Sir Ray wrote:
So, whatever happend to that 'modern-day' Capetown to Cairo railway proposal...
Cecil Rhodes, the imperialist had the idea of such a railway. He caused to be built the railway from the Cape Province through what is now Botswana to Bulawayo, on to the Victoria Falls and into Zambia as far as the Copper Belt.
I have used various parts of that line when I worked in Botswana. I have been over the Victoria Falls bridge in a train travelling from the Zambia side to Bulawayo.
That line had an economic point. How much of it is still operating I am not sure. The current state of collapse in Zimbabwe makes it possible that it isn't functioning well there.
There is no economic point to a through line to Cairo.
There is a link from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to Dar es Salaam, built by the Chinese. I don't know how busy that is, as it was originally designed to take copper from Zambia while avoiding Rhodesia and South Africa.
The first main rail gap is between Kenya-Uganda and the Sudan system. There is a plan to build a link between Sudan and Uganda, and possibly Kenya. However, I don't know how serious this plan is. There would be gauge problems as the East African lines are all metre gauge.
Then there is a gap between Sudan and Egypt. Sudan has a cape gauge system and Egypt has standard gauge.
I suppose a link is possible, but there are political problems, as Egypt has a regime compliant to the west whereas Sudan has a radical Islamic regime, which deals more with China than with the west.