1.   Short title

   2.   (1) Interpretation

       (2) Powers of assistant managers

   3.   Sanction by Minister of railway construction

   4.   Deposit and approval of plans, sections, etc.

   5.   (1) Railway to be made according to plans

       (2) Deviation

   6.   [Repealed by 21 of 1970]


   7.   (1) Authority of railway administration to execute all necessary work

       (2) Alteration of pipes, wires, and drain

   8.   Temporary entry upon land for repairing or preventing accident

   9.   Compensation to be made for lands taken or injuriously affected

   10.   Purchase of land and compensation by agreement

   11.   Accommodation works

   12.   Power for owner, occupier or local authority to cause additional accommodation works to be made

   13.   Fences, screens, gates and bars

   14.   Removal of trees dangerous to or obstructing the working of a railway


   15.   Right to use locomotives

   16.   Notice of intended opening of a railway

   17.   Sanction of Minister to opening of railway

   18.   Reopening line after temporary suspension of traffic

   19.   Inspection

   20.   Power to close railway when opened

   21.   Reopening railway when closed

   22.   Penalty for contravention of Part II


   23.   Duty of railway administration as to traffic facilities

   24.   Facilities to be given for forwarding traffic by connected railways

   25.   (1) No undue preference to be given

       (2) Terminals

   26.   Proceedings when complaint is made of breach of last two sections

   27.   Proof of undue preference

   28.   [Repealed by 6 of 1970]

   29.   Returns

   30.   Provision for letters


   31.   Taxation of railway by local authorities


   32.   Actions by and against railway administration

   33.   Restriction on execution against railway property

   34.   Service of summonses, notices, etc.


   35.   Liability for loss or injury in respect of goods

   36.   Provisions as to liability in respect of carriage of certain animals

   37.   Liability as to passengers’ luggage

   38.   Liability as to articles of special value

   39.   Burden of proof in respect of loss of animals or goods

   40.   Notification of claims for compensation for loss, etc., and for refund of overcharges

   41.   Exoneration from responsibility in case of goods falsely described


   42.   Report of accidents

   43.   Power to make Rules regarding notices

   44.   Submission of return of accidents

   45.   Penalties for failure to comply with sections 42 and 43

   46.   Penalty for failure to comply with section 44

   47.   Provision for compulsory medical examination of person injured in railway accident


   48.   General Rules

   49.   Disposal of differences, between railways regarding conduct of joint traffic

   50.   Maximum load for wagons

   51.   Maximum number of passengers

   52.   Powers of Manager over railway officials

   53.   Fares to be prepaid Passenger tickets to be given up on demand

   54.   Fare and freight to be accepted conditionally

   55.   Penalty for fraud

   56.   Fine for entering or leaving carriage in motion or riding on steps

   57.   Fine for riding on engine, tender or luggage van

   58.   Where smoking and chewing betel, etc., prohibited

   59.   Penalty for intoxication or nuisance

   60.   Passengers may be directed as to the carriage or compartment in which they shall travel

   61.   Penalty for entering private room or carriage

   62.   Remedy for non-payment of the carriage of goods

      Remedy for non-payment of fare

   63.   Written account of goods to be given on demand

   64.   Penalty for giving no account or false account

   65.   Carriage of goods of a dangerous nature

   66.   Persons suffering from leprosy, etc., not allowed to travel

   67.   Penalty for trespass

   68.   Penalty for driving an animal upon or across a railway

   69.   Penalty for defacing pass or ticket

   70.   Penalty for obstructing railway servant

   71.   Occupation crossings

   72.   Liability of owner of animal trespassing

   73.   Penalty for injury to carriage, etc.

   74.   Penalty for opening or not properly shutting gates or chains

   75.   Obstructing engine or carriages or endangering safety of passengers

   76.   Penalty for wilful act or omission endangering passengers

   77.   Penalty for drunkenness or breach of duty by railway official

   78.   Penalty for an act not wilful

   79.   Unauthorized stopping of trains

   80.   Breach of Rules

   81.   Apprehension of offenders

   82.   Provisions where it is necessary to arrest railway official

   83.   Construction of the Act

   84.   Liability of offenders to pay costs of conviction

   85.   Recovery of money due; damages and expenses

   86.   Limitation of time for commencement of actions and prosecutions

   87.   Enforcing payment of fare by passenger not producing ticket

   88.   A copy, of this Act to be shown at railway stations

   89.   Penalty for removing documents or notices


7 of 1907
36 of 1952
20 of 1954(F)
1 of 1957
6 of 1970
21 of 1970
s.6 and 2nd Sch
G.N. 200/1963

An Act to regulate the construction, control, management and operation of railways in Malawi and for matters incidental thereto s.6 and 2nd Sch.

