Speaking to the media, Kenya Railways Managing Director, Philip Mainga, affirmed that the railway line would commence operations in December 2021 in order to ferry both cargo and passengers during the festive season.
He noted that the project had cost a total of Ksh3.2 billion to purchase railway wagons, other types of equipment as well as repair of stations along the line.
The corporation will also operationalize Khwisero – Kitale, Gilgil – Nyahururu, Kisumu – Butere lines during the same period in order to ferry passengers and cargo to satellite towns.
“We have spent Ksh500 million to repair the Khwisero – Kitale line, another Ksh500 million on the Kisumu – Butere line and Ksh1.1 billion to rehabilitate the Gilgil – Nyahururu line on top of another Ksh4.5 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.
In a bid to rehabilitate the dilapidated railway system countrywide, Mainga noted that the corporation had hired 4,000 casual workers while over 2,000 workers, initially declared redundant, had been recalled.
The process was made easier with the incorporation of the Kenya Defence Forces and National Youth Service.
“After requesting the service of the KDF personnel, we spend only Ksh300 million to repair the MV Uhuru cargo ship and the entire Kisumu port against a figure of Ksh31 billion which private contractors had quoted to the same work,” he reiterated.
For those booking travels from Nairobi, Mainga affirmed that the passengers would use a train from Nairobi to Mai Mahiu which would connect to the Naivasha – Nakuru line which heads all the way to Kisumu.
Further, the interface between the metre gauge line and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will ease cargo transport as it would take a minimum of seven days to move cargo from Mombasa to Kampala by road. Mainga affirmed that the cargo would be moved within 24 hours by train.
“This will minimize carnages, road wear and tear besides creating a corridor to guarantee safety and ensure faster movement of goods,” he noted.
The rehabilitation of the 216 kilometre Nakuru – Kisumu line, which began in August 2020, will revolutionize the transport sector once complete as it will give passengers an alternative to road transport.