1301 km railway with 100 years of history|
The Benguelan railway is the only railway connection from Central Africa to the Atlantic. Its construction began in 1903 and was finished at February, 2nd, 1929. On June 10th, 1931 the recently built Angolan port of Lobito received the first copper load from Katanga. The 295 km long railway crosses the province of Benguela, passing through five of its nine municipalities (Lobito, Benguela, Caimbambo, Cubal and Ganda). However, for many years, there only had been railway connections between the 34 km long distance from Lobito to Benguela.
As part of the National Railway Plan, the complete rehabilitation of the 1301 km long railroad to Moxico County is estimated to cost 150 million dollars and to be concluded in 2012.
In 2001 the connection from Lobito to Cubal was announced to be ready by the first quarter of 2002 ... but the bridge of the Cubal by-pass was in worse conditions than expected and three metal bridges hadn't been considered... August 2002 was the next date addressed, but in November only 121 km of railroad had been restored. The arrival to Cubal, 152 km from Benguela, was postponed until December. The CFB (Benguelan Railway) manager, Daniel Quipaxe, stated to Angop in December 2002, that the connections between the regions of Benguela and Huambo were expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2003. As the construction was limited to the placing of stones and cracked stones, due to a lack of sleepers, there was a new rescheduling announced in March 2003. The works on the Rio Cubal Bridge finally began in May 2003, joining Portuguese engineers and Angolan technicians, and were finished seven months on February 6th, 2004. The bridge's roadway, in pre-reinforced concrete, has six 25 m long spans; one of them was entirely demolished, and reconstructed, as was one of the support pillars. Finally, on 18th December, 2004, the Lobito-Cubal by-pass was reopened, but it only began to be used in July 2005, because there were still being carried out works on the 300 meter long and 10 meter wide bridge upon Halu River, at 79 km from Lobito.