NRZ Deal- Prepare for new dispensation

NRZ Deal- prepare for new dispensation

NRZ is marking its 120 years of existence with renewed optimism and confidence that it will live for another century and beyond.

The recent decision by Cabinet to approve a deal brokered with Diaspora Investment Development Group/Transnet Consortium to inject fresh capital has infused a conviction that the future of the organisation is guaranteed.

Recapitalisation of the NRZ has been on the drawing board for years but it appears the dream to turn the parastatal into a viable profit making organisation is finally becoming a reality.

NRZ management and DIDG/Transnet are now involved in negotiations to tie loose ends before the deal is finalized.

When consummated, the deal will see NRZ operational capacity improving as it will have the resources to meet demand for its services from industry.

In the 1990s, the NRZ was moving between 10.5 million and 14 million tonnes a year.

Due to deteriorating infrastructure and failure to inject capital, freight volumes declined, affecting the organisation’s performance.

The NRZ system is designed to carry 18 million tonnes of freight a year but in 2016, the organisation carried only 2.7 million tonnes.

At the time when freight volumes were high, the parastatal had 240 locomotives comprising 49 steam, 161 diesel and 30 electric. The steam and electric locos have since been decommissioned while only 60 diesel locos are in service.

In terms of wagons, in June 1996, the NRZ had 10 799 wagons of different types but at present about 3 500 are in use. The rest are in need of repairs and refurbishment.

Ten percent of the track infrastructure (about 275km) is under temporary speed restrictions and has to be rehabilitated.

The $400m to be injected by investors will be used towards repair and refurbishment of infrastructure and equipment including some of the broken down locomotives, wagons and passengers coaches.

Locos which have reached the end of their service life will be overhauled to give them an additional 10 years of service.

Seven hundred and sixty eight wagons and 162 coaches are earmarked to be refurbished using part of the $400million.

In addition, the money will also be used to buy 24 new mainline locomotives and 10 shunt locomotives. The track will be rehabilitated to remove speed restrictions thus ensuring faster movement of goods and passengers.

Once the initial $400 million is injected, the drive towards operational capacity for the NRZ will start in earnest thus asserting the organisation to reclaim its position as the preferred mover of bulk commodities.

 

DIDG/Transnet Consortium was selected after a rigorous exercise which included a pre-bid conference attended by representatives of more than 80 local, regional and international companies.

Six companies were later shortlisted as having met the bid requirements with DIDG/Transnet consortium emerging the eventual winner.

 

Prioritising workers’ welfare

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is one of the first companies to realise the impact HIV could have on its workforce and came up with a comprehensive HIV and Aids workplace policy. The organisation established a section within the Medical Branch to deal specifically with HIV and AIDS issues and started a programme to treat and educate workers on HIV.

The NRZ HIV and Aids programme started in 1992.  The acting HIV and Aids Programme Officer, Mr Dewa Kondo, said the HIV and Aids Programme was started to raise awareness and manage loss of productive man hours.
“It was realised that HIV and Aids was having a negative impact on the company. Affected workers could not come to work and sought treatment outside since NRZ did not have suitable facilities. Production time was greatly affected as some requested off sick days, hence the reduction in time at work”. Mr Kondo said the organisation had made great strides in ensuring a healthy workforce through its workplace HIV and Aids programme.

“It is very expensive to lose an employee. The organisation cannot employ and train new workers yearly because it is an inconvenience. Having our own facilities ensured that workers would be treated on time and be educated on good health practices. “We now do campaigns to educate workers on health. “Another benefit is that workers will be healthy enough to work productively during the required hours, hence productivity is expected. “A healthy worker has more potential in terms of productivity”. Mr Kondo said that currently NRZ does not have donors sponsoring these programmes.

“We are grateful to the Swedish International Development Agency (SIda) as they donated a vehIcle that made it easy for the programme to be undertaken throughout the railway community.” He said even without a donor, the NRZ HIV and Aids programme was progressing quite well. The NRZ has plans to start providing Anti-Retro-Viral (ARV) drugs at its health centres. “The NRZ Health department has plans to start distributing ARVs to its employees as well as the community at large. “So far, the distribution is being done in Hwange and Dete.

