RVR pleads for second Syokimau rail as it targets road commuters


A man boards a train at the Syokimau station. PHOTO | FILE |

Rail operator Rift Valley Railways (RVR) wants the government to build a second line from Makadara to Syokimau as it targets commuters from the usually congested Mombasa Road.

A second line would allow the company to deploy extra trains, raising its carriage capacity substantially.

RVR chief executive officer Carlos Andrade said that they were in talks with Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) over the line but did not give any date when it might be built.

“We are discussing technical issues with KRC to double the line from Makadara to here (Syokimau) which will help us to improve the service because then we can have more trains running,” Mr Andrade said.

There are double rail lines between the Nairobi Central station and the Makadara Station. The Nairobi-Syokimau line which has stopovers at Imara Daima and Makadara stations has continued to attract commuters keen on beating the traffic jam on Mombasa Road.

Approximately 45,368 commuters used the service in January, a 23 per cent rise from December figures. This translated to Sh2.8 million, a 31 per cent rise. The company has also seen an increasing number of motorists use the train with 10,747 vehicles parked at the stations in January.

RVR has purchased 20 new locomotives from General Electric allowing it to deploy more locomotives to the commuter service.

“Nine of them have arrived and are working and we expect four to arrive in Mombasa Port this week. The other seven will be here in the next 2-3 months,” Mr Andrade said.

RVR has also mapped the entire line from Mombasa to Kampala including the commuter rail and is now using a GPS system to help in improving efficiency.

“We are using GPS to control the trains. This is allowing us to increase the number of trains on the same line and reduce time wastage.”

RVR was in 2006 awarded a 25-year exclusive contract to run the Mombasa-Kampala railway line and Nairobi commuter services. It took over management of the railway line from the state-owned Kenya and Uganda Railways.