Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) general manager, Ms Respina Zinyanduko, says plans are underway for the re-introduction of the once popular intercity passenger train services.
The company is attending to the state of infrastructure and coaches to ensure passengers get value for money, she said in a brief interview with Business Chronicle on the sidelines of a clean-up exercise today.
As things stand, NRZ coaches are no longer suitable for long-distance travel, she added.
“It’s one of our intentions (to re-introduce the passenger train service). We have to attend to several issues. Our coaches are no longer suitable for long-distance travel,” said Ms Ziyanduko.
“The other issue is infrastructure. We have sections on the railway line that have speed restrictions. We don’t want a situation where your clients spend 14 or 15 hours traveling from Bulawayo to Harare.
“We have to attend to that before re-introducing the inter-city trains.”
NRZ first introduced commuter trains (commonly known as Freedom Trains) in Harare and Bulawayo in 2001 to cushion the public from soaring transport costs.
It suspended the service in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, but reintroduced it in 2021 in partnership with the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, which was failing to cope up with the large numbers of commuters.