The National Railways of Zimbabwe launched a new method of operating freight trains on the main line – Express Trains – as a way of enhancing operational efficiency, reducing transit times in the movement of commodities and achieving quick delivery of customers’ cargo.
The new service, which had successful trial runs during the last quarter of 2012 brought much relief to customers who have been yearning for a package with a high degree of consistency, predictability, reliability, as well as offering faster conveyance times for bulk consignments.
From the time the Express Trains were launched at the Stakeholders’ Consultative Workshop in Harare on 12 October 2012, the services have lived up to expectation by meeting customers’ growing needs for better delivery times for their traffic, affordable bulk haul and efficient in-bound and out-bound logistics. Running at specified times, the new service enables customers to precisely plan for dispatches and receipt of their consignments.
Customers can now bid farewell to periods of anxiety and anticipation for the delivery of their cargo since it was established during the trial period that, with Express Trains, it now takes a maximum of 46 and 40 hours to rail traffic from as far as Hwange to Harare and from Beitbridge to Harare respectively, for both local and imported traffic. It even takes far less transit times for movements within intermediate stations.
Express Trains were launched at an opportune time when the NRZ is currently heavily engaged in the movement of coal to thermal power stations in Bulawayo, Munyati and Harare – a move that is assisting the nation to power industries and for domestic use when the main sources of power, Kariba hydro power station and Hwange Thermal Power Station are undergoing major annual service. Furthermore, Express Trains could not have come at any other better time as well than during the time when the NRZ is involved in the movement of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and agricultural equipment, among others to support agricultural growth in the country.
The NRZ is also transporting cement to the local and export markets in addition to other commodities such as wheat, sulphuric acid, fuel, raw and processed sugar to local markets and for export.
With the recently launched Express Trains the NRZ is now poised to satisfying customer transport needs, re-capture lost traffic and grow new customers. The aim is to unleash its full potential and make rail the first choice of moving bulk freight and passengers.
One of the major areas the NRZ is working on is refurbishment of locomotives and wagons to boost its current capacity. The on-going refurbishment and repair of locomotives and wagons is aimed at increasing the NRZ’s fleet and enhance operational capacity. The NRZ is also strengthening wagon management structures at terminals to facilitate effective and efficient utilization of the available wagon fleet.
The NRZ is also soliciting private companies to participate in the Public Private Partnership programme in an effort to capacitate the organization and enable it to play its key role of being the backbone of Zimbabwe’s transport industry that sustains the country’s economic recovery. Some companies have participated in the refurbishment of wagons and locomotives. So far 1 100 wagons and 10 locomotives have been churned out and released to the existing fleet through the PPP programe.
Efficient movement of Express Trains is greatly buoyed by the on-going mainline track rehabilitation programme where cautions (speed restrictions) which hamper the fluidity of train movements have been greatly reduced.
Customers are encouraged to opt for Express Trains, a new service that guarantees improved service delivery by contacting the NRZ Marketing Office in Bulawayo, Gweru or Harare.
What is Railstar Parcel Service?
Railstar Parcel Service is a distinct brand of service for transporting parcels within Zimbabwe and to Chicualacuala in Mozambique as well as Francistown in Botswana. It is an express overnight parcels service by passenger train that is tailor made to meet customer needs especially where cost and transit time is of utmost importance.
What do we move?
Items that we move include the under listed:
- Urgent mail and documents
- Valuable parcels
- Commercial goods
- General and household goods
- Coffins and/ or corpse in suitable caskets
- Day old chicks and small live domestic animals in limited numbers.
The items are conveyed in covered wagons with a carrying capacity of 37,000 kg and must not occupy a floor area of more than 37.4 square metres and must not be of more than 15,392m in length, 2,527m in width and 2,438m in height.
What is our Commuter/Intracity Service?
This service is available in the mornings and evenings in the main cities of Bulawayo and Harare to provide transport to the commuting public from/to the urban homes to/from the city centre to the urban populace.
On what routes is the service available?
The following routes are currently on offer:
Harare City-Marimba-Harare City
Harare City-Ruwa-Harare City
Harare City-Dzivarasekwa-Harare City
Bulawayo City-Emganwini-Bulawayo City
Bulawayo City-Luveve-Bulawayo City
How can you make a reservation?
Currently there is no prior reservation of seats on commuter trains. Seats are sold on a first come first served basis.
What other services are offered by our Passenger Services Business Unit?
For its in house laundry requirements, the NRZ owns laundry facilities in Bulawayo. The facilities are also available for your industrial laundry requirements for items such as blankets, bed sheets, work suits, etc.
We provide catering services through our rail leisure restaurants at the major stations of Bulawayo and Harare. We also have canteens at Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru and Mutare. We serve a wide range of food primarily for the rail traveller as well as our staff. We are also available for your catering requirements at functions.
What is our intercity passenger service?
The service is strategically designed to link major cities and towns in Zimbabwe in order to offer an affordable and convenient mode of travel mainly to the medium to lower income groups of the society. Most of this service is provided during the night, giving passengers the convenience of sleeping while they travel to their respective destinations from which they intend to carry out business on the following day.
On what routes is our service available?
Our intercity passenger service generally links all the major cities and towns of the country and also runs from the major cities of Harare and Bulawayo to all the borders with neighbouring countries. The services currently available are as follows: