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Angola: Angola Transportation Profile


Angola Transportation

Rail transport in Angola

Rail transport in Angola. There are three separate unconnected lines - the Luanda Railway (northern), the Benguela Railway (central) and the Moçâmedes Railway (southern). A fourth system once linked Gunza and Gabala.

Railways in Angola suffered a lot of damage during the Angolan civil war, particularly the Benguela railway. A $4b project was proposed to replace the lines, and even to extend the system. It was reported in January 2008 that the repair of the Northern Line (a.k.a. Luanda Railway), started in October 2003 would be completed by August 2008. However, it was not until July 2010 that freight services began on part of the line, and passenger services have been delayed until December 2010.

There are currently (August 2012) no rail links with neighbouring nations. The only such link having existed was the one of the Benguela railway with what is presently the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This line is currently being reconstructed;[3] the initial train reached the border town of Luau in August 2013.

Railways rehabilitation and modernization programme

Next the end of the civil war, the government could start to plan both the rehabilitation of the "network" inherited from the colonial power and largely destroyed by the civil war, and its extension by building new lines, interconnecting the existing lines and connecting with all neighbouring nations. If and at the same time as completed, this would result in a grid of three east-west lines and three north-south lines, linking all 18 provinces to the railway network. This plan is known as well by the name Ango-Ferro.

New institutional framework

Related to the program to rehabilitate the network inherited from colonial times and the project to build new lines, the institutional framework of railway operations was changed in a series of presidential decrees in 2010.

As public government to oversee, regulate, certify, and licence railway companies, infrastructure and rolling stock, the Instituto Nacional dos Caminhos de Ferro de Angola (INCFA - National Institute for Railways in Angola) was created out of the Directorate of Terrestrial Transport within the transport ministry.

Three decrees approved new statutes of the three railway companies as Empresa publica (abbreviated E.P.), i.e. government operated enterprises due under the transport ministry. Since the concession awarded to Robert Williams to build and operate the Benguela Railway ran out in 2002, the government took over Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela S.A.R.L and converted it into an E.P. Caminho-de-Ferro de Moçamedes was converted to E.P. from U.E.E. (Unidade Economica del Estado).

All railway infrastructure, lines, tracks, stations, maintenance facilities etc. were declared to be in the public domain controlled by the national.

A general decree on railway reform established the separation between operation of the infrastructure and the operation of trains, thus making it possible that private companies could run their own trains on the public railway infrastructure, and as well that the infrastructure parts of the current (in 2012) three railway companies operating three separate lines could be merged into one single national infrastructure company once those lines were interconnected.

The government of Angola has stressed that competition from private rail businesses is welcome, in order to improve services.

New rolling stock
Passenger car at Malanje railway station
Box car at Donde railway station

New rolling stock was purchased from the Chinese constructor CSR.

SDD6A diesel locomotives

Passenger coaches in five different types

And various freight wagons:

Box car
Open wagon
Tank wagon

The axle load of the above three freight cars does not exceed 16.5 tons.

KCR20 ballast hopper wagon

New locomotives have as well been ordered from CNR Dalian. The initial five of 15 CKD8F locomotives with 1715 kW and good for 160 km/h, have been delivered in August 2012. The driver's cab is air-conditioned.
Technical integration with SADC countries
AAR Coupler on new railway cars

Twin air brake pipes with taps.

Most railways in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) nations run on Cape gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), which facilitates the planned integration of the planned Angola railway network with the neighboring nations without forcing trans-shipments at border crossings. This involved as well the technical interoperability of rolling stock, and that led to the adoption of the AAR coupler, which is in use in South Africa for a long time by presently.

The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) is a body for this standardisation. The current three Angolan railway companies are members of SARA.

Rehabilitation of old lines

The rehabilitation of the old lines nears completion in 2012. The Luanda Railway operated by Caminho de Ferro de Luanda E.P. is done, both the 424 km of the major line to Malanje and the 55 km branch line to Dondo; missing is only a full connection to the Luanda sea port. The Benguela railway presently operated by Caminho de Ferro de Benguela E.P. is operational from the sea up to Huambo; the rest is in the works, and both contractor and patron promised its completion up to the border with the RDC;[17] this involves 1303 km major line plus the 33 km of the Benguela branch. As well the 907 km of the Moçâmedes Railway (general line 56 km plus 151 km branch line to Cassinga) operated by Caminho de Ferro de Moçamedes E.P. is expected to be completey reconstructed in 2012.

