When we first viewed the house where we now live, Mark was concerned that the railway line was only 500 metres away and we might be disturbed by the noise. I was amused, the last time the trains ran regularly was 20 years ago, a whole generation has grown up in Gulu not knowing what a train looked like.
Things change rapidly in Uganda and on 26th October, whilst we were away enjoying the delights of Sipi Falls, President Museveni came to Gulu to inaugurate the reopening of the Rift Valley Railway which will run from Tororo in the south of Uganda to Pakwach in the north. Initially just carrying freight but eventually passengers, although I am sure a few will be on board even when it is only freight.
We walked along the railway line from our house to Gulu station to see what developments were beginning. There we found a very smart newly refurbished station
with a plaque and a train.
Sitting atop a tender, which was a vast barrel container, were two men pouring litre bottles of liquid into the container. We started talking to them and they told us they were filling the container with weed killer as tomorrow they were going to spray the tracks. Sadly they were going the other way from our house.
The train tracks criss cross the roads and at every point one can see evidence of work being done to restore the line; it is very exciting. What is also most interesting is that, despite 20 years of war and turmoil in this area the tracks are still here.
I look forward to hearing the first freight train rumble by. It’s a single-track so I doubt there will be more than one a day anytime soon.