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Railway upgrading has brought significant changes to regional development

2024-02-29 | Belt and Road Portal | By Yang Ou、Yan Yunming

"Railway upgrading has brought significant changes to regional development" 

-- Record of Chinese enterprises undertaking the Nakala Corridor Railway maintenance project in Mozambique


Maintenance workers are installing concrete sleepers on Section PK433 of Nakala Corridor Railway. [Photo by Tu Lei]


Construction machinery is working on the line. [Photo by Sun Lihua]

At 6 o 'clock in the morning, more than 50 staff members lined up in the site of Nakala Corridor Railway maintenance project undertaken by China Railway 20th Bureau Group on the outskirts of Malema City, Nampula Province, Mozambique. Wear the tooling and working cap, check the working machinery, assign the construction content...... After all the preparatory work is ready, everyone takes a commuter bus to the construction site and engages in intense work. 

"The maintenance of the tipper in the port of Nakala led to the suspension of the line, and the owner carried out emergency maintenance on the entire line, including the rail damage of PK433 and PK445 sections, and we need to complete a total of 334 rail thermal-welding and lifting work in the two sections within 10 days." Zhu Wenqiang, manager of the maintenance project department, introduced that in order to complete the emergency repair task as soon as possible, after receiving the notice, they completed the preliminary work such as site investigation, construction of the road and formation of the work site in only 3 days, and mobilized personnel and equipment from about 500 kilometers away.

Thermit welding operation is most afraid of water, in February the local rainy season, continuous rain has brought a lot of difficulties to the construction, making the construction period more tense. Zhu Wenqiang said that they set up a mobile canopy at the site, where the welding, the canopy will slide to where on the track, to ensure that it can continue to work in rainy days.  "More than 20 pieces of machinery and equipment were put into this rush repair, and we stuck to the construction site throughout the Spring Festival." Zhu Wenqiang said.

200 kilometers away, at Nayuci station in Malawi, Chinese builders are also racing against the clock.

The Mozambique Nacala Corridor Railway has a total length of 912 kilometers, starting from the Moatize mining area in northwest Mozambique, crossing Malawi from west to east, and reaching the third largest port in Mozambique - Nacala Port. China Railway 20th Bureau Group undertook the construction of 650 kilometers and participated in the maintenance work after completion. In early 2016, the railway was completed and opened to traffic, with several heavy-duty trains transporting coal from the Moatize mining area continuously to the port of Nacala and then to various parts of the world. The construction of this railway has driven the regional economic development, improved the employment and living standards of local residents, and is therefore known as the "economic transportation lifeline of Mozambique".

At the end of 2018, China Railway 20th Bureau Group entered Malawi and began to participate in the maintenance work of the Nakala Corridor Railway in Malawi. Much of the Nakala Corridor Railway in Malawi uses wooden sleepers from the last century. In recent years, the railway volume has continued to increase, and the local railway department has decided to upgrade the line. 

"Within 10 days of the railway shutdown, we had to replace more than 700 turnout concrete sleepers, the longest of which weighed 1 ton. Due to the terrain conditions, only manual replacement can be used, and the labor intensity and construction difficulty are very high. Deng Jing, head of the Malawi Railway Integrated Service project, said he was responsible for the entire construction area of Malawi, which is 235 kilometers long. In order to ensure the construction progress, they divided four work points and invested the corresponding personnel and mechanical equipment according to the different construction conditions of each section.

Sleeper welding, handling, the machinery roars in the sleeper changing operation point at Nayuci station. Kundwani, a 38-year-old Mozambican employee, leads 40 operators along the railway line. Kundwani is Deng Jing's right-hand man, in this pillow replacement construction as the site construction leader. "Previously, the annual capacity of the Nakala Corridor Railway was less than 10 million tons, but after this renovation and upgrading, the annual capacity of the railway will reach 18 million tons." Kundwani said he was involved in the construction of the Nakala Corridor Railway and is now a maintenance worker for the Malawi section. "In the past 10 years, I have not only grown into a technical leader, but also witnessed the significant changes that railway upgrading has brought to regional development." "Kundwani said.

"Since 2016, we have participated in nearly 60 various service contracts for the Nakala Corridor railway project, recruited about 15,000 local employees and trained nearly 3,000 skilled workers." From participating in the construction of the Nakala Corridor Railway to maintenance, Deng Jing has been moving between Mozambique and Malawi for 10 years, and this year is his eighth Spring Festival in Africa.

Zhu Wenqiang also spent his sixth Spring Festival in Africa. Together with many builders, they completed the construction task with high quality and left a special Spring Festival memory for themselves.

Author:Yang Ou、Yan Yunming

Source: <>

Translated by Zhao Shengbo