China Railway Construction finished building the fastest railway in Angola on Wednesday. It is scheduled to enter service this year.
"We won the Angolan railway tender on price and on the duration of the construction schedule," says Liu Feng, head of China Railway Construction's Angola railway project. The Europea quote was three to five times higher than ours.
"Angola was a former Portuguese colony, and therefore influenced by European culture. The original railway track used steel sleepers in accordance with with European standards, with steel plate and orbit fixings. When the decision was taken to rebuild, China, the USA, Portugal, Russia, Brazil and other countries all put in bids. China had never built railways for Angola, and China's standard cement sleepers attracted some scepticism from the Angolans," says Liu Feng.
"Extensive field tests changed their view, and eventually we won them over,"says Liu. "We had worked on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and the Beijing-Shanghai express, and we got the Angolans interested by showing them our promotional materials and videos. The chief of Angola Railway Bureau was invited to travel on China’s high speed railways when he came to China for observation and analysis, and he was impressed by this experience."
The original Benguela railway was built in accordance with Portuguese standards and their trains could travel at only 30 KM per hour. The successful application of China’s railway standards in Africa has given them a speed of 90 KM per hour, representing the fastest railway in Angola’s history.