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FAQs

  • I am concerned that people might be cheated?

    It will not arise. All valuations will be approved by the Office of the Chief Government Valuer (CGV), Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development following known compensation rates. More also, districts have their compensation rates.
  • How come compensation rates vary?

    Compensation rates vary depending on market prices that vary along the route, district compensation rates for temporary developments that vary per district and developments on the land.
  • The existing URC has been heavily encroached, what will you do to ensure this does not occur with SGR?

    We will plant boundary markers, trees and work with local authorities and push for legislative framework.
  • How much money is available for compensation?

    There is sufficient money; there is a railway levy which is used for compensation. All imports coming to Uganda since July 2014 are subject to 1.5% of the CIF value of all the imports. UGX110bn has so far been collected
  • When Compensation delays; inflation comes in.

    The Minister proposed that no work should be done until compensation is completed but yes, lack of TIN numbers, absentee landlords, etc. are delays on the people’s part.
  • If my land title is in the bank? When it comes to compensation, what happens?

    We will liaise with the bank and discuss modalities.
  • Why are you building single track bridges?

    Initially, the plan was to have a double track on major civil engineering structures like bridges as this would save the country future costs in expansion/ augmentation of the railway system, but deeper analysis found that:  The economic viability is highly dependent on the investment costs and revenue forecasts, so any redundancy increases initial cost of investment, limiting the viability (IRR and NPV) which are key parameters when looking for financing. Therefore, a decision was taken to develop single track which is required on commencement of train operations.  The technology may have changed by that time and that would necessitate different types of bridges since the speeds are a function of design.
  • Why did we go for an arch bridge, and not a cable bridge as is for the new Nile road bridge?

    a) Cable bridges are not commonly used for freight railways due to challenges associated with heavy loads, dynamic loading and other design difficulties. b) There is need to use designs and technology that have been widely used and tested over time to preclude the risk of structural failure associated with new technologies and designs. c) For the given span and loading, an arch bridge is the most economically feasible bridge for the proposed SGR Nile bridge.
  • Why did we limit the speeds to 120kph?

    • The proposed SGR is majorly designed for freight and all major design parameters are for freight railways. • In the SGR protocol, it was agreed that we limit the speed of passenger trains to 120kph and freight to 100kph for the sake of affordability and feasibility given the level of development and economies. • Throughout the world most freight trains operate at speeds of 80-120kph because higher speeds require very heavy locomotives that may not be available on the market • Throughout the world, freight trains are not as fast as passenger trains because they are heavier and longer whereas passenger trains are lighter and shorter. There are design and operational justifications for this norm. • The SGR is mainly designed for freight. Passenger services are only an added advantage. The major design considerations are based on freight train requirements.
  • Why are we using 50kg/m rails and not 60kg/m?

    Although the preliminary engineering (by Gauff Consultants) had proposed 60kg/m, the NCIP SGR protocol required us to use 50kg/m. The rail size (weight per meter length) is determined primarily by the axle load (other factors include traffic density, speeds etc.). The NCIP regional SGR axle loading is 25 tons which requires a 50kg/m rail. The wear and tear on these rails is a function of traffic density. The traffic density of Mombasa – Nairobi will be much higher than that of Malaba – Kampala, which is why Kenya decided to use larger 60kg/m rails. About 70% of the Mombasa port traffic is destined for Nairobi area. The 50kg/m rail section is sufficient and cost effective for the projected traffic bearing in mind that rails wear and tear and are replaceable. As good practice, rails are replaced after they have worn out and lost 5% of the weight. Generally the rails constitute about 1.3% of the cost per route-Km. 50kg/m rail is a common rail section used in China and therefore replacement rails are easily available.
  • Why did we opt for electric versus diesel locomotive?

