In Tanzania[edit]

The standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza is being built in sections. The Dar es Salaam to Morogoro section is under construction. In September 2017, a firm from Turkey was awarded a second contract worth US$1.92 billion to construct the line between Morogoro and Makutupora. The government of Tanzania has advertised for designing and building services for the Makutupora-Tabora-Isaka-Mwanza sections of the railway line.[9] In July 2018, the Trade and Development Bank pledged to lend US$200 million towards the establishment of the "Central Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway Line".[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Magufuli: Construction of Isaka-Kigali standard gauge railway to start this year". The Citizen (Tanzania). Dar es Salaam. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  2. ^ Onyango, Emmanuel (29 October 2018). "Building of Isaka-Kigali railway to start in December 2018". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  3. ^ Xinhua (15 January 2018). "Rwanda, Tanzania agree on SGR from Isaka to Kigali". The Independent (Uganda) Quoting Xinhua. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  4. ^ Aine, Kim (14 January 2018). "Rwanda, Tanzania Agree to Construct Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway Line". Kampala: Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  5. ^ Kabona, Esiara (29 January 2018). "Isaka-Kigali SGR works to start in October". The EastAfrican. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  6. ^ Olingo, Allan (18 March 2018). "Rwanda, Tanzania agree on electric SGR, opt for open tender". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  7. ^ Olingo, Allan (29 April 2019). "Tanzania turns to World Bank to fund its modern railway project". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  8. ^ (19 January 2018). "Distance between Rwanda Post Office, Iposita, KN 4 Street, Kigali, Kigali City, Rwanda and Ndera, Kigali City, Rwanda". Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Kabona, Esiara (14 January 2018). "Rwanda's SGR cargo, passenger terminals confirmed". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  10. ^ (30 January 2018). "Distance between Kigali, Kigali City, Rwanda and Masaka, Kigali, Kigali City, Rwanda". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  11. ^ Karuhanga, James (12 December 2018). "Rwanda to spend $1.3 billion on railway project". New Times (Rwanda). Kigali. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  12. ^ Erick Kabendera, and Allan Olingo (16 July 2018). "Regional bank to help Tanzania fund SGR, gas plant". The EastAfrican. Nairobi. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  13. ^ Mwaipaja, Benny (11 July 2018). "Nairobi-based bank to lend Tanzania $400 million for SGR railway, gas plant". The Citizen (Tanzania). Dar es Salaam. Retrieved 16 July 2018.

External links[edit]