In 1891, the Eisenbahngesellschaft für Deutsch-Ostafrika (English: Railway Company for German East Africa) was established, with the goal of building a railway from Tanga in Tanganyika to the hinterland. For that, and subsequent, main lines in the German colony, the gauge selected was 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge.
In 1904, the Ostafrikanische Eisenbahngesellschaft (English: East African Railway Company) (OAEG) was formed to promote a railway from Dar es Salaam in the direction of Lake Tanganyika, the Zentralbahn (English: Central Line).
Kigoma was reached on 2 February 1914.
On 1 April 1919, the new colonial administration established Tanganyika Railways and Port Services as the operator of the railways in the mandated territory.
In 1928, the Tabora–Mwanza railway was completed with the assistance of the German.
In 2007 RITES Ltd. of India won a contract from Tanzania's Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) to operate the TRC's passenger and freight services on a concession basis for 25 years.
The services previously operated by the TRC were run as Tanzania Railway Ltd, with the government owning a 49 per cent stake. However, in 2010 the government terminated the agreement and resumed control.
In the same vein, Tanzania last week took an important step forward in improving its transport sector with the scheduled inauguration of the 14 trillion/- Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project – the first of its kind in the country.
Once completed, the railway line is expected to greatly stimulate economic growth and development on the back of a government plan to improve regional trade links with the country’s landlocked neighbours including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The construction of the railway phase one had already started and President John Magufuli formally laid the project’s foundation stone at Pugu Station in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.
Plans are for the entire 1,219-kilometre line to stretch from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, to be built in several phases, with the first phase covering Dar to Morogoro (202km). Other phases will cover Morogoro to Makutopora (336km), Makutopora to Tabora (294km), Tabora to Isaka (133km), and Isaka to Mwanza (294km).
The SGR is one of the current government’s flagship projects as Tanzania seeks to make optimal use of its long coastline by offering an upgraded transport network to boost trade with its landlocked neighbours.
It is being built on a $7.6 billion loan from China's Export-Import Bank (Exim), with the Dar-Morogoro stretch to be constructed by a consortium of Turkish and Portuguese companies.
The main project involves building a railway for an electric bullet train, along with related facilities including power infrastructure, interchange railways and station expansions.
Once installed, the train is expected to travel at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, making it the second fastest bullet train in Africa after one in Morocco.
Officials say the stretch from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro will have a total of six passenger stations and six others for interchange railways. The government has set aside 1trn/- in the current financial year as initial cost of the project.
The entire project is scheduled to be completed by September 2019.