A missing link will delay Syokimau residents’ enjoyment of a train service meant to be in operation by December.
Transport permanent secretary Cyrus Njiru said the elevation of Mombasa Road to accommodate a rail link to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was still at the discussion stage.
The elevation is being considered after the idea of a crossover underground bridge was abandoned due to its high cost — it was estimated to cost Sh3.2 billion.
The construction is estimated to cost half the amount, while the model station will cost Sh400 million.
“We have discussed with the Ministry of Roads and decided that the bridge on the Mombasa Road-JKIA diversion be extended so that the rail line passes on the existing road and vehicles pass over it,” said Dr Njiru. The Syokimau station will be linked to the airport by a 6.2 kilometre rail line. The station will also be linked to the main rail line at the Embakasi station. When completed, there will be dedicated commuter rail services from JKIA to the city centre, nullifying the need to drive all the way to board a flight.
To accommodate the developments, Kenya Railways said the Nairobi Railways station will be rehabilitated, meaning the terminus for matatus plying the Western suburbs of the city will be relocated.
Kenya Railways said the new commuter train will travel at 100 kilometres per hour. The station is among the 10 that the railway company will construct within Nairobi. “We are providing the infrastructure and plan to invite the private sector to provide the new train sets and operational expertise,” said Kenya Railways managing director Nduva Muli.
He said the firm was working with donor funded consultancy group InfraCo to develop the Nairobi Commuter Rail Project. The project involves rehabilitation of 160 km of the existing rail system.
InfraCo helps poor countries to develop transport and energy projects. Among its briefs is to shoulder much of the upfront costs and risks.