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Railway systems of Zambia

Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) is the national railway of Zambia, one of the two major railway organizations in Zambia, which may also be referred to as Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ). The other system is the binational TAZARA Railway (TAZARA) that interconnects with ZRL at Kapiri Mposhi and provides a link to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam.

In Zambia, railways are the leading transportation mode for goods on the international and local routes. Total length of Zambian railway network is more than 2922 kilometers, 900 kilometers out of these are main lines while the rest of the network is branch line railway. Zambia Railways Limited is the main railway line owned by the Zambian government whereas the TAZARA railway line which connects Tanzania with Zambia is jointly owned by Tanzanian and Zambian governments. TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railways) trains run between Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Zambia Railways Limited operate a scheduled train service between the Copperbelt in the north and Livingstone in the south through Lusaka.

The main railway spine through the country today is the Zambia Railways Limited line from Livingstone, via Lusaka, to Kitwe in the north, used by passenger and freight trains. At Kapiri Mposhi there is a junction with TAZARA that is used by freight trains but not passenger. TAZARA has its own passenger trains, but the passenger stations of the two railways at Kapiri Mposhi are separated by a distance of around 2km, Livingstone is also the junction with the Mulobezi line, and with the line from Zimbabwe via the Victoria Falls Bridge.


TAZARA has four classes: 1st class sleeping (four-bed compartments), 2nd class sleeping (six-bed compartments), 2nd-class sitting (also called 'super seater') and economy 3rd class (benches, usually very crowded). Men and women can only travel together in the sleeping sections by booking the entire compartment. At night, secure your window with a stick, and don’t leave your luggage unattended, even for a moment. Central Line has 1st class (four-bed compartments), 2nd class (six-bed compartments) and economy. There is also deluxe service on the Central Line (suspended temporarily as of mid-2017).

Facilities on board:

  • Business class, standard, economy coaches
  • Sleeper compartments
  • Snack coach (restaurant)
  • Air-conditioned coaches
  • Flushable toilets
  • Television sets and music system
  • Customer care service