SGR to run once daily commuter train between Nairobi, Mombasa

Standard gauge railway station in Miritini, Mombasa. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG
Standard gauge railway station in Miritini, Mombasa. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG 

One passenger train will be transporting travellers on the standard gauge railway (SGR) line between Mombasa and Nairobi daily beginning May 31.

According to Kenya Railways Corporation managing director Atanas Maina, the train will operate a daily trip from Mombasa to Nairobi with a return trip to the coastal city.

However, he said, the frequencies might be reviewed depending on passenger demand between the two cities.

He added that the train will have the capacity to transport a maximum of 1,200 passengers from Mombasa to Nairobi with the same number magnitude on return.

Speaking to the Business Daily by phone yesterday, Mr Maina said the firm would announce the fares before flagging off of the inaugural trip at the end of this month.

He says the State corporation will publicise the SGR train schedule to the public ahead of its launch on Tuesday next week.

“We expect President Uhuru Kenyatta to officially launch the passenger train services next week so that Kenyans can begin to enjoy modern rail transport,” he said.

While Mr Kenyatta will flag off the first cargo train journey on May 30, cargo train services are scheduled for take off in January next year.

“For freight, we plan to introduce the train services in January next year since we are still doing trial operations,” he said, adding that cargo services would address traffic congestion on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway usually caused by trucks on transit.

Class travel

In the meantime, the firm says travellers will have a choice of using either economy or first class, with business class set to be introduced in December this year.

The commuter train operating between Mombasa and Nairobi will have seven stop-overs along the route at Mtito Andei, Emali, Kibwezi, Athi River, Miaseni, Mariakani and Voi.

Kenya Railways called on Kenyans to take advantage of its new modern services to travel in comfort, saying it will take a shorter time between Mombasa and Nairobi via rail compared to road.

“Apart from the project revolutionising transport in the country, there is a lot of business interest in service provision, accommodation and catering as well as manufacturing along the railway line,” Mr Maina said.