[1ST OCTOBER, 1907]

1.   Short title and application

   This Act may be cited as the Railways Act. It shall apply to all railways in Malawi whether already completed or in the course of construction or hereafter to be constructed.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act and in any Rules made hereunder unless the context otherwise requires—

   “Manager” means the person appointed by the Minister or by a Railway Company as the case may be to act as Manager of a railway;

   “assistant manager” means an assistant manager of a Railway Company;

   “railway” means a railway or any portion of a railway for the public carriage of passengers, animals or goods and includes—

   (a)   all land within the fences or other boundary marks indicating the limits of the land appurtenant to a railway;

   (b)   all lines of rails, sidings, or branches worked over for the purposes of or in connexion with a railway;

   (c)   all stations, offices, warehouses, wharves, workshops, manufactories, fixed plant and machinery and other works constructed for the purposes of or in connexion with a railway; and

   (d)   all ferries, ships, boats and crafts which are used for the traffic of a railway and belong to or are hired or worked by the authority administering the railway;

   “the railway administration” in the case of a railway administered by the Government means the Manager and includes the Government and also, so long as the railway is in course of construction, the Resident Engineer and in the case of a railway administered by a Railway Company means the Railway Company;

   “Railway Company” includes any person or persons whether incorporated or not who are owners or lessees of a railway or parties to an agreement for working a railway but shall not include the Government;

   “railway official” or “railway servant” includes the Manager, the assistant managers and all such officers, servants, agents and other persons as shall be from time to time employed to do any act upon a railway.

Powers of assistant managers

   (2) All duties and powers hereinafter required to be performed and exercised by the Manager shall and may be performed and exercised by an assistant manager.

3.   Sanction by Minister of railway construction

   If any Company is desirous of constructing a railway within Malawi, it shall deposit in the Ministry of Transport and Communications a scheme for such railway stating the general direction and terminal points of the proposed railway accompanied by a map and thereupon the Minister, with and subject to the approval of the Minister responsible for Land after making such inquiries as he thinks fit may reject or provisionally approve the scheme.

4.   Deposit and approval of plans, sections, etc.

   (1) After any railway has been provisionally approved under section 3 or after Government has decided to construct any railway the Government or the Railway Company as the case may be shall deposit for public inspection in Malawi in such public offices or elsewhere as the Minister may order—

   (a)   plans and sections on such a scale and showing such particulars as the Minister may direct or as may be required by any Rules made hereunder; and

   (b)   a Book of Reference containing the names of the owners and lessees or reputed owners and lessees of the lands required or which may be taken for the purposes of this Act in respect of such plan.

   (2) Notice shall be given of the deposit of such plans and Books of Reference by advertisement in the Gazette calling on all persons having any objection to the said plans and Books of Reference to send in a statement of their objections in writing to the Ministry of Transport and Communications within three months from the date of such notice.

   (3) At the expiration of the said period of three months the said plans and sections together with the objections thereto shall be considered and approved or amended by the Minister.

   (4) The said plans and sections if approved or amended by the Minister shall be deemed to be the deposited plans referred to in this Act.

5.   Railway to be made according to plans

   (1) Any railway constructed under this Act shall be made and maintained in the lines and according to the levels shown on the deposited plans and sections with all proper bridges, viaducts, stations, sidings, approaches, junctions, roads, buildings, yards, works and conveniences connected therewith and incidental thereto.


   (2) It shall be lawful for the railway administration to deviate from the line of railway shown on the deposited plans, provided that no such deviation shall extend beyond the limits of deviation shown on the said plans.


