Electric locomotives ideal but be careful about speed


Trains at a standard gauge electrified railroad in Ethiopia. Arrangements to construct a similar railway between Tanzania's Isaka and Kigali are underway. Net photo.


RE: “Smart thinking, new technologies way to go” (The New Times, March 11).

I highly doubt whether it would be safe for cargo trains to move at 120 km/hour. Cargo trains I have seen in USA and Canada can be as long as two kilometers.  

If, for instance, our trains are going to be about 500 meters long due to lower cargo compared to North America, I would still think that the speed of 120 km/hour would be too high and likely to cause numerous accidents. Even though cargo trains in USA and Canada are powered by diesel and move at speed lower than 120 km/hour, they are able to carry huge amount of cargo safely.  

I agree—we should electrify the Tanzania-Rwanda line but be cautious when it comes to the speed at which we will move our cargo from the coast to Kigali. I also wish I could know if any research was ever done with respect to how fast a cargo train can move.