Transport in Botswana

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A sparsely populated, arid country, Botswana has nonetheless managed to incorporate much of its interior into the national economy. An "inner circle" highway connecting all major towns and district capitals is completely paved, and the all-weather Trans-Kalahari Highway connects the country (and, through it, South Africa's commercially dominant Gauteng Province) to Walvis Bay in Namibia.

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Railways

Botswana possesses 888 km of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge railway, by 2002 figures, serving a number of towns and connecting the country to its neighbours.

Railway links to adjacent countries

Botswana has rail links with the neighboring countries Zimbabwe and South Africa. There is no direct connection with Namibia, but one does exist via South Africa, although an electrified railway connecting to L├╝deritz, Namibia for coal traffic is/was scheduled to open in 2006.

A new rail link between Botswana and Zambia, bypassing Zimbabwe was mooted in 2005 by Botswana Railways (BR) general manager Andrew Lunga. The line was envisaged as running south-westwards from Livingstone, crossing the Zambesi, then continuing to a junction with the existing BR tracks at Mosetse. Lunga's proposal arose following the serious loss of traffic suffered by BR following the opening of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo line, after which annual BR freight tonnage fell from 1.1m per annum to about 150,000. Zimbabwe's economic problems had worsened the situation, prejudicing free traffic flow. The suggested line, Lunga pointed out, would provide important alternative routes linking South Africa, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[1]

Towns served by rail

All passenger services have been suspended in Botswana, with the only remaining service being an international link to Zimbabwe from Francistown, the only railway station that is still in service. Freight trains still operate. The following stations had passenger services running from them until May 2009:

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