News

Kisumu passenger train services to resume November

KisumuRailways

Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga (centre) briefs journalists after inspecting rehabilitation works in Kisumu on March 23. NMG PHOTO

Summary

  • Residents of western Kenya will from November enjoy a ride on the planned passenger trains between Kisumu and Nakuru before joining the Standard Gauge railway to Nairobi and Mombasa.
  • The Kenya Defence Forces, which was contracted to rehabilitate the 216-kilometre railway at Sh3.7 billion, has handed over the line to Kenya Railways Corporation.
  • The century-old line has 18 stations, serving several towns, but they have remained unused since 2008 when Rift Valley Railways named the concessionaire.

Residents of western Kenya will from November enjoy a ride on the planned passenger trains between Kisumu and Nakuru before joining the Standard Gauge railway to Nairobi and Mombasa.

The Kenya Defence Forces, which was contracted to rehabilitate the 216-kilometre railway at Sh3.7 billion, has handed over the line to Kenya Railways Corporation.

The century-old line has 18 stations, serving several towns, but they have remained unused since 2008 when Rift Valley Railways named the concessionaire.

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) managing director Phillip Mainga is upbeat that the passenger train services on the meter-gauge line to Kisumu from Naivasha will be up and running before Christmas.

“We are looking forward to having a Christmas gift to the people of this region by moving the first passenger train between November and December,” said Mr Mainga.

He added that the corporation will renovate the 18 stations, some of which were completely vandalised and are old and dilapidated, to ensure smooth operations once services resume.

“Within a month, we will have repaired the stations. Work has already started in most of them. We are planning to fence them off to secure them since they will be commercial hubs,” said Mr Mainga.

Already, the construction of a new railway terminus has commenced next to Kisumu Cotton Mills and Mr Mainga said by May, it will be up and running.

The KRC Boss said that the resumption of rail cargo transport on the same line would start as soon as May.

“There are so many other things but we are looking forward to having this line operational by June,” he said.

Mr Mainga made the remarks at Fort Ternan Railway Station, in Kericho County on the second day of an inspection tour of the 216km railway line.

News of the resumption has elicited excitement as it is expected to transform the economic fortunes of centres and towns which the railway line traverses

“Remember we have been using Malaba as the only corridor in the North, but now with Nakuru-Kisumu coming up we are creating two avenues where cargo will be moving to the region,” said Mr Mainga.

REDUCE ACCIDENTS

He maintained that the revival of the railway line will reduce accidents on the road and also the millions of shillings used to repair roads damaged by trucks ferrying cargo from Mombasa to the Busia border.

During the inspection tour, it emerged that cases of vandalism are also derailing the project.

Mr Magu Mutindika, the Nyanza Regional Commissioner, noted that while repairs were being done on the bridges, some areas were being vandalised. “We have cautioned the vandals. If you are caught with railway line materials, I think what you deserve is a death sentence,” said Mr Mutindika.