Passenger by rail trial run leads TransNamib to weigh options for a regular service
The trial run of a rail-based passenger service between Windhoek and Ondangwa exceeded national rail operator, TransNamib’s expectations, resulting in concrete plans to introduce this service on a semi-permanent basis.
TransNamib said in a statement it is their intention to reinstate passenger services on various routes, bringing back the very popular mode of transport that was suspended ten years ago.
As a means test, the rail operator used the summer holiday period, from the end of November 2019 to the middle of January this year, to run passenger trains between Windhoek and Ondangwa and between Walvis Bay and Ondangwa. During this period, more than one thousand passengers travelled by train between the destinations.
The success of a dedicated, scheduled passenger service depends on the condition of the track. In this regard, TransNamib said more than N$1 billion was invested by the Ministry of Works and Transport to rehabilitate the line between Kransberg near Usakos and Tsumeb in the central north.
“The trial run has allowed TransNamib to see how the company can improve the service and therefore we will start introducing the service during peak season periods such as Easter Weekend to provide an alternative means of transport as a safe and affordable option to customers who want to travel between Windhoek and the North.”
According to Windhoek Station Master, Gideon Eiseb, the holiday trial run was a major success. “The passengers that used our services during the period were extremely happy about the safety, affordability and convenience offered,” adding that there is a strong demand from commuters for a regular service running at least once a week.