Dar es Salaam launches first commuter trains

The first-ever commuter train service in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, has been launched to ease congestion on roads.

Transport Minister Harrison Mwakyembe boarded a train, along with passengers, for the maiden journey.

The trains will run on two routes, mostly during peak hour.

Private commuter minibuses, known as "daladalas", are the main mode of transport in Dar es Salaam, one of the world's fastest-growing cities.

It is the first phase of a government scheme to improve the transport network in Dar es Salaam.

The BBC's Leonald Mubali in Dar es Salaam, which has a population of about 2.5 million, says many residents have welcomed the new railway service and hope that it will be expanded.

One track covers a 25km (15.5 miles) journey between Dar es Salaam's Mwakanga and Tazara railway stations and the second track runs for 20km (12.4 miles) between Ubungo-Maziwa and City railway stations.

Trains will operate during the morning and evening - not in the afternoon and late at night.

A one-way ticket costs 400 Tanzanian shillings (about $0.25, £0.15), which compares favourably to daladala fares which range between 500 shillings and 1,000 shillings - depending on the journey.