   [ Repealed by 21 of 1970]


7.   Authority of railway administration to execute all necessary work

   (1) Subject to this Act and subject also as regards the parties thereto to any contract entered into between a railway administration and the owners or occupiers of or any other parties interested in any lands taken or used for the purposes of a railway and subject also in the case of a company to any contract between the Government and the company the railway administration may for the purpose of constructing the railway or the accommodation or other works connected therewith and notwithstanding anything in any other Act for the time being in force—

   (a)   make or construct in, upon, across, under or over any lands or any streets, hills, valleys, roads, railways or tramways on any rivers, canals, brooks, streams or other waters or any drains, water-pipes, gas-pipes, electric wires or posts such temporary or permanent inclined planes, arches, tunnels, culverts, embankments, aqueducts, bridges, roads, lines of railway, ways, passages, conduits, drains, piers, abutments, cuttings and fences as the railway administration thinks proper;

   (b)   alter the course of any rivers, brooks, streams or watercourses for the purpose of constructing and maintaining tunnels, bridges, passages or other works over or under them; and divert or alter as well temporarily as permanently the course of any rivers, brooks, streams or watercourses or any roads, streets, or ways; or raise or sink the level thereof in order the more conveniently to carry them over or under or by the side of the railway as the railway administration thinks proper;

   (c)   make drains or conduits into, through or under any lands adjoining the railway for the purpose of conveying water from or to the railway;

   (d)   erect and construct such houses, warehouses, offices and other buildings and such yards, stations, wharves, engines, machinery, apparatus and other works and conveniences as the railway administration thinks proper;

   (e)   alter, repair or discontinue such buildings, works and conveniences as aforesaid or any of them and substitute others in their stead; and

   (f)   do all other acts necessary for making, maintaining, altering or repairing and using the railway.

   The exercise of the powers conferred on the railway administration by this section shall be subject to the control of the Minister.

Alteration of pipes, wires, and drain

   (2) A railway administration may for the purpose of exercising the powers conferred upon it by this Act alter the position of any pipe for the supply of gas, water or compressed air or the position of any electric wire or of any drain not being a main drain:

   Provided that—

   (a)   when the railway administration desires to alter the position of any such pipe, wire or drain it shall give reasonable notice of its intention to do so and of the time at which it will begin to do so to the local authority or company having control over the pipe, wire or drain, or when the pipe, wire or drain is not under the control of a local authority or company to the person under whose control the pipe, wire or drain is; and

   (b)   a local authority, company or person receiving notice under proviso (a) may send a person to superintend the work and the railway administration shall execute the work to the reasonable satisfaction of the person so sent and shall make arrangements for continuing during the execution of the work the supply of gas, water, compressed air or electricity or the maintenance of the drainage as the case may be.

8.   Temporary entry upon land for repairing or preventing accident

   (1) The Minister may authorize a railway administration in the case of any slip or other accident happening or being apprehended to any cutting, embankment or other work under the control of the railway administration to enter upon any lands adjoining its railway for the purpose of repairing or preventing the accident and to do all such works as may be necessary for the purpose.

   (2) In the case of necessity a railway administration may enter upon the lands and do the works aforesaid without the previous sanction of the Minister but in such a case shall within seventy-two hours after such entry make a report to the Minister specifying the nature of the accident or apprehended accident and of the works necessary to be done and the power conferred on the railway administration by this subsection shall cease and determine if the Minister after considering the report considers that the exercise of the power is not necessary for the public safety.

9.   Compensation to be made for lands taken or injuriously affected

   (1) A railway administration shall do as little damage as possible in the exercise of the powers conferred by sections 7 and 8 and compensation shall be paid for any damage caused by the exercise thereof as soon as may be after such exercise.

    (2) An action shall not lie to recover such compensation but in case of dispute the amount thereof shall be determined by the High Court and paid in accordance, as far as may be, with the procedure prescribed by sections 9 and 10 of the Lands Acquisition Act, and section 11 of that Act shall apply to the award of compensation.

10.   Purchase of land and compensation by agreement

   Nothing in this Act shall prevent the acquisition of lands for the purpose of a railway by agreement between the Government or the company as the case may be and the owners of such land or the settling by agreement of the amount of compensation to be paid in respect of lands injuriously affected by the exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.

11.   Accommodation works

   (1) Every railway administration shall make and maintain such works for the accommodation of the owners and occupiers of lands adjoining the railway as the Minister may deem necessary.

   (2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act the works deemed necessary under the preceding subsection shall be made during or immediately after the laying out or formation of the railway over the lands traversed thereby and in such manner as to cause as little damage or inconvenience as possible to persons interested in the lands or affected by the works.

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