By Vision Reporter
Reconstruction of the Soroti section of the 500km Tororo-Pakwach railway has started.
The railway line, which has not been in use for more than 20 years, is being fixed by the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) ahead of the resumption of rail services in June this year.
Richard Wasoma, a RVR inspector, last week said they had finished work on the Mbale-Tororo axis of the line and rail services had resumed along the section.
He said engineers were removing anthills, replacing missing slippers and demolishing houses built within a radius of 30 metres of the line.
“The biggest obstacle is where local authorities have created roads that pass over the railway line. In some areas, people have vandalised the railway slippers,” he said.
Northeast Uganda is a key agriculture corridor producing maize, rice, simsim, sorghum, cassava, ground nuts and livestock.
The area is also a major source of food for western Kenya and South Sudan. The northern railway line runs through Tororo, Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira, Gulu and Pakwach
The RVR railway inspector, Michael Ariko, said the restoration will be done in three phases. The first phase involves clearing bushes, weeding and removing anthills. The second involves restoration of washed out areas due to flooding and installation of culverts where required,” he explained.
Bukedea district youth councillor Julius Apukan said resuming rail operations will reduce transport costs and offer employment to the youth.
Solomon Osomel, a resident of Kachumbala sub-county, said railway transport used to be cheaper than road transport.
“I would go to Gulu to buy simsim and take it to sell in Busia where I would reap huge profits,” he said.