In Malawi's Southern Region, work is progressing ahead of schedule on the railway line to link the Blantyre-Salima rail route with the important new seaport of Nacala on the Indian Ocean.
CONTRACTORS SIGNBOARDS: RAILWAY EMBANKMENT; WORKMEN LEVELLING AND BALLASTING TRACK; TRACK-LAYING IN PROGRESS TRACK-LAYING TRAIN; CONSTRUCTION OF RIVI-RIVI BRIDGE.
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Background: In Malawi's Southern Region, work is progressing ahead of schedule on the railway line to link the Blantyre-Salima rail route with the important new seaport of Nacala on the Indian Ocean.
Construction of the 62-mile line from Nakaya eastward to the Mozambique border began in June 1968, and the six-million sterling (14.4 million dollar) project is scheduled to take 2 1/2 years. The first stage, from Nakaya to Liwonde, is expected to be open next month.
The operations employ more than 1,700 Malawians and 50 South Africans, and a Danish firm of engineers is acting as consultants. All the construction plant is operated by Malawians who have been specially trained for this vital step in the nation's development.
Some of the latest techniques are being employed in the construction; the rails themselves come in standard lengths from South Africa and are then welded into continuous lengths of 54 feet (165 metres) to make the trains run more smoothly.
Two major obstacles were the Rivi-Rivi and Shire rivers, both of which have been spanned with large box-girder bridges, that over the Rivi-Rivi being 600 feet (180 metres) long.
Work is also progressing well on the other side of the border, where Mozambique is building a rail link to Nova Freixo to join up with the line to Nacala.