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KRC starts reviving 127km rail line two decades after ceasing operation

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Workers engage in rehabilitation of the railway lines in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County, on February 09, 2021. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

The government has begun the process of rehabilitating the 127-kilometre Voi-Taita-Taveta railway line which ceased operating two decades ago.

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has already issued a notice to tens of encroachers on railway land reserve along the Voi-Taita-Taveta meter-gauge railway corridor to vacate before the end of this month to facilitate rehabilitation of the rail.

“We wish to bring to the attention of all members of the public that the corporation intends to rehabilitate the 127-kilometre of Voi-Taita Taveta MGR line. Fourteen days’ notice is hereby issued to all unauthorized persons who have encroached or are living on and/or operating along MGR line corridor to voluntarily vacate immediately or face forceful eviction upon expiry of this notice in to give way for the planned revitalization exercise,” read part of the notice by KRC.

The corporation said upon expiry of the notice period, any illegal structures/property found along the corridor will be demolished and/or removed at the encroachers' risk and cost.

Several people are expected to count losses as some sections of the railway land along the corridor have been turned into stalls.

The line is now dilapidated and some of its sections have been vandalised, with rail bars missing especially inside Tsavo West National Park.

The railway line which was built in 1924 by the British government during World War I ceased to operate in 2000 and it was the most preferred mode of transport to ferry their goods from Taveta and neighbouring Tanzania.

According to the KRC master plan, the line once rehabilitated, will be linked to the standard gauge railway (SGR) and it will play a key role in ferrying cargo from Mombasa port to Holili on the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The project would be a major boost to international trade between Kenya and northern Tanzania considering it will be connected to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Inland Container depot which is set to be constructed at Taveta.

KPA has secured a 50-acre plot in Taveta, on the Taveta-Holili border, to establish an inland freight hub but construction has not started. Once completed, it will ease cargo evacuation and delivery to Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

In an earlier interview, Planning principal secretary Saitoti Torome said plans to refurbish the old line were complete and that the revival of the corridor will boost the ferrying of cargo by providing cheap transport from the Port of Mombasa.