Directorate of Railway Infrastructure Management (Affairs) Directorate of Railway Infrastructure Management (Affairs)

Directorate of Railway Infrastructure Management (Affairs)




Mr. R Kalomho
Acting Director
Railway Infrastructure Management (Affairs)
Tel: +264 61-2088206
Fax: +264 61-2088226

Design Standards

The technical design standards for both Phase I, Phase II and Phase III 

Gauge 1 067mm
Number of Main Tracks Single
Design Speed 100km/h
Axle Loading 18.5 tons
Ruling Grade 1:66
Curves R > 400m
Rail > 48kg/m
Sleepers P2 Concrete Sleepers, 700mm Spacing
Ballast 800m/km
BRIDGES Steel, Concrete designed for 18.5 ton axle load
STATION BUILDINGS Designed in accordance with SABS

Phase I (Tsumeb to Ondangwa) was co-financed by Government  of the Republic of Namibia, the African Development Bank (ADB), the Kuwait Fund (KF) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).

Phase  I : Project Statistics

Project Start Date: June 2002
Project Completion Date: June 2006 (four months ahead of schedule)
Total Distance Covered 246 Kilometers
Earthworks: 1 577 400 m3
Drainage Culverts: 12 950m
Concrete in Headwalls: 4 250 m3
Sleepers: 352 000
Rails: 25 000 tons
Total Cost: N$ 841 million
Project Components: 24
Persons employed: 19 148 persons
Tasks completed: 1.6 023 million tasks
Average earnings/Person: N$ 18 206.86
Volunteers: 43 800 persons completing 22 000 tasks completed
Other Info: Two Road-Over-Rail Bridges, Two Main Railway Line Stations, Four Halts

The transportation of heavy and bulk cargo from Walvis Bay to Ondangwa and vice versa is now possible by rail transport. This alternative mode of transport led the emergence of other economic activities in the northern population centers. 
For the past year a total of 120 000 metric tons of cargo was transport by rail to Ondangwa. It is anticipated that traffic volumes will increase to by 30-40% per annum from 2012, once the Ondangwa to Oshikango railway line section is completed.
The Northern Railway Line Extension is not a “white elephant”. It is indeed a development, patriotic Namibians are proud of.

Phase II of this Project: (Ondangwa –Oshikango)
This phase is still under construction. It is 60km kilometers in length. Major components of the Northern Railway Line Extension Phase II (Ondangwa to Oshikango railway line section) have been completed with the exception of two components. Earthworks for the whole section including turning triangle, station yard, fencing and paving of station yard area, supply of sleepers, supply of ballast tone, two road-over-rail bridges are completed.
In 2010, the Ministry signed an agreement Voestalpine SA (Pty) Ltd for the supply of rails for this section.
The tender for the permanent way construction is currently running and will close on 29 March 2011. Construction will start this year and the line can be completed by December 2011. The Station buildings are due to be completed by August 2011.

Phase III: (Ondangwa – Oshakati): This project phase has not yet been started : 38 km 
Upgrading and Rehabilitation of the Aus-Luderitz Railway Line


The railway line between Lüderitz and Aus was built during the German colonial era as part of the war effort in the south of the country, to serve as supply line for military equipment and troops. Construction commenced at Lüderitz in March 1906 and Aus was reached in October 1906. Military troops were responsible for assisting in the laying of the tracks. The line was officially opened on 1 November 1906.
When the harbour of Lüderitz was upgraded in 1998 it was decided to rehabilitate the railway line to utilize the new harbour facilities. Harbour and railway line will serve to develop the southern part of Namibia, the local inhabitants, fishing and mining industry as well as the agricultural projects of the Karas Region. It is also intended to distribute petroleum products to the southern regions of Namibia through the Lüderitz harbour and the upgraded rail link.

Originally 20 kg/m rails and light duty steel sleepers, to accommodate an axle load of 11.5 tons, were used in constructing the line. Some sections were upgraded at a later stage with 30 kg/m rails. Steep sections and sharp radius bends were constructed especially at the sections after Aus Station and approaching Lüderitz. High fills were constructed at the ascent to Aus, otherwise only a shallow formation was provided as a basis for the line.

Proposed Improvements

It was decided to upgrade the track-work from the existing 11.5 ton axle load to accommodate 18.5 tons. To this end it became necessary to carry out the following improvements:
Improve embankments to avoid sharp radius bends and steep grades wherever possible. Construct formation layers in accordance with current standards adopted by Trans Namib Holdings.

