The lower house of Parliament on Thursday, March 16, discussed ongoing considerations of the draft law governing land and waterways transport including construction of railways in Rwanda. The bill covers some of the unprecedented areas of legislation including construction, management, maintenance of railways and rail transport. It also covers waterway transport, administrative offenses and the penalties associated with it. According to Parliament, the construction of railways must conform with the standards and specification for the construction of railways which meet the interoperability requirement for the whole national railway network; ensure possible connection to other transport modes for easy transit of passengers and cargo; and consider the demand in terms of public passenger and cargo transport in the long term perspective. In addition, it should not damage the urban landscape and environment in general. The initial bill that came from the executive had 224 articles, but after being scrutinized by lawmakers, it now has 204 articles. Lawmakers removed 38 articles, and added 18 new articles while 182 articles were amended. The draft law replaces the law governing roads in Rwanda as it has been updated, so far, to fill the gap in existing laws regulating activities that do not have regulatory laws. ALSO READ: Govt tables bill to regulate railway, maritime transport Even though Rwanda has no railway network. The country is partnering with other countries region to find a railway network. By mid-2022, potential investors were weighing income prospects in financing the implementation of a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project. Rwanda has two route options on the table, the Kenyan Standard Gauge Railway route for the northern corridor and the Isaka-Kigali Standard Gauge Railway for the central corridor. ALSO READ: Rwanda, Tanzania seek to fast-track railway project The railway network will contribute in lightening the country’s landlocked status, thus leading to a significant reduction of transport costs. Currently, Rwanda has no law governing railways. The government is working to establish a regulatory institutional framework. Railway components According to the draft law, the railway includes the railway itself, its branches, extensions, sidings, railway bridges, tunnels, stations, depots, wharfs, rolling stock, equipment, stores and other infrastructure connected with the railway including communications and signaling systems. Categories of railways include national railways used to meet common requirements for transport within the country, economic regions and international transport; urban railways that serve the daily transport demands in cities and sub-urban; and specialized railways that serve the specialized transport demands of organizations or individuals.