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Railway rehabilitation to delay on vandalism

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National Youth Service at Nakuru Railways during rehabilitation of Nakuru-Kisumu rail line. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) managing director Philip Mainga said works on the Nakuru-Kisumu, Gilgil- Nyahururu and Longonot –Malaba lines will delay by a few months.
  • Refurbishment of the 216-kilometre Nakuru-Kisumu and the 78-kilometre Gilgil-Nyahururu lines started last August and were set to be completed in March 2021.

The rehabilitation of three key metre-gauge railway lines in the country will fall behind schedule, the operator has said citing vandalism.

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) managing director Philip Mainga said works on the Nakuru-Kisumu, Gilgil- Nyahururu and Longonot –Malaba lines will delay by a few months as vandals carted away parts such a sleepers, nuts, and clips in the sections under repair.

Refurbishment of the 216-kilometre Nakuru-Kisumu and the 78-kilometre Gilgil-Nyahururu lines started last August and were set to be completed in March 2021.

Works on the 465 kilometre Longonot–Malaba line started last October. It was expected to be completed in September 30, 2021.

“It’s unfortunate that vandals have been coming behind our back to steal railway parts,” said Mr Mainga.

Apart from the three lines, Mr Mainga said vandalism also hit sections of the Nairobi-Mombasa and Nairobi-Nanyuki lines.

He said that several people have been arrested in connection to vandalism of the multibillion-shilling projects.

A number of them, he said were charged with sabotage, destruction of infrastructure and engaging in organised criminal activities.

“We call upon the public to stop engaging in illegal activities along our railway line,”

The Nakuru-Kisumu line will connect to the recently refurbished Sh3 billion Kisumu port, which will enable ferrying of cargo and passengers to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo on ships via Lake Victoria.

Kenya dropped its plan to extend the standard gauge railway (SGR) to Kisumu and later on to the Ugandan border after failing to secure a multibillion-shilling loan from China, which funded the first and second phases of the project.

On the other hand, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) — which constructed the $4.7 billion SGR line from the port of Mombasa to Naivasha— has been building the new short track and rehabilitating a decades-old line from Malaba on the border with Uganda to Longonot in Naivasha at Sh8 billion.

Rehabilitation on the 78-km metre gauge railway line from Gilgil-Nyahururu that stated last August is currently being undertaken by KRC in collaboration with the Nyandarua County government and the local administration.