By Bulawayo Correspondent
THE cash-strapped National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has allocated free “special” trains to ferry people who will be travelling from Bulawayo and Mutare to the government organised anti-sanctions march in Harare on Friday.
The Zanu PF led administration has set aside Friday, October 25 as the day Zimbabweans will hold protests against sanctions imposed on the country by the US and the European Union 2001 and 2003.
NRZ Public Relations manager, Nyasha Maravanyika said two passenger trains have been set aside to carry residents who are sympathetic to the anti-sanctions cause.
“Two passenger trains have been set aside to carry passengers from Bulawayo and Mutare for free,” said Maravanyika.
“The train from Bulawayo will leave the city on Thursday 24 October 2019 at 1500 hours and arrive in Harare on Friday 25 October 2019 at 0420 hours.
“It will return after the solidarity march, departing at 2000 hours and arriving in Bulawayo at 0840 hours.”
Maravanyika said the Mutare train will also depart on 24 October 2019 at 2100 hours and arrive in Harare at 0605 hours the next day.
The train will leave Harare on Friday at 2130 hours and arrive in Mutare the next day at 0605 hours.
The NRZ spokesperson said the trains will make stops along the way to pick up more passengers.
“People wishing to make use of the free trains can get in touch with Station Masters at their nearest railway stations for more information,” he said.
Maravanyika said 15 coaches with a capacity to accommodate 1 500 passengers have been lined up for travellers from Bulawayo while the train from Mutare will consist of 12 coaches which can carry up to 1 200 passengers.
“NRZ takes an active part in contributing to national activities and has in the past assisted with transport at events such as Independence Day and Heroes Day commemorations,” he said.
The country’s rail carrier has been facing serious viability problems over the past years.
It has in the past, come under fire for transporting some Zanu PF supporters to party functions free of charge.
The trains have also been forced to ply none or less profitable routes, in a development widely viewed as an attempt to lure voters by the ruling party.