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Railways Overview

The Mozambique Ports and Railways Administration (CFM) was created in 1931. The railway system was developed in order to be connected with the three main ports of Maputo, Beira and Nacala, mainly to provide a fast, safe and efficient transit transportation service for mineral and agriculture exports from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and for some national traffic from landlocked provinces. The main railway network is about 2,500 km long, distributed in three systems in the South, Central and North, each with 1,067 mm (3’6”) gauge (cape gauge) that is compatible with neighbouring railways networks.

The railway system was designed mainly for goods transportation, i.e. there are little passenger rail services in the country. On the other hand, there is no direct rail connection between the three systems inside Mozambique territory; connections are however available via neighbouring countries.

The railways were severely targeted by acts of war after the independence of Mozambique in 1975, first by Rhodesian forces prior to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, and then during the civil war in Mozambique which lasted until the nineties. These acts of war inflicted major damages on railway lines and bridges, and on locomotives and wagons that consequently disrupted traffic. Recent extensive infrastructure rehabilitation and locomotive and rolling stock renewal programmes undertaken across all three networks, combined with some strategic management concessions, have brought railways back to adequate operational conditions and to be reliable transportation services.

Plans exist to augment the capacity of the current railway system and to build new lines to serve the growing mineral market, which mainly consists of coal from the Tete province.

Safety of cargo in transit has been a main concern of the railway operators, which has led to additional investments in safety locks and guards, as well as generally improved standards which allow for an increased speed of trains.

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Government Contact List

Travel Time Matrix

This is not relevant because passenger traffic is concentrated mainly in suburban areas with very little long-distance journeys. However, the following connections are worth mentioning:

  • Nacala – Nampula: 8 hours
  • Nampula – Cuamba: 15 hours
  • Nampula – Lichinga: 20 hours
  • Beira – Chimoio: 7 hours

 

Railway Companies and Consortia

CFM-South

The CFM-South network has the following main lines, all managed by CFM:

  • The Goba Line to the Swaziland border (71 km). Transit time from Maputo-Goba – 3 hours.
  • The Limpopo Line to the Zimbabwe border (522 km). Transit time from Maputo-Chicualacuala – 13 hours.
  • The Ressano Garcia Line to the South Africa border (88 Km). Transit time from Maputo-R.Garcia – 4 hours.

There is a partial concession for iron ore traffic with Transnet on the Ressano Garcia line, and another for passenger traffic with Fleet Rail on the Goba and Ressano Garcia lines.



CFM Centre

The CFM-Centre network has the following main lines:

  • The Machipanda Line to the Zimbabwe border (318 km), operated by CFM. Transit time from Beira-Machipanda – 11 hours.
  • The Sena Line (from Dondo) to the Malawi border (Nsanje) and Moatize in the Tete province (335 km), operated by CFM, Jindal and ICVL.

ICVL and Jindal have a partial concession for the transportation of coal from Moatize. Their combined capacity is 180,000 tons/month.

 


CFM North

The CFM-North network has a main line from Nacala to the Malawi border (Entre-Lagos) via Cuamba (610 km), and a branch from Cuamba to Lichinga (262 km). The railways are managed by the “Corredor do Norte” (CDN) through a long-term concession that incorporates the railway system in Malawi (CEAR), as well as the link to Moatize, the Tete province, and to Chipata, Zambia.

For more information on railway company contact details, please see the following link: 4.10 Railway Companies Contact List

Capacity Table CFM-South (cargo only)

Rail Operator Capacity

 

CFM

Transnet

Lines Operates On

Ressano Garcia line (88 km)

Limpopo Line (522 km)

Goba Line (71 km)

Ressano Garcia line (88 km)

Max Train Length and / or Pulling Capacity

Max train length – 800 metres

Pulling capacity – 50 to 75 wagons

Max train length – 800 metres

Pulling capacity – 50 to 75 wagons

Locomotives

Diesel locomotives of 2,200 - 3,000 HP

Diesel locomotives of 3,000 HP

Covered Freight Wagons Size (m)

14

14

Flatbed Freight Wagons Size (m)

14

14

High-sided Freight Wagons Size (m)

14

9 to 14

Drop-side Freight Wagons Size (m)

14

14

Capacity Table CFM-Centre (cargo only)

 

CFM, ICVL and Jindal

CFM

Lines Operates On

Sena line (335 km)

Machipanda line (318 km)

Max Train Length and / or Pulling Capacity

1,500 metres

450 metres

Locomotives

Diesel

Diesel

Covered Freight Wagons Size (m)

n/a

 

Flatbed Freight Wagons Size (m)

n/a

13

High-sided Freight Wagons Size (m)

13

13

Drop-side Freight Wagons Size (m)

n/a

13

Capacity Table CFM-North (cargo only)

Rail Operator Capacity

 CDNCDN

Lines Operates On

Nacala – Entre Lagos (601 km)

Cuamba – Lichinga (262 km)

Max Train Length and / or Pulling Capacity

40 wagons

25 wagons

Locomotives

Diesel

Diesel

Covered Freight Wagons Size (m)

10 to 13

10 to 13

Flatbed Freight Wagons Size (m)

13 and 14

13 and 14

High-sided Freight Wagons Size (m)

n/a

n/a

Drop-side Freight Wagons Size (m)

n/a

n/a

 

Key Route Information

CFM-South

Standard Route Information

 

Ressano Garcia Line

From Maputo – To Komatipoort

Limpopo Line

From Maputo – To Chicualacuala

Goba Line

From Maputo – To Goba

Track Gauge

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

Ruling Gradient

Maximum: 0.019 % for each 200 metres

Minimum: 0.0042% for each 300 metres

Maximum: 1.54% for each 300 metres

Minimum: 0.02% for each 400 metres

Maximum: 2.8% for each 433 metres

Minimum: 0.5 % for each 1.73 metres

Total Track Distance

0-20 km - double line

20-88 km - single line

0-5.1 km - double line

5.1-522 km - single line

0-10 km - double line

10-71 km - single line

Type of Rail

54 kg, welded

40 kg and 45 kg, welded

40 kg and 45 kg, welded

Type of Sleeper and Fastenings

Concrete sleepers (monoblock),
and wooden sleepers for bridges and turnouts.
Elastic and rigid fastening.

