The loss-making Blue Train won’t return anytime soon

BR Express.PIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE
BR Express.PIC.KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The government's stance on returning the passenger train popularly known as the Blue train hasn’t changed as the latter is not expected to hit the rail line anytime soon.

The loss-making commuter train stopped operation in January 2020 because it was not convenient, profitable and sustainable to run it. After Botswana Railways (BR) indicated in 2022 that the train won’t return anytime soon, the Minister of Transport and Public Works Eric Molale reiterated this week before Ntlo Ya Dikgosi that that government will not return the passenger bus train because it is not feasible as it was running at a loss.

“Currently my ministry has no plans to revive the use of the passenger train which was halted during the COVID 19 pandemic. It is worth noting that the passenger train has been operating at a loss since inception,” he said. The passenger train losses has been mainly attributed to overhaul and maintenance costs of locomotives and wagons as well as other costs associated with train operations like fuel and wagon hire.

Molale further added that thoughts of returning the passenger train will only be entertained after the BR and his ministry sees some profits in the next five years. “My ministry through BR will be undertaking a five year transformation plan commencing 2024/2025 financial year in order to attain business growth and profitability. That’s when consideration will be made,” Molale emphasised.


He was responding to a question from Kgosi Mosojane from North East region who had asked if the government has any plans to resurrect the use of the train. He cited a reason of safety as a need for the return of the train.

The minister acknowledged that the train does provide a safe and secure transport between Gaborone and Francistown but his ministry is constrained from reinforcing the passenger train.

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