Ongoing revitalisation of the Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) infrastructure between Kitale and Leseru in Eldoret is almost complete.
Mr Leonard Wafula, Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) Engineer in charge of rehabilitation works at the railway section, said this in an interview with Kenya News Agency (KNA) in Kitale town on Monday.
According to Wafula, the Corporation was rehabilitating the old railway network to enhance its accessibility and functionality.
“In June 2021, the corporation embarked on rehabilitation of the Metre Gauge Railway infrastructure, including the Kitale-Leseru branch line, whose main objective is to increase its reliability, efficiency and safety for freight haulage and passenger movements,” said Wafula.
He said Kenya Railways had scheduled March, 2022 as the official deadline for the revitalisation works.
“In fact the corporation has projected official resumption of movement for both freight haulage and passenger locomotives along this stretch as well as others across the country by March, 2022,” Wafula told KNA.
Some of the rehabilitation works being undertaken along the MGR corridor include, clearing the bushes, construction of bridges and culverts, and laying the line where it was extensively damaged as well as ballasting.
“Other aspects that the corporation has been undertaking involve removing encroachers on the railway,” added Wafula who estimated work so far accomplished at 70 per cent.
Upon completion, the operations would reduce the number of cargo tracks along the Eldoret-Kitale road as well as reduce the cost of transporting goods and passengers between and beyond the two agricultural towns.
“A single locomotive trip is equivalent to about 60 trucks on road transport. Therefore, this will greatly decongest and ease traffic jams,” added Wafula.
Urging Trans Nzoia residents to embrace revamping of railway services, Engineer Wafula cited vandalism of the railway infrastructure as one of the challenges faced by the corporation.
The engineer generally observed that by revitalising the MGR line, the Kenya Railways intended to link the old meter-gauge line to the modern standard gauge.
“This will provide a seamless link between Mombasa and Lake Victoria in Kisumu and the link to the Uganda border,” he noted.
The National Treasury allocated Sh32 billion toward upgrading of the railway transport systems during this fiscal year in order to boost the uptake of freight and passenger services in the country.
According to estimates contained in the Treasury’s 2021-22 budget, the bulk of the money, Sh27.2 billion was allocated to the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), with the balance going towards the rehabilitation of the country’s aging metre-gauge railway network.
By Maurice Aluda