    • A joint team of Uganda and Kenya technocrats undertook a study to China and India on this matter. • Key highlights: a) Energy consumption during operations is about 8.82Kwh per 1000 Gross ton Kilometer (GTKM) and 2.5L per 1000 GTKM for electric and diesel traction respectively. Based on the current cost of diesel and electricity in Uganda, it is cheaper to operate an electric locomotive. b) Currently, China manufactures 6,000KW, and 7,200KW electric locomotives on 25 tonne axle load. A single electric locomotive will haul 4,000 tonnes compared to two diesel locomotives rated at 3,750KW required for the same load. c) The cost of maintenance of diesel locomotive is 30-40% higher than the cost of maintenance of electric locomotives. d) The electric traction system is eco-friendly in terms of carbon emissions, noise pollution, suitable as mitigation measures for climate change e) Importantly, China and India, with about 75% of the global railway network are systematically upgrading from diesel traction to electric traction. In order to access affordable spare parts, technology and skills, it is important to follow the global trends. f) Kenya’s construction is reserved for upgrading to electric traction which means that in future they will operate electric traction system. g) Electrification has higher investment costs (approx. USD 0.55m/route-km) but lower operation and maintenance costs.
  • 6. Why did Uganda opt for FIDIC/ EPC turnkey contract mode of implementation?

    a) There are several contracting modes available including Force account, Design-Bid-Build, Design & Build, Engineering-Procurement & Construction/Turnkey etc. b) The choice of the contracting mode depends on risk allocation, complexity and efficiency are some the major parameters that are used to determine the mode of contracting preferred. Notably, for system like the railway, the various system components (civil, electro-mechanical, mechanical and signal, telecom engineering components) must be engineered, procured, manufactured, installed, synchronized and tested simultaneously. c) Internationally FIDIC/ EPC- Turnkey contractual mode is preferred for complex and large magnitude engineering systems, like the railway. This was and is currently being used for railway projects in Ethiopia and Kenya d) The EPC/Turnkey is a contracting mode where the employer provides functional requirements and the contractor undertakes to design, procure and construct, manufacture, install and test the system to the given requirements by the Employer. The performance of the EPC/Turnkey contract depends on the fulfillment of the functional requirements as agreed by both parties and ultimately the functionality of the system. e) The main advantages include: i) The contractor bears the design, procurement and construction risks so no addenda arising from design inadequacies are entertained. These addenda cause interruptions to the business programing of such projects. ii) It’s a lump sum contract with predictable and fixed price. iii) In most cases, they are completed on time compared to other modes of contracting. iv) Most financiers prefer this mode due to predictable price and completion time which adversely can affect the viability of the project v) The major challenge is that there are no detailed designs and detailed bills of quantities thus hard to justify to the public that is used to design-bid-build and there is no available list of materials. f) The NCIP Summit directed that we use EPC/Turnkey contracts as the implementation mode. g) EPC/Turnkey contracting mode is a condition for application for financing to the China Exim Bank. h) During negotiations, the Government team relied on preliminary engineering study by Gauff Consultants, cost comparisons with Kenya and Ethiopia, reference rates from similar items from the UNRA roads contracts to come up with the negotiation basis. In the end the negotiated price was 20% lower than the submitted bid and 15% lower than the Gauff estimates.
  • Why did we opt for Continuously Welded Rails (CWR)?

    Because it is an electric traction system, continuous welded rails are used to avoid losses due to the gap between jointed rails. Eliminate operational and maintenance costs occasioned by joints. Substantially reduce vandalism which is common with jointed rails Eliminate noise and discomfort generated by rail joints. Reduction in energy consumption caused by jointing
  • Tonnage: How much will each train carry?

    • Each train will carry 4,000 gross tonnes. This can be increased to 5000 tonnes. Each wagon can take 75 tonnes plus tare estimated at 25 tonnes. Therefore each wagon will be 100 tonnes.
  • What is the main difference between road bridges and railway bridges?

    The difference comes in the design load. The railway bridges are designed based on anticipated heavy train loads as opposed to the vehicular loads. There are engineering considerations that are unique to the railways especially the dynamic loading, the vertical loads, the loading impacts etc. SGR axle loading is 25 tonnes and for the road is usually 8 tonnes.
  • What is the difference between AREMA (American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association) and China standards?

