KIGALI, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The design for the cross-border Isaka-Kigali standard gauge railway has been changed from previously agreed diesel-powered trains to electric locomotives, Rwanda and Tanzania transport ministers announced here on Friday.
Rwandan Minister of State in charge of Transport Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye and Tanzania's Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Makame M. Mbarawa announced this at a press conference in the Rwandan capital.
The announcement came after the signing a new agreement for the implementation phase of the railway project supposed to connect Rwanda, the landlocked east African country, to the Dar es Salaam port of Tanzania.
The change in design was informed by the need to reduce the time taken and cost of transportation of passengers and goods between Dar es Salaam and Kigali.
Mbarawa said a previous study provided that the cargo train would travel at a speed of 80 km an hour and the passenger train 120 km an hour, but after the switch to electric locomotive, the speed of the cargo train will reach 120 km an hour and the speed of the passenger train 160 km an hour.
The two governments will review the feasibility study within one month, Mbarawa said.
After reviewing the feasibility study, tenders will be open to the public, which might go up to July, he said.
"We believe that the foundation stone of this project will be laid at least in October," said the minister.
The Isaka-Kigali railway project was launched on Jan. 20 in Dar es Salaam by Rwanda's infrastructure minister James Musoni and Mbarawa.
The standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to Kigali is estimated to cost 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, according to initial studies.
Tanzania will foot a bill worth 1.3 billion dollars while Rwanda will raise 1.2 billion dollars, officials said.
The two countries will raise the funds through different financing models, according to Mbarawa.