Matadi-Kinshasa Railway: From Matadi Harbour to Kinshasa via Songolo, Kimpese, Mbanza-Ngungu and Kasangulu, operated by ONATRA, 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge, originally constructed as 765 mm (2 ft 61⁄8 in) gauge; three trains a week. This line is a bypass of the Livingstone Falls on the Congo River, known as a portage railway. Upstream from the Kinshasa river port, water transport reaches about two-thirds of the country. The line lost traffic to road transport when the Matadi-Kinshasa road was re-established in 2000, and it is now planned to revitalize it with Chinese help. An agreement was signed in July 2006 between ONATRA and a Chinese company (CMIC) which will renovate the track, trains, telecommunications, signal system and electric supply. No train service any more since August 2012 (lack of material and many accidents) and works are still not started (Jan 2014).
Vicicongo line:Bumba (Congo river port) - Aketi - Buta - Likati - Isiro - Mungbere, with branch lines to Bondo and Titule; 600 mm (1 ft 115⁄8 in) narrow gauge. The line was opened by Chemins de Fer Vicicongo in 1923 and is 1235 km (741 mi) long.
Great lakes line first section:Kisangani (Congo River port) to Ubundu (upper Congo River port), 1,000 mm (3 ft 33⁄8 in). This line is a bypass (portage railway) of the Stanley Falls on the Congo River. A train runs after arrival at Kisangani of a ship from Kinshasa or before departure of a ship to Kinshasa, which may happen about every 2 to 3 month, no fixed schedule. There is no connecting boat service between Ubundu and Kindu on the Lualaba River (the upper Congo).
Great lakes line second section:Kindu (Lualaba River port) - Kibombo – Kongolo – Kabalo (Lualaba River port and junction with Katanga line) - Nyunzu – Niemba – Kalemie (the port on Lake Tanganika), 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). This line was 1,000 mm (3 ft 33⁄8 in) gauge like the first section until 1955, when the gauge was changed for the connection with the Katanga line in 1956. Just north of Kongolo, the Lualaba is unnavigable due to the rapids named Portes D'Enfer ('Gates of Hell'). The track between Kalemie and Niemba is described by UNJLC in 2006 as 'very degraded' and may not be operational. Boats to Moba and Kalundu-Uvira on Lake Tanganyika used to connect with trains at Kalemie. In 1917 a train ferry was introduced on the lake operating from Kalemie, but is long gone.
Katanga line: Kabalo (Lualaba River port and junction with Great Lakes line) – Kamungu - Katumba – Kabongo (or a town 8 km south-east) – Kamina (junction with Kasia line) - Bukama (Lualaba River port) – Tenke (junction with Benguela Railway)- Likasi – Lubumbashi - Sakania - Zambia, 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). There are a number of short branch lines in the mining areas between Tenke and Kolwezi. The section from near Kabongo to Kamina was described by UNJLC in 2006 as 'very degraded'.
Kasai line:Ilebo (Kasai River port) – Kananga – Mwene Ditu – Kaniama - Kamina (junction with Katanga line), 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). This connects the Katanga line to the river port at Ilebo from where boats can reach Kinshasa. Freight is transferred to river barges, but in 2006 UNJLC reports the river service operates sporadically. On 1 August 2007 a passenger train ran out of control on the line 170 km north-west of Kananga and 7 coaches overturned, killing about 100 people.
Katanga-Benguela line: A branch of the Katanga Railway was built from Tenke junction just north-west of Likasi via Kolwezi to Dilolo at the Angolan border to connect with the Benguela Railway1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) from Luau to the Atlantic port of Lobito. This allowed through passenger trains to run between Lubumbashi and Lobito, and freight trains to carry copper from the Zambian and Katangan Copperbelts to a seaport for the export of copper. It was this purpose which provided the investment for the Benguela Railway. Unfortunately it has not operated through Angola since the 1970s, due to the civil war there. Currently the line between Kolwezi and Dilolo is described by UNJLC in 2006 as 'very degraded'.
The following lines have been completely removed and are not listed for future rehabilitation:
Angola - yes - same gauge - 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in). The link to the ports of Benguela and Lobito has been unusable since the 1970s, but is currently being rehabilitated. The Angolan transport minister Augusto Tomás promised the reconstruction up to the border station at Luau in Moxico province until the end of 2012. The focus would then be on the line from Dilolo to Kolwezi.
Tanzania - no direct link but boats take freight between Kalemie and Kigoma, from where Tanzania's Central Line runs to the seaport of Dar es Salaam; there once was a train ferry from Kalemie built in 1917; break of gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)/1,000 mm (3 ft 33⁄8 in).
These neighbouring countries have rail systems, but there are no links from the Congo:
In September 2007 it was reported that China would provide US$5 billion for new infrastructure projects including rehabilitation and construction of new sections to link Sakania and Lubumbashi to Matadi (3200 km), to be completed in 3 years.
A line from Uganda to Kasese was proposed in 2005.
In 2012, a new or rehabilitated 1,435 mm (4 ft 81⁄2 in) gauge line was proposed from Kisangali to the port of Lamu in Kenya.