    The difference is in the structure gauge (height and width of the railway system), the design of the embankment, the formation width and specifications of materials, methodology of construction among others. Use of Chinese standards results in infrastructure that is more durable, more robust and that has higher safety margin. iii) Over the last 30 years, China has built more railways than the rest of the world combined. Therefore, Chinese railway technology is proven in the industry.
  • Why are we focusing on a different quality of steel from what we have in the market and why the emphasis on the high quality cement?

    The Chinese Class I railway standards specify the chemical and physical standards of cement including the testing regime thereof and this applies to steel also. Importantly, Uganda has never built structures (including bridges) for such loading/weights. Therefore, the key materials must meet the design strength, durability and functionality. The railway is designed for 100 years.
  • What are some of the design and operation features that make the SGR different/unique?

    • Each passenger train will carry 960 passengers. • Each train will carry 4,000 gross tonnes. • The trains will move at speeds of 100Kph and 120kph for freight and passengers respectively. • The trains will be electric. Therefore no noise, more comfort and eco-friendly.
  • Why is the Uganda SGR said to be more expensive than other projects in the region?

    Uganda SGR cost is comparable and cost effective. The cost is majorly dependent on the number of bridges/viaducts, the super large bridges like that over the Nile, the geotechnical conditions, the topography that must be attenuated to attain the right gradient. The biggest challenge is not comparing likes for likes. Further information is available on the SGR website.
  • How will migration of freight from road to rail be achieved?

    Government will put in place favorable transport policies that will attract freight from road to the railway. These policies will result in reduced cost of doing business and a favorable investment climate.
  • When will construction of the Uganda SGR section begin?

    As soon as financing is secured.
  • What are the project opportunities for Ugandans?

    There will be job opportunities as well as works and services opportunities in sectors like supply of construction materials (cement, steel, gravel, aggregates etc.), legal, security services, petroleum products, consultancy services, vehicle hire among others.
  • Do you have a written policy or understanding with the contractor to ensure Ugandan local content participation?

    Yes, we have an approved Local Content Strategy which will be a basis for the local content implementation.
  • When will you complete signing of the financing agreement with the lender which is critical to project timely delivery?

    We are in the final stages and hope to conclude soon.
  • After construction completion, what is the management plan?

    We have signed a MoU with the contractor to undertake operations in the interim as we build capacity. As directed by the NCIP Summit, the government will retain the responsibility of developing and maintaining the infrastructure while the operator will undertake the operations under specified performance requirements.
  • Is there a significant difference between the SGR cost per km between Kenya/Uganda/Rwanda and South Sudan?

    The costs per Km will depend on topography, geology and hydrology. However, the SGR cost for Kenya’s Mombasa-Nairobi section is comparable to that for Malaba-Kampala.
  • Where will the locomotive interchange take place since Kenya is diesel and Uganda is electric?

    The interchange will take place at Malaba railway station on the Kenyan side.
  • Why is the SGR route not following the existing Metre Gauge Railway reserve?

    In order to achieve the desired speed, efficiency and haulage, the design parameters especially horizontal curvature and vertical gradients, only approximately 20% of the existing railway corridor will be utilized by the SGR.
  • 1. As directed by H.E. the President of Uganda, the Government, through the Ministry of Works of Transport, continues to fast track the development of the SGR.

    2. The SGR is a transformational Project for Uganda that will not only stimulate industrialization, but provide the needed impetus to lift the country into a middle income country. Any delay will impact on the country significantly.

    3. Uganda is following the SGR Protocol and is developing China Class 1 Railway system.

    4. As ably demonstrated, the development cost of the Malaba-Kampala SGR is comparable to development cost of the other SGR projects in the region (Kenya and Ethiopia), taking into account the unique features along the route, especially the supper major bridge across the River Nile at Jinja and the expansive soils along the route.