Technology similar to that used on railways in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Japan is expected to bring the 1,461-mile Kenya-Uganda Railway into the modern era of railway management, according to a report in AfricaReview.com.
A $9.3 million tech upgrade by Rift Valley Railways, operator of the Kenya-Uganda Railway, will allow centrally controlled movement of trains and cargo along the railway track, the report said.
The technology includes GPS and automated train warrant software software. GPS will replace manual management of crossovers at railway stations with satellite-enabled self-switching movement of trains.
Automated train warrant software allows online vizualisation from a control center in Nairobi of the precise location of trains along the railway.
The new technology means “we shall eliminate a lot of waiting time at stations by giving priority track access to trains carrying cargo and also allow us to handle larger fleets,” said Darlan De David, the Rift Valley Railways CEO.
Communication with the trains will be through on-board computers installed in all locomotives, which have remote speed-control features and report on the condition of engines and the track back to the control center.
“This is an integrated logistics and operations solution used in modern railway management systems that gives real time information on multiple dimensions of the railway line and rolling stock,” said Hernani Sozzi Jr., a rail and road management software developer with Brazilian rail operator America Latina Logistica.
This technology is used to manage railways in Brazil, Argentina and South Africa, Sozzi said. Japan uses the same technology to manage operations and billings for mass commuter rails.
Rift Valley Railways is part of Citadel Capital, a private equity firm in Africa and the Middle East with investments of $9.5 billion in energy, transportation, agri-foods, mining and cement.
Rift Valley won a 25-year contract to run the Kenya-Uganda Railway’s cargo business in 2006.