The Zambia Railways limited says the recently launched local commuter service in Lusaka has shuttled about 250,000 passengers as at December 31`last year.
ZANIS reports that Zambia Railways Limited Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda said the figures attained are an indication of the overwhelming response the local commuter service has attracted and its growth potential.
Mr. Musonda disclosed that owing to the demand of local passenger service launched in May last year, an evaluation of the business viability of extending the service to other areas including having a new rail route to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is currently underway .
He said 30 rail coaches have since been procured and injected into the long haul passenger system.
And the Zambia Railways Chief says the railway company has identified seven sites where it intends to put up intermodal dry ports or terminal facilities through public private partnerships with a view to efficiently handle cargo.
Mr. Musonda said the terminal facilities will see a significant commercial growth in the movement of copper, containers, equipment, parts, coal and other goods by rail traffic which will translate into cheaper transport costs for prospective clients.
Mr. Musonda further explained that the firm has continued its rehabilitation of its railway infrastructure and rolling stock initiated under the Eurobond funded programme.
He said ZRL has since set aside funds in its 2016 budget for further rehabilitation of its rolling stock and infrastructure but still requires more funds to completely modernize the rail firm and infrastructure.
Mr. Musonda said from the initial local contractors the firm had engaged in its railway infrastructure rehabilitation program, Zambia Railway currently only has 10 contractors because other local firms engaged have completed their works.