Provide adequate drainage and other structures to protect the line.
Replace 20 & 30 kg/m rails with 40 kg/m rails and the light duty steel sleepers with heavy duty steel and concrete sleepers.

Phase 1 of the project is the section between Aus station and the existing rail kilometer 255, some 10 km east of Haalenberg. The total length of this section is 74 km. Of this section 24 kilometers are built employing longitudinal beam-track method and the remaining 50 kilometers by conventional track-laying.

Phase 2 of the project is the section between existing rail km 255 and Lüderitz Station. The total length of this section is 65 km of which 48 km are planned to be built using beam-track and 17 km conventional track building method.

To make allowances for the extreme difficult work conditions to be experienced in the vicinity of Lüderitz, i.e. unfavorable weather conditions, steep and rocky terrain and shifting sand dunes, it was decided to sub-divide Phase 2 in section 2A (32.6 km) and 2B (32.4 km) as separate contracts.

With the delivery of rails this year the project may be completed by the 2013.
Upgrading and Rehabilitation of the 10 Km Between Windhoek and Okahandja Project
The relaying works of Ten kilometer railway line section between Okahandja and Windhoek started January 2011. Once upgraded, the railway line from Windhoek to Walvis Bay would comply with the minimum SADC Standard of 18.5 Ton axle loading specification. This project is planned for completion by June 2011.
Katima-Mulio to Cape Fria Railway Line Link
A feasibility study on TransCaprivi railway line link was completed in 2010. The proposal is to link the national railway line network to Cape Fria harbour as well as to interconnect with the Zambian rail system.  
 TransKalahari Railway Line Link
In 2010 the Governments of the Republics of Namibia and Botswana entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the development of the TransKalahari Railway Line Link and port in Namibia. Processes are underway to facilitate the evaluation of the Expression of Interest Submissions which were called for in 2010.
Concrete Sleeper Manufacturing Factory
The Ministry of Works and Transport facilitated the establishment of a concrete sleeper factory in Tsumeb. The setting up is in process with the factory likely to be operational from May 2011.
Rehabilitation of the Kranzberg to Tsumeb Railway Line
In March 2011, the Ministry of Works and Transport enter into a Consultancy Agreement for the Provision of Professional Services for the Upgrading of the Railway Line Between Kranzberg and Tsumeb.

Maintenance and Repairs

In 2001, the Ministry entered into a Railway Management Agreement with TransNamib Holdings Limited. Inspections, scheduled repairs and emergency repairs is ongoing on 2665 km of track, including turnouts, loop lines, station yards, track signage and geometry: (Sleeper, turnout, rail wear, rail joint, road and level crossing signage, broken rails, welding repairs etc) and tamping of sleepers. Maintenance on 192 steel bridges and 5 335 culverts. Station building Maintenance and signaling systems (train control system). Maintenance and repair is an ongoing activity.

Refurbishment and Modernization of Locomotives and Rolling Stock Program

To increase locomotive traction power plans are underway to refurbish old locomotives. So far 10 has already been completed.

Although construction of new railway infrastructure is supported; maintenance and rehabilitation of the aged and depreciated railway lines cannot be compromised. It is a “must” to ensure continued provision of rail transportation services to the nation. Complete disintegration of aged railway line sections would be disastrous to the overall national economy. Timeous Ugrading, RehabiIitation and Maintenance of our railway line network, whould make it possible to achieve, the basic demand criteria on railway line systems which are; Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety. 
Moreover, to safeguard and extend the economic life span of our national road infrastructure, a well-functioning railway line network is critical element in the equation.
Changing climatic conditions will continue to haunt the nation when rail transportation infrastructure is damaged by flood wash-aways. For example, the damage to the railway line in the southern part of the country, in February 2011, meant that rail services to that part and connecting to South Africa, have to be suspended, albeit for a short period. 
The increase in mining and other economic activities demands a proportionate increase in rolling stock. Without adequate locomotives, wagons and tankers only limited rail service can be provided. Subsequently, cargo will be shifted to road, resulting sever damage to road infrastructure. The end result is an increase in road maintenance costs. While manpower and skills shortages poses human development challenges, aging equipment would need to be replaced. Certainly, older equipment models become obsolete with spare parts being difficult to obtain.

< Previous page >