The Murang’a Governor, Mwangi wa Iria has welcomed a move by the government to rehabilitate the 240-kilometre long Nairobi – Nanyuki railway.
Wa Iria, in a press statement termed the rehabilitation of the railway line, which ceased to operate several decades ago, as historic and timely.
The railway, he said is deemed to boost economic activities and recalibrate major trading corridor within Mount Kenya region.
Wa Iria said after the railway stopped to operate most trading centres in the region, which were served by the line, suffered slow but agonizing death.
“Traders suffered, businesses closed down and unemployment thus poverty set in. But that now is bound to change as the once vibrant towns like Maragua, Sagana and Karatina, seek to regain their lost stature and glory,” stated the Governor.
Last week, the government released Sh.1 billion out of the set Sh.3 billion to rehabilitate the metre gauge railway.
Rehabilitation works have already kicked off from Nanyuki towards Nairobi and the exercise is expected to take six months.
In his statement, the governor noted that reviving the railway line will give credence to enable the establishment of special economic zones in areas including Thika, Maragua, Kandundu and Sagana.
“These zones will serve as employment as well as technology transfer hubs for our young generation,” he remarked.
Re-operationalization of the railway is also seen as a way to bring about a rise of new business opportunities along the line like hotels, malls, resorts among other enterprises.
The railway is also expected to revitalize sleeping towns like Maragua and Karatina as it will also see a rise in property values as well as act as a driver of the real estate development sector.
“This is a big plus as the accrued spiral effect in terms of employment and businesses will be huge,” noted Wa Iria.
The railway will see the emergence of new hinterland towns thus creating value to land and contribute to better livelihoods.
The line will also provide an alternative means of transport for bulky agricultural produce thus providing cheap means of transporting goods.
The rehabilitation of the railway line comes at a time when part of the land has been encroached.
Mid this month, Kenya Railway Corporation issued a notice to traders operating along the railway line to vacate to give room for rehabilitation of the line.
The railway will serve counties, including Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Nyeri, Laikipia and neigbouring areas of Embu, Isiolo and Meru.
The line will link Nairobi region and the LAPPSET corridor which is serving northern parts of Kenya.
By Bernard Munyao