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Train services grounded

Loughty Dube

THE cash-strapped National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has suspended inter-city passenger train services with immediate effect due to an acute shortage of diesel.

The affected inter-city services are the Bulawayo-Harare, Bulawayo-Victoria Falls and the Bulawayo-Chiredzi routes while urban commuter “Freedom Trains” are also under threat.

The NRZ confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that the inter-city train services have been interrupted as a result of the parastatal’s failure to source fuel from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim).

The suspension of the train services on Monday left thousands of people stranded as the parastatal struggled to secure fuel from Noczim.

An official from the NRZ who declined to be named said urban commuter trains were also likely to be affected in the coming weeks if the NRZ failed to source fuel from other quarters as a matter of urgency.

“As it is, the NRZ has enough fuel to last for only one week for ‘Freedom Trains’ but more is needed to revive the suspended services and to maintain current ‘Freedom Train’ schedules,” said the official.

Companies likely to be hardest hit by the suspension of services are Zisco and Wankie Colliery.

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