Transport: Cameroon’s Douala-Yaounde railway reopens after five years of inactivity
Transportation activities on the railway where suspended five years ago, when a train derailment at Eseka caused the death of over 79 people, leaving about 600 injured.
Cameroonian authorities have been assuring potential users that the services of the Cameroon Railway company, CAMRAIL, shall be more modern that was the case before the suspension of its activities. The same assurances have been coming from the experts themselves.
According to CAMRAIL’S deputy director, Michel Ossock, 330km of railways have already been renewed, 15 metal bridges have been rehabilitated and 300 hydraulic works have also been rehabilitated. It now has sixteen coaches instead of the usual nine.
A test drive that took place on Thursday July 1, 2021 is said to have been hitch-free. The first commercial departures of the express train have been scheduled for the upcoming days.
Cameroon’s Transport Minister Jean Ernest Ngale Bihehe, told the press that after « The Transcam 1 Douala-Yaounde is in the process of being completely rehabilitated. The same is true for Transcam 2 between Yaoundé and Ngaoundéré.” He however cautioned that the speed per kilometre must be reduced considering the new machines.
Investigations into the October 21, 2016, accident revealed not only speeding but also a dilapidated fleet of equipment may have been the main cause.
The train has modern and comfortable seats, sockets to charge electric appliances (phones, laptops), wifi, and workspace for business deals among others.
The train will operate daily shuttles between the two towns with five intermediate stops at Edea, Messondo, Eseka, Malak and Ngoumou.
First Class Ticket cost FCFA 10 000 while a round trip cost FCFA 17 000.
Premium ticket cost FCFA 8000 while a round trip cost FCFA 14 000.
Mokun Njouny Nelson