We run three types of passenger trains, i.e. Express, Ordinary and Special Trains. Apart from conveying people, passenger trains also transport parcels and luggage using the parcel vans attached to the passenger trains. Each parcel van can carry up to 15.7 metric tons of parcels and, depending on the demand, one or more vans can be attached to the train at a time. Each passenger train has dining cars with sub-contracted professional caterers serving international cuisines at very reasonable prices.
We operate one pair of cross-border express passenger trains every Tuesday between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and New Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia, and vice-versa, departing from Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri-Mposhi at 15:50 EAT and 16:00 CAT, respectively.
The trains are known by the names Kilimanjaro and Mukuba, representing the two countries’ symbols of pride in the Kilimanjaro Mountains, which is one of Tanzania’s greatest global tourist attractions and the Copper Mines of Zambia, the country being the top producer of Copper in Africa.
The express trains are known as the Kilimanjaro Express (managed by the Tanzanian Region) and Mukuba Express (managed by the Zambian Region). It takes approximately 46 hours to travel between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi.
Passengers have the rare treat of viewing a variety of game along the way. When passing though the tunnels, crossing rivers and gorges, passengers have a chance to appreciate the awesome and inspirational engineering works of the Chinese, who constructed the rail line between 1970 and 1975.
Express trains are especially recommended for international travelers.
A pair of Ordinary Passenger Trains, on the other hand, runs in each direction every Friday, departing Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri-Mposhi at 13:50 EAT and 14:00 CAT, respectively. The ordinary trains stop at every serviceable railway station in the respective regions of Tanzania and Zambia.
The Dar es Salaam Commuter – On 29th October 2012, TAZARA introduced Commuter Train Services in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam, covering a distance of 30km from Dar es Salaam main station to Mwakanga, on the outskirts of the city. The Commuter Train Service was introduced at the request of the Tanzanian government, keen to ease the transport challenges in the city, especially during peak hours. The government financed the initial costs of refurbishing the dilapidated coaches and locomotives to put them back into service having been discarded for years. The Commuter Trains utilize TAZARA’s main track, transporting some 9,000 passengers every day, except weekends and public holidays when the service is not available.
The Udzungwa Shuttle – Introduced in November 2014. (More information coming soon)
Tourist and Special Trains
TAZARA also runs special tourist trains for specific events and special groups. The most common of special trains is the tourist train to the Selous Game Reserve, about 200 kilometers from Dar es Salaam. Selous Game Reserve is the largest unexploited wildlife reserve in Africa covering 54,000 square kilometers, named after the famous hunter, Fredrick Courtney, killed and buried there during World War One. The TAZARA rail cuts through the Selous Game Reserve. Tourist trains are usually run during Christmas, Easter, New-Year and other public holidays. Tour operators also use the regular passenger services for special tourist excursions to the Selous Game Reserve. The Rovos www.rovos.com is one of the world’s renowned luxurious tourist trains which regularly runs on the TAZARA line between Cape Town in South Africa and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, offering tourists special excursions along the way. The Shongololo Train www.shongololo.com, another tourist train from South Africa, has also recently been re-launched and is primed to be plying the TAZARA line at least once every year.