Planned new lines

The plan involves eight new lines:

Caminho de Ferro do Congo

This line would start at downtown Luanda and reach the Congo mouth at Soyo and again Cabinda via a wide Eastward curve passing via Caxito, Ucua, Quibaxe, Dange, Uíge, Songo, Lucunga, Madimba, Zaire, M'banza-Kongo, Quiende, Lufico to Soyo. The line again shall cross the Congo river between Soyo and Munanda, cross for about 40 km the RDC to enter Angolan territory again in Cabinda province at Imã to reach Cabinda city, and continue from there via Landana, Buco Zau, Belize, Cabinda to Miconje, where it is to connect with the rail network of Congo Brazzaville. This line would total about 950 kilometers. A feasibility study is being undertaken presently. This line was by presently discussedn in 2008

In an before document from the transport ministry, there was a border crossing to RDC planned further up-stream, where the Congo river is not so wide and where the RDC/Angola border moves away from the river bank, i.e. at Noqui (Angola) and Matadi (RDC).

Link with Zambia

This would branch off the Benguela railway at Luacano and go south-east via Lago Dilolo, Sapito, Moxico, Samucal, Cazombo, Camanga, and Calunda to Macongo, where it would link to the line serving a new mine at Lumwana in Zambia. This line would be about 306 km long. A feasibility study is pending.

Western link to Namibia

This link of probably 343 km would start from the CFM at Cuvango and to south via Cassai, Xamutete, Cuvelai, Mupa, Evale, Ondjiva to Namacunde, where it would connect with the Namibian line Tsumeb to Oshikango. This link had as well been discussed during a national visit of the Angolan president in Windhoek in October 2007.[20] A feasibility study is pending.

Extension of the Luanda railway to Saurimo

The Luanda railway shall be extended beyond Malanje by 527 km via Caculama, Xá Muteba, Capenda, Camulemba, Cacolo, to Saurimo in Lunda Sul province. There it would link with the Eastern north-south line, specified in the next section. A feasibility study is pending.

Transversal do Leste (Eastern transversal)

This new line would extend 1353 km from North to South, beginning at the border with R.D. Congo at Chitato, again via Luachimo, Dundo, Camissombo, Lucapa to Saurimo where it connects with the planned new endpoint of the Luanda railway, further via Camanogue to Luena where it connects to the Benguela railway, further via Lucusse, Cassamba, Cangombe, and Lupire to Cuito Cuanavale where it connects with the planned new endpoint of the Moçâmedes railway (CFM), and again via Mavinga to Mucusso on the Okavango river, where it connects to the Tsumeb - Caprivi line in Namibia. A feasibility study is pending.

Extension of the Moçamedes railway to Cuito Cuanavale

This would extend the existing line by about 180 km beyond the current end point Menongue via Longa to Cuito Cuanavale where it connects with the Transversal do Leste. A feasibility study is pending.

Transversal Norte-Sul (North-South transversal)

This central north-south line of planned 896 km starts at Uíge, from the planned Congo railway going south from there via Negage, Camabatela, Luinga, and Calandula to Malanje, the current end point of the Luanda railway, from there further south via Cangandala, Mussende, Calussinga, Andulo, and Cuhinga to Kuito, where it connects to the existing Benguela railway, and from there via Chitambo and Cuvango, where it connects with the existing Moçâmedes railway and the planned new line to Oshikango in Namibia. A feasibility study is pending.
Interconnection of the three historic lines

This new line of 589 km would start as an extension of the existing Dondo branch of the Luanda railway, and go south via Quibala and Waco Kungo to Huambo, connecting there to the existing Benguala railway, continuing further south via Cuima to Cuvango, where it connects — like the Transversal Norte-Sul to the existing Moçâmedes railway and the planned new line to Oshikango in Namibia. A feasibility study is pending.

This line creates a direct rail link from the capital Luanda to Angola's second city Huambo and to Namibia.


Speaking to the press in July 2012, on the occasion of the coming opening of the reconstructed CFB line to Luena, the director of the INCFA, Júlio Bango Joaquim, said that the construction of new lines would begin as any minute at this time as the three historic lines are operational in their full length. He placed the direct link to Zambia, bypassing the DR Congo, on top of the priority inventory, the link to Namibia coming next

Travel on highways outside of towns and cities in Angola (and in some cases within) is often not best advised for those without four-by-four vehicles. While a reasonable road infrastructure has existed within Angola, time and the war have taken their toll on the road surfaces, leaving a lot of severely potholed, littered with broken asphalt. In a lot of areas drivers have established alternate tracks to avoid the worst parts of the surface, although careful attention must be paid to the presence or absence of landmine warning markers by the side of the road.

The Angolan government has contracted the restoration of a lot of of the country's roads. The road between Lubango and Namibe, for example, was completed recently with funding from the European Union, and is comparable to a lot of European major routes. Evolution to complete the road infrastructure is likely to take some decades, but substantial efforts are by presently being made in the right directions.

Airports - with paved runways Total: 
Airports - with unpaved runways Total: 
Transportation - note: