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New SGR train service attracts foreign tourists

THE NEW SGR PASSENGER TRAIN. FILE PHOTO | NMG
THE NEW SGR PASSENGER TRAIN. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The number of foreign tourists visiting coast region using standard gauge railway passenger services is expected to increase.

A British tourist, Garry Whittworth said the new passenger train service would not only benefit Kenyans but foreign visitors due to its cost and time efficiency.

“I have visited Kenya many times travelling by road and as well as by air to Mombasa but I am thrilled by this new train services. It is convenient and cheaper. It’s a major investment that Kenya made in infrastructure and I wanted to enjoy it,” said Mr Whitworth at Nairobi terminus before boarding the train to Mombasa.

Ms Yvonne Menja, a Kenyan student at the University of Oklahoma was with her visiting classmates and she too expressed her delight for the new train service.

Ms Menja said the new fast rail in the country will bring down the cost of transport to ordinary citizens.

“It a new sign of Kenya going forward. It is an efficient trip that saves time and money. Last time I have been to Kenya, I travelled by 12 seater van on the road to Mombasa for nine hours,” she said.

Need for expansion

Mr Herwig Holsteyns, a senior diplomat at the Belgium Embassy in Kenya, who was among first class passengers travelling to Mombasa on Wednesday said there is need for the new train services to be expanded within Nairobi and Mombasa to ease traffic.

Mr Holsteyns added that the project would be a major boost to the country's tourism sector.

“The train is also good for the Kenya tourism because Kenyans are now able to travel to Mombasa and stay over the weekend and return to Nairobi," Mr Holsteyns said.

According to train’s management, there has been a steady increase in the number of commuters since it was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 31, 2017.

A total of 1,416 passengers left Nairobi yesterday aboard first and second classes train services destined to Mombasa and a similar number were also traveling on the opposite direction.

An attendant told the Business Daily that 13 out of 15 coaches of Madaraka Express trains, each with a capacity of between 116 and 118 commuters, were fully booked last Sunday.

The modern rail offers travellers a spectacular sightseeing of wild animals including elephants and zebras roaming Nairobi, Tsavo East and West national parks.

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