“We want to create partnerships with the government because ARVs are obtained through the government.
“This will enable the NRZ medical centres to directly take ARVs from the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm) as registered centres. We are also planning to formally train nurses in HIV and Anti-Retro Viral Therapy (ART), and Peer Educators in Opportunistic Infections and ART. “This will help the health department with up-to-date information”.

The National Aids Council (NAC), the custodian of the HIV and Aids campaigns and programmes in the country, is on record calling corporate organisations like NRZ to initiate HIV and Aid programmes for their workers as well as coming up with sustainable HIV and Aids workplace policies.

“SPECIAL FAMILY FUN DAY- STEAM SAFARI LEISURE TRAIN”

The National Railways of Zimbabwe as part of its programme aimed at promoting tourism and family rail leisure travel, will be running a special Family Fun Day train in Harare, on Sunday 13 April 2014.

For the second time this year, the NRZ is again running another special steam train from Harare to Ruwa to cater for family entertainment on 13 April 2014. The train is scheduled to depart from Harare at 1000 hours to Ruwa. The train will stop on the way at Mabvuku to allow steam enthusiasts and family members to take pictures of this special train. Those intending to catch a ride on this memorable special train are expected to arrive at the Harare station at 0900 hours to facilitate booking confirmations.

The public may wish to know that this is an amazing experience of a life time not to be missed by leisure lovers, who will indeed enjoy the breath taking scenery along the way to Ruwa Country Club, on board the special Family leisure train that will be hauled by age defying steam locomotive, while re-kindling the memories of yesteryear with your family members and friends in an exclusive and unique style.

It is pertinent to mention that the NRZ is geared to provide efficient rail leisure steam safari trains, at a reasonable cost in order to cater for all classes of our society, from top business executives, leisure lovers and steam enthusiasts.

The rail leisure steam safari train service, which was also successfully run this year during the Valentine day, is popular with both local and overseas steam enthusiasts. More steam safari trains are earmarked to be run this year as a way of promoting and contributing towards tourism growth in Zimbabwe. It is hoped that the move will indeed boost the tourism industry in the country, since Zimbabwe is one of the remaining countries in the world, that still run and operate steam locomotives that are popular with international steam enthusiasts.

The special Family Fun day steam rail leisure train which is scheduled to run on Sunday, will be using luxurious Museum coaches and those intending to travel on this day should contact the Harare Reservation and Ticket Office for further details and assistance.

The fare for the Family Fun day leisure train to Ruwa is US$50 for adults and US$25 for children. The fares include a special braai lunch and drinks that will be saved at Ruwa Country Club.

Furthermore, there will be lots of entertainment. This is a special experience not to be missed by those intending to sample the comfort of rail leisure travel in a special way, while celebrating the special Family Fun day with their loved ones and partners. Come and sample this service and you will never regret, as it is destined to bring families together and rekindle memories of the yester-years.

STEAM SPECIAL SAFARI LEISURE TRAIN TO CELEBRATE BULAWAYO’S 120 YEARS

The National Railways of Zimbabwe is running a rail steam safari train to re-enact the arrival of the first train in Bulawayo. The train will run from Bulawayo main station to Figtree on Sunday 1 June 2014, as part of its contribution and participation at the forthcoming City of Bulawayo’s historic celebrations for the 120 years anniversary.

In celebrating the 120 years in existence, the City of Bulawayo has lined up festivities that will be running until 31 December 2014. The main objective of the celebrations is to commemorate Bulawayo’s existence and in the process, recognize all key stakeholders that played and continue to play a pivotal role in molding the city into the grandeur that it is today. The list of those monumental stakeholders will not be complete without the mention and active participation of the NRZ in the celebrations whose first train arrived in Bulawayo on 4 November 1897.

It was just 117 years ago that the line from the south, bringing Bulawayo into rail communication with the outside world was officially opened. In turning the pages of railway history in Zimbabwe and in Bulawayo in particular as the first city of contact, an age defying steam train will haul the special Museum coaches, rekindling the memories of yesteryear.

