Traders who have been plying their business along Nairobi – Nanyuki Railway line have started relocating to give room for rehabilitation of the line which ceased to operate several decades ago.
So far, 30 percent of the traders have sought alternative areas to conduct their businesses after Kenya Railway Corporation issued a notice requiring them to relocate from railway reserves.
The Kenya Railway Corporation Managing Director (MD), Philip Mainga has said they are partnering with respective county governments to help relocate traders who have been operating at the railway reserves.
The railway line that cuts across five counties is being rehabilitated after the government released Sh.1 billion out of the budgeted Sh.3 billion to operationalise the mode of transport.
The 240-kilomtre railway is expected to boost the economy of the Mount Kenya region by opening up new trading centres and provide cheaper transportation of bulk goods from Nairobi to northern parts of Kenya.
In the rehabilitation exercise, Mainga noted that the National Youth Service (NYS) is the main contractor with youth from the areas the line passes through being considered for menial jobs.
He said that the relocation of traders exercise is being done by county governments of the areas which have been taken over by the business people.
“The relocation exercise has been peaceful, as the project is a government agenda to economically empower Mount Kenya region and increase levels of connectivity,” said the MD.
Mainga further said they are holding forums with area leaders and members of the public to enlighten them on the importance of revival of the train services in the large Mount Kenya region.
“We project that within few weeks to come, more than 70 percent of those using the railway reserves to conduct their business will have moved to pay way for rehabilitation works,” noted Mainga in a phone call conversation with KNA on Monday.
He decried vandalism meted to railway stations, saying more resources will be used to revive former stations and appealed to political leaders, the clergy and community leaders to assist the government actualise the project by ensuring no more encroachment of railway land.
“It is unfortunate that former Kandundu railway station near Murang’a town among others was vandalized and some railway materials were stolen,” said Mainga.
The railway line from Nairobi to Nanyuki has 13 stations, which all need to be rehabilitated.
The MD further said that the government is committed to rehabilitate other metre-gauge railway lines across the country.
He said reviving railway transport will offer alternative mode of transport, noting that railway transport is cheaper in transporting bulk goods.
Other metre-gauge lines set for rehabilitation are Voi-Taveta, Gilgil- Nyahururu, Eldoret-Kitale and Kisumu- Butere sections.
The Nakuru-Kisumu was identified to be a perfect line used in cargo transportation to western Kenya and the neighbouring Uganda state.
By Bernard Munyao