February, 2017 has marked another watershed moment in the history of the railway transport sector in Kenya. The successful implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway project has witnessed the union of the Standard Gauge Railway line with the trains that are set to run on it for years to come.
The Corporation received 60 wagons on February 13 and 14, 2017. This is the first batch of the one thousand six hundred and twenty wagons which will be used for movement of cargo between Mombasa and Nairobi. The fleet of wagons procured includes the Gondola Wagon, the Container Flat wagon, the covered wagon and the general flat wagon. The wagons can load 70 tons and are designed for loading and transporting commodities such as rolled steel products, coal, ore, building materials, mechanical facilities and timber.
In his communiqué to Media Houses, Kenya Railways Managing Director Mr. A. K. Maina said that the project is now in its final phase of construction and will soon be ready for operations. He stated that the delivery of the locomotives and rolling stock is an important component for the SGR project implementation and that the Corporation is right on track in all factors that pertain to the project implementation, even as subsequent operations are set to commence in earnest.
He clarified that during operation stage; there will be freight and passenger train services with the passenger operating two types of trains. The Intercity passenger train will offer an express service between the two main destinations of Mombasa and Nairobi stopping only at Mtito Andei to allow passage of the passenger train going in the same or opposite direction. The second type of train is the County train which will make a stop at each of the seven intermediate stations at Mariakani, Miaseny, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River on its way to either destination to allow residents of the said areas access train transport services. Mr. Maina further clarified that passenger trains will be given priority on the line whereby Freight trains will be stopped at the crossing stations to enable passenger trains to pass which is a common practice all over the World.
Construction of the line and stations is practically complete with testing of the line, locomotives and other rolling stock set to kick off this month. This will culminate in the commissioning of the project on June 1, 2017 during which the inaugural train will make its maiden trip. A fleet of modern train sets currently being imported in to the country is expected to run on the line at high speeds cutting journey times and enhancing transportation.