Tanzania testing new electric rail to help cut carbon emissions


Tanzania is testing its new electric rail line as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions by moving away from diesel powered trains used by its regional peers.

Electric trains started plying the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro on July 4, a 300km distance after the government awarded a $1.92 billion contract to a Turkish firm to build 422 km of its Standard Gauge Railway (SGR.)

May this year, minister of state in the vice president’s office in charge of environment Selemani Jafo said during a ministerial meeting that Tanzania plans to cut carbon emissions by 30-35% by 2030.

There are also plans for the country’s Bus Rapid Transport system in the capital Dar es Salaam, according to Jafo, to ditch diesel for natural gas.

Electric trains emit less carbon 

Figures from the UK Rail Safety and Standards board show some diesel locomotives emit more than 90g of carbon dioxide per passenger per kilometer, compared with about 45g for an electric train.

Rail electrification is an important part of any country’s carbon reduction strategy. According to the UK’s Department for Transport, an electric train emits between 20% and 35% less carbon per passenger mile than a diesel train. Electric trains also have zero emissions at the point of use, of particular benefit for air quality in pollution hot spots.

The global transport sector contributes about 22% of all emissions according to the European Environment Agency, with studies indicating that air pollution causes more than 3.2 million premature deaths each year worldwide.


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