The multi-million rand South Africa- Swaziland railway link construction project stretching up to 150 kilometers is still on course. The railway line runs from Lothair in Mpumalanga all the way to Sidvokodvo in Swaziland.
The project was initiated after Swaziland and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding back in 2012. The rand railway project is expected to create over a thousand employment opportunities for both nations. It is estimated that about 3000 jobs will be created in South Africa while Swaziland will have 6500 new railway jobs. The Swaziland Railway Link is also expected to act as a backup for the coal line.
The railway link will take up 50 kilometers in length in South Africa while stretching to 150 kilometers in Swaziland. The construction project will also see revamping and remodeling of the existing rail lines adjacent to the new rail. The rail lines will be aligned in order to provide rail support to the new railway link.
The initial stages of the project are the acquisition of land and servitude. Graves will also be relocated while engineer railway designs are being completed. Resettlement plans of people living in the railway interest areas will also be carried out at the initial stage.
The railway link construction project is being carried out under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).This was after a feasibility study report presented by both countries received a go-ahead.The process of identifying suitable partners for the project under PPP is currently ongoing.
The new railway link is aimed at reducing road and rail traffic congestion as its primary objective. This issue was taken into consideration in developing a railway with system capacity that can realistically achieve this goal. Upon completion, the new railway is expected to accommodate up to 26 tons. It will have 200 wagon trains stretching to 2.5 kilometers each while providing a capacity of 12 trains daily.
The region is expected to develop into a General Freight Business Corridor estimated at R1.7 billion in Swaziland and R894 million in South Africa.