All people who have encroached on Kenya Railways land from Longonot all the way to Malaba should vacate with immediate effect.
According to the Kenya Railway’s Regional Operations Manager (ROM), Christopher Andimu, this is meant to pave way for the rehabilitation of the meter gauge railway which is set to resume services mid next month.
Andimu who was addressing residents at Tumeiyo and Kipkabus railway stations in Elgeyo Marakwet County said the railway, which is one of the infrastructure flagship project, is expected to be completed within eight months.
The ROM regretted that the railway corridor which is 30m on each side has been invaded by people who have planted food crops while others have erected kiosks.
He called on farmers whose maize has matured to harvest, while those yet to mature should be cut and sold as silage for livestock before the contractor starts the works as they will all be flattened.
Andimu said as opposed to the old trains which moved at between 20-30 Kilometres per hour, the new trains will be moving at between 80-120 kph and thus the importance of ensuring that the corridor is clear to prevent accidents.
Andimu who was accompanied by the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) led by the County Commissioner (CC), Dr. Ahmed Omar expressed concern over cases of vandalism along the railway line and warned that stern action will be taken against anyone found engaging in the vice.
“Most of the vandalized metals are sold to scrap metal dealers, we are warning them that if found with railway material one will be charged with stealing government property,” he warned.
Andimu said as they rehabilitate the line, they will be working with different government agencies, citing the county government which will ensure that water is provided to the railway stations whereby in the absence of piped water, a borehole will be sank complete with a pump and a 10,000 litres tank.
The county government will also be tasked with ensuring that county roads crossing the railway are constructed as per the standards set.
“Roads passing along the railway line will be moved to the edge of the corridor while those illegally crossing the line will require to be legalized and upgraded to required standards,” he said.
He added that Kenya Power will also be expected to upgrade the power line to three phase to enable smooth undertaking of the works.
He said locals will benefit as they will be hired as casuals in addition to accessing water and electricity.
The CC said the rehabilitation of the railway line will see a revival of many towns along the line whose economies were affected by the collapse of railway transport.
The meeting was also attended by the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) Director, Martin Rotich.
By Alice Wanjiru