Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has expanded its operations by introducing overnight passenger train rides on the Kisumu – Nairobi route.
The move is aimed at increasing train frequencies in the lakeside region, and is a game changer for the Nyanza and western regions residents as well as the area economy in general.
According to a statement released by the Corporation and signed by the Managing Director, Philip Mainga, the additional service will commence on Friday, June 10, 2022 with the maiden night trip scheduled at 6.30 pm from the two cities.
Passengers traveling to Kisumu aboard the night train ride, would depart the Nairobi Central Station on Fridays at 6.30 pm and arrive the following morning at 6.30 am. The same train will make a return trip on Sunday evening.
At the same time, travelers heading to Nairobi would depart the new Kisumu Railway Station at 6.30 pm on the same day and make a return trip on Sunday at 6.30 pm.
The schedule is envisioned to be very supportive of business people who ply between the two cities for business, owing to dependability, the arrival and departure time, besides being cheaper than bus transport.
KRC stated that the introduced night trips would be available on Fridays and Sundays to address the high demand for the services and meet the different needs of their growing clientele in the region.
The National Government relaunched the passenger train services on the Nairobi-Kisumu Meter Gauge line on the 17th of December last year after more than a decade of inactivity to offer an alternative and cheaper mode of transportation for travelers hailing from the Nyanza and Western Kenya regions.
The development is a great reprieve to night commuters who were previously forced to rely on the inconvenient Friday and Sunday daytime schedule for the six months since the relaunch.
Daytime travelers leave both stations at 6:00 am every Friday and Sunday for the twelve hour journey.
The development built on the government’s ‘Big Four’ Agenda is a boost to economic advancement poised to reawaken and position the lake region as an investment hub.
KRC further noted that traveling costs will remain unchanged at Sh. 600 and Sh 2,000 for the economy and first-class passengers respectively. Attractive benefits available to first-class passengers, include access to Wi-Fi, charging ports for phones and laptops, refreshments, and spacious closets for luggage storage as opposed to the economy class couches, which have limited privileges.
In addition, the train has an affordable restaurant, where passengers can purchase meals during the long 12-hour journey.
With the increased number of trips, travelers will have an opportunity to use the relatively cheaper trains compared to the buses used by many to travel to the western region of the country. A 7-hour bus ride from Nairobi to Kisumu costs between Sh1, 200 and Sh2,000.
The Corporation’s Managing Director, in a past interview affirmed that the Company had spent billions of shillings in refurbishing its century-old rail network to boost passenger travel in the country.
The revamping of the rail tracks was made possible with the incorporation of the Kenya Defense Forces and the National Youth Service.
“We have spent Sh.500 million to repair the Khwisero – Kitale line, another Sh500 million on the Kisumu – Butere line and Sh1.1 billion to rehabilitate the Gilgil – Nyahururu line on top of another Sh4.5 billion to repair the Nairobi commuter train system, which is currently ferrying 100,000 passengers per day to and from the City,” he pointed out.
By Robert Ojwang’