The rehabilitation of the Metre Gauge Railway line has commenced. The new phase of the rehabilitation will see the Corporation upgrade the section between Longonot and Malaba; and Nakuru to Kisumu.
Speaking during consultative meetings with Regional Commissioners from Nakuru, Kisumu and Kakamega; and the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) the Corporation disclosed that construction works are expected to be completed in 8 months.
“We are revitalizing the Metre Gauge Railway line to enhance its accessibility and functionality, a process which will upscale the lines’ contribution to national growth,” said Kenya Railways Chairman Gen. (Rtd) Pastor Awitta.
The scope of works for the project entails clearing of the bushes along the corridor, construction of bridges and culverts, laying of the line where it is extensively damaged and ballasting. Other aspects include eviction of encroachers who have illegally settled on the railway corridor and securing of the corridor.
By revamping the section of the Metre Gauge Railway line leading to the western region, we are looking to link the Standard Gauge Railway line and the Metre Gauge Railway line in order to provide a seamless connection between the Port of Mombasa and Lake Victoria in Kisumu and also main border point with neighboring Uganda at Malaba. The end result will see the Corporation transport cargo exclusively on rail albeit with an interchange from SGR to MGR line at Longonot station.
In order to effectively ensure this interchange is successfully executed, the Corporation has commenced construction of a link line between Naivasha Inland Container Depