Kenya Railways to launch passenger train service to Kisumu

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Kenya Railways to launch passenger train service to Kisumu


Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Railways Corporation, Philip Mainga during the interview at his office on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Summary

  • Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) chief executive Philip Mainga said the move was aimed at tapping into increased demand from passengers traveling to their rural homes next month ahead of the December festivities.
  • The company has spent billions of shillings revamping its century-old rail network to boost bulk cargo transport and passenger travel.
  • The old line from Naivasha to Malaba has been operational but is in poor condition, limiting freight transport.

Passengers from Mombasa to Kisumu will start traveling day and night in a continuous rail service next month that connects the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line to the upgraded meter gauge track.

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) chief executive Philip Mainga said the move was aimed at tapping into increased demand from passengers traveling to their rural homes next month ahead of the December festivities.

Mr Mainga, however, remained tight-lipped on when exactly the train would resume operations in December, only confirming that “all arrangements have been put in place”.

Kenya Railways sets a December date for continued services after the construction of a railway line linking the SGR to the old Longonot Railway.

The company has spent billions of shillings revamping its century-old rail network to boost bulk cargo transport and passenger travel.

“Everything is ready and we must have a passenger train on the renovated Kisumu line in December. It will run day and night,” he told Business Daily in an interview.

The old line from Naivasha to Malaba has been operational but is in poor condition, limiting freight transport.

The Nakuru track, which passes through Njoro, Londiani, Kisumu and ends at Butere, was not used.

The renovation of the Kisumu railway line has been completed and work on the Malaba track is underway in the race to connect the old railway line to SGR.

The Kisumu train on meter gauge rail will end its journey at Naivasha station where passengers will transfer to SGR via a new 23.5 km link line to Longonot.

The service comes more than a decade after the company stopped operating passenger trains to western Kenya due to the dilapidated state of the rail. It is unclear how much passengers would pay for the service.

Kenya abandoned plans to extend the SGR to Kisumu and later to the Ugandan border after failing to secure a multi-billion shilling loan from China, which funded the first and second phases of the project.

The old line, which had a thriving passenger service in the 1990s, will be the main supply route for transporting cargo to neighboring countries through the port of Kisumu.

The upgrade plans came after Uganda also announced it would start renovating the old rail network to boost bulk cargo transport, after it failed to secure $2.2 billion in Chinese funding. dollars for a new SGR line.

A freight rail business is essential to make Kisumu Port a viable public investment.

Kenya opened the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR line in 2017 and another new line to Naivasha in 2019.

It plans to link the old railway line to the SGR line at Naivasha for smooth freight movements to neighboring countries.

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Jose P. Rogers