TransNamib relaunches passenger service

TransNamib has reintroduced its passenger service that was suspended nearly two years ago due to obsolete and insufficient locomotives, rolling stock and unreliable railway lines.

The national rail operator said the introduction of a festive season service is aimed at cushioning consumers against rising transport fares and to reduce traffic congestion on the nation’s roads during the festive season, which has been a lead cause in accidents.

"This will also provide Namibians with an alternative travel experience, TransNamib will be running three special trains from Windhoek to Oshikango, Walvis Bay, and Keetmanshoop in December. The train service offers value for money and safe transport too, while being the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. The Greenhouse gas emissions per kilometre from railway transportation are far lower than that of vehicles," said TransNamib Spokesperson Abigail Raubenheimer.

"Primary research conducted by TransNamib has found that during the past two years, there has been a significant increase in passenger fares of bus tickets during the festive season. TransNamib as a corporate citizen will carry out its social responsibility, which balances train services by subsidising its passenger services. The fares for senior citizens and children between the ages of 6 to 12 years will be discounted by 50%," she adds.

Raubenheimer said the rail operator was targeting to accommodate a total of 1,000 passengers.

"Travelling per train offers travellers an alternative experience. Passengers are able to sit back comfortably and enjoy the view. In addition, there is onboard entertainment, free WIFI, and refreshments available," she explained.

TransNamib recently revealed plans to relaunch the service to leverage its acquisition of the iconic Swakopmund four-star hotel, which it now owns after buying 50% shares from previous partner, South African Stocks & Stocks Leisure, for over N$100 million, to boost the rail passenger service.

“In the short term, we will start offering holiday train transport services especially with our luxurious Dessert Express, which stopped operation sometime in April 2020, as Covid-19 was on its highest peak. We stopped passenger services, as you may recall the railway was washed away and that happened in the South, that was further exacerbated by lack of locomotives and aging rolling stock. Surely, we are considering reinstating that service soon,” TransNamib CEO Johnny Smith had said in August.

TransNamib has been facing numerous challenges over the past few years, and is betting on a Development Bank of Namibia’s (DBN) and Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA) N$2.6 billion loan to turn around its fortunes.

The loan, which has its origins from a 2019 pledge by the two banks to make available N$8 billion towards infrastructure development in Namibia, will be used for the remanufacturing of rolling stock, acquisition of new rolling stock, modernisation of the TransNamib workshop and upgrading of signalling equipment, including spares and associated equipment.

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Last modified on Thursday, 08 December 2022 00:34

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