Concrete sleepers (monoblock),
and wooden sleepers for bridges and turnouts.
Elastic and rigid fastening.

Concrete sleepers (monoblock),
and wooden sleepers for bridges and turnouts.
Elastic and rigid fastening.

Total Track Travel Time

4 hours

18 hours

3.5 hours

Maintenance

Marginal

 Bad

Marginal

Companies / Consortiums Operating on Line

CFM

Transnet (iron ore)

Fleet Rail (passengers)

CFM

CFM

Fleet Rail (passengers)

Traffic Frequency

 Daily

 Daily

Daily

Security

Good

Good

Good

Main Stations

  • Maputo
  • Infulene
  • Machava
  • Matola Gare
  • Tenga
  • Pessene
  • Moamba
  • Movene
  • Ressano Garcia
  • Infulene
  • Gare de Mercadorias
  • Marracuene
  • Manhiça
  • Magude
  • Xinavane
  • Chókwè
  • Mabalane
  • Combomune
  • M´puzi
  • Mapai
  • Chicualacuala
  • Boane
  • Salamanga
  • Goba

 

CFM-Centre

 

Sena Line

From Dondo to Malawi border (Nsanje) and Moatize

Machipanda Line

From Beira to Machipanda

Track Gauge

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

Ruling Gradient

 

29.16 %

Total Track Distance

547 km – single line

318 km – single line

Type of Rail

54 kg/m

 

Type of Sleeper and Fastenings

Concrete sleepers (monoblock).

Pandrol clip.

Mix of concrete (monoblock),
wooden and steel sleepers.

Pandrol clip, spikes, coach-screws.

Total Track Travel Time

  

Maintenance

Good

Good

Companies / Consortiums Operating on Line

CFM, ICVL and Jindal

CFM

Traffic Frequency

Daily

Daily

Security

Good

Good

Main Stations

  • Semacueza
  • Muanza
  • Inhaminga
  • Inhamitanga
  • Caia
  • Sena
  • D. Ana
  • Doa
  • Cambulatsitse
  • Moatize
  • Manga
  • Dondo
  • Tica
  • Nhamatanda
  • Inchope
  • Gondola
  • Cafumpe
  • Chimoio
  • Matsinhe
  • Garuso
  • Manica
  • Machipanda


CFM-North

 

Route A

Nacala – Entre Lagos

Route B

Cuamba – Lichinga

Track Gauge

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

1,067 mm or 3’ 6” (cape gauge)

Ruling Gradient

  

Total Track Distance

610 km – single line

262 km – single line

Type of Rail

57 kg/m welded,
with some stretches still with 40 kg/m

40 kg/m, not welded

Type of Sleeper and Fastenings

Concrete sleepers (monoblock and bi-block).

Elastic fastening.

Concrete sleepers (bi-block).

Elastic fastening.

Total Track Travel Time

  

Maintenance

Good

Good

Companies / Consortiums Operating on Line

CDN

CDN

Traffic Frequency

42 monthly

Occasional

Security

Good

Good

Main Stations

  • Nacala
  • Monapo
  • Namialo
  • Nampula
  • Rapale
  • Ribaué
  • Iapala
  • Cuamba
  • Entre Lagos
  • Cuamba
  • Lichinga


Key Stations

CFM-South

Key Station Information

 

Gare de Mercadorias

Location

Mahotas Road-Rail Terminal in Maputo

Contact Information

Avenue Das Forças Populares, Rua da Gare, Nº 312 Maputo-Mozambique

T. : +258 21 460 780

Email: stm.mahotas@stm.co.mz

Connections with Other

Transport Means

Road

Storage Capacity

(m2 and m3)

110,000 m2

Handling Equipment

 

Handling Capacity

 

Other Comments

Private Railway Section – 1,500 m

Area served by the Railway – 60,000 m2


CFM Centre

Key Station Information

 

Beira Station

Moatize Station

Machipanda Station

Location

Beira

Moatize

Machipanda

Contact Information

   

Connections with Other

Transport Means

  • Port of Beira
  • Road network in Sofala and Manica provinces
  • Beira Airport (road connection)
  • Road network in Tete province
  • Tete airport (road connection)
  • Road
  

Storage Capacity

(m2 and m3)

   

Handling Equipment

   

Handling Capacity

 

 

 

Other Comments

   


CFM North

Key Station Information

 

Nacala

Nampula

Entre Lagos

Location

Nacala

Nampula

Entre Lagos

Contact Information

+258 213448446

+258 21344843

+258 847869802

Connections with Other

Transport Means

  • Port of Nacala
  • Road network in Nampula, Niassa and Zambézia provinces
  • Nampula airport (road connection)
  

Storage Capacity

(m2 and m3)

   

Handling Equipment

   

Handling Capacity

 

 

 

Other Comments

   

 

Tariffs