The Jinja Railway Bridge

The Jinja Railway Bridge was built in the late 1920 and completed in 1931. It is the first steel bridge that was built across the Nile in Uganda and one of the most iconic structures on the railway system that was built from Mombasa to Kasese costing about 70,000 British pounds since it had both a road way and a rail road until 1954.

The foot path beside the railway is the easiest route to use for anyone crossing from Jinja (eastern side of the Nile) to Bukaaya on the western side of the Nile while using a motorcycle or while on foot giving you great views of the Nile and Lake Victoria.

The rail system run from Jinja to Namasagali on the Victoria Nile where steamer services would run on to Masindi port. From there, passengers would travel by road through Masindi to Butiaba port on Lake Albert and later continue to travel by steamer to Belgian Congo or Juba in Sudan.

Train passengers from Kenya reached Uganda from the railhead at Kisumu and across Lake Victoria to Entebbe or Port bell. In the mid- 1920s the main line in Kenya was extended from Nakuru through Eldoret and Tororo to Mbulamuti where it met up with the original jinja to Namasagali line. The new line to Kampala then crossed the Nile at Jinja by a bridge carrying both the rail way and road underneath.

Ramsay Nicholson with the assistance of his brother Pearce Nicholson was responsible for supervising the construction of the bridge in 1926. Eventually, the bridge was completed in 1930. Initially the bridge boasted of both a railroad from trains and a railroad for other passengers.

By 1906, Jinja’s street pattern had been laid and Indian travelers started moving in starting around 1910. These Indians were Catholic Christians and English speaking who had originated from the former Portuguese colony of Goa on the west of India to help out with the railroad construction

The construction of this railway and road enabled Jinja to grow in size and also birthed industrialization in the town. There was also a boom in agricultural production of cotton and sugar canes as processing industries had been set up.

The construction of the Owen Falls Dam and a bridge next to it, by the end of the 1950s, the road way was removed leaving just the railway and section for the pedestrians and cyclists to cross from.

Jinja Railway Bridge can be accessed when you visit the Source of River Nile on a boat ride. Or alternatively when in Njeru, before crossing the Nile Bridge, you can take a Boda-boda ride to the railway bridge.

SunTrack Adventures organizes daily and weekend tours to Jinja city, and you can get the life time opportunity to explore the Jinja Railway Bridge and  Source of River Nile in Jinja, Uganda.