The train is scheduled to depart from Bulawayo at 0900 hours with prominent government, civic leaders and captains of industry and commerce to arrive at Figtree at 1030 and back to Bulawayo main station at 1230 hours. Reminiscing the arrival of the first train in 1897, when it pulled in at the Bulawayo station conveying a large number of dignitaries, the commemoration train will be welcomed by a cheering crowd where more celebratory festivities will be lined up.

Those intending to catch a ride on this historic special train are advised to buy their tickets at the main station and the Bulawayo City Council offices at $30 per adult and $20 for children. The fare caters for refreshments on board and luncheon at the main station. On the day of travel people are expected to arrive at the Bulawayo station at 0800 hours to facilitate booking confirmations and also to contact the Bulawayo Reservation Office at the Bulawayo Station for further details and assistance.

It is pertinent to mention that the NRZ is providing efficient rail leisure steam safari trains, at a reasonable cost in order to cater for all classes of our society, from top business executives, leisure lovers and steam enthusiasts. The inclusion of this commemorative train run is evident of the prominence that the rail leisure steam safari trains are gaining.

The rail leisure steam safari train services were successfully run this year during the Valentine Day and Family Fun Day in Harare and the just ended Mother’s Day, where they proved their popularity with both local and overseas steam enthusiasts.

More steam safari trains are earmarked to be run this year as a way of promoting and contributing towards tourism growth in Zimbabwe. It is hoped that the move will indeed boost the tourism industry in the country, since Zimbabwe is one of the remaining countries in the world that still run and operate steam locomotives that are popular with international steam enthusiasts.

Furthermore, there will be lots of entertainment for your enjoyment and comfort. This is a special experience not to be missed by those intending to sample the comfort of rail leisure travel in a special way, while celebrating the City of Bulawayo’s 120 years. Come and sample this service and you will never regret, as it is destined to bring Bulawayo’s social, political and economic fabric together.

VALENTINE SASHAY TRAINS

The National Railways of Zimbabwe intends to operate this year’s Valentine’s Day trains in a unique way that will establish unforgettable memories for lovers and steam train enthusiasts.
The organisation has planned to run two special Rail Leisure Steam trains in Bulawayo and Harare on Sunday 14 February 2016, when the whole world will be celebrating the lovers’ day.
The Valentine Sashay trains have been a successful NRZ initiative, not only helping lovers to get closer, but also promoting domestic tourism through rail leisure travel.
Both trains will leave their respective stations at 10am and give passengers a leisurely ride of two hours affording them an opportunity to enjoy and view the breath taking scenery along the way in a relaxed atmosphere.
The train from Bulawayo will travel to Figtree, while the Harare Sashay train will travel to Ruwa.
Leisure Steam trains are popular with international tourists and the NRZ has structured the cost of the Valentine Sashay train to make it affordable to most people, as the organization strives to make its rail leisure train services accessible to the majority of the people.
A ride on the Bulawayo Valentine Sashay Train will cost couples $75 while a single person will pay $40.  In Harare the fare will be $100 per couple and $50 per person.
The package includes snacks along the way. Drinks will be available on a cash bar basis.
The main event of the day at Figtree will be at the Redwood Leisure Centre from 12:30pm to 2:30pm, where passengers will be treated to a braai and entertainment.  In Ruwa, lunch will be served at the Ruwa Country Club.
The trains will depart for the return journeys at 1500 hours arriving in Bulawayo and Harare at 1700 hours.
To give travellers a feel of what rail travel was years ago, the steam trains consist will include luxurious Museum coaches.
The Valentine Sashay trains have had successful runs since they were introduced in 2011, as lovers and steam train enthusiasts, both local and foreign, have heartily embraced them. The steam trains provide an opportunity for people to reminisce about the form of rail transport travel in the past years.
Bookings have already opened and people intending to travel on this day should contact the Reservation Offices at Harare and Bulawayo Stations.
The NRZ, apart from the Valentine Sashay Trains, runs successful steam leisure trains every year with a number planned to run in 2016, as the public utility plays its part in promoting tourism in the country.
The Nation of Zimbabwe is one of the remaining countries in the world that still runs and operates steam locomotives that are popular with international steam enthusiasts.