Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has reiterated that the relaunch of commercial train transport on the Nairobi-Kisumu route will take place in November once the renovation of the 216-kilometer line is finalised.
KRC Managing Director Mr. Philip Mainga expressed satisfaction with the progress of the project when he inspected the ongoing works on the Standard Gauge and Meter Gauge Railway link line in Naivasha.
The KRC management team went on a fact finding train ride from Nakuru to Mau Summit Railway Station to assess the progress of the Sh3.7 billion project.
Upon completion, the refurbished railway line will ease the transportation of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi, Kisumu and Butere. In addition, passengers traveling to these regions will have an opportunity to use the relatively cheaper trains.
“We intend to give people from Kisumu a Christmas present,” Mr. Mainga said as he disclosed their commitment to roll out railway passenger services to Nyanza and Western regions before the year ends.
“We are now 80 per cent complete in upgrading the old railway, all the earthworks have been done, beams raised and what is remaining is to put the line which will be over in the next 10 days,” he added.
KRC has established a new Railway Station at Longonot that will be connected to Mai Mahiu Madaraka Express Station and Naivasha Inland Container Depot by a 24-kilometer long Meter Gauge Railway line.
The Longonot Railway Station will play an integral role in the transportation of passengers and cargo towards Malaba and Kisumu County.
Traveling between Kisumu and Mombasa will offer commuters an opportunity to enjoy both the old Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) and Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). MGR covers the distance between Kisumu and Nakuru whereas the fast-moving SGR carriage is between Nairobi and Mombasa.
“One of the exciting parts is that we are going to have an interconnection between Standard Gauge Railway and Metre Gauge Railway at Naivasha. This will allow seamless movement of cargo from Mombasa to the East African region without having to transport it on road within the next two months,” said Mainga.
KRC has also rehabilitated new coaches in preparation for the commissioning to give passengers comfortable rides.
A new Kisumu passenger railway station has been constructed next to Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi) with a provision for parking and will integrate the travelers with roads and other modes of transport.
According to KRC, the hub has approximately 50,000 square feet of commercial space and is expected to provide passengers with an enhanced experience as well as create business opportunities for small and medium enterprises and create over 2,000 jobs for the locals.
Additionally, over 18 substations have been renovated along Nairobi – Kisumu and Butere railway line as some of them had been either vandalized or derelict due to the 13 years of neglect.
By Robert Ojwang’ and Joseph Othoth