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Vandalism, encroachment worry Zambia Railways

DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) says vandalism and encroachment of its installations are a risk to its passengers.
And ZRL plans to introduce commuter train service to other routes within Lusaka, and possibly revive the Chilenje-George route.
Responding to a press query, ZRL Corporate Affairs Officer Sombe Ngonga said in some areas along the line of rail, members of the community stone trains resulting in broken windows and injured passengers.
“In some cases, unscrupulous people remove components from the railway track forcing the company to incur unplanned costs in replacing the railway components such as pandrol clips, ballast stones and sleepers,” Mrs Ngonga said.
Mrs Ngonga said the rate of encroachment on railway lines where people have built houses on or near the railway line has increased.
She said it is dangerous for people to build any structures within the railway reserve because the company moves hazardous goods such as acids, fuels and in an event of an accident many lives could be lost.
“The railway station is not a place where you can go and chat because doing so would cause accidents. Communities should not build houses near the railway line and they should also not feed their livestock along the railway line,” she said.
She said the ZRL is saddened that some people still trespass the railway premises especially the railway track despite the warnings from the company.
She said there is therefore need for concerted efforts with various stakeholders in fighting these retrogressive acts.
Currently, the commuter passenger service train introduced in May last year is tailored to meet the transport needs of the early morning commuters from Ngwerere to Lilayi and vice-versa.
Mrs Ngonga said the train fares range from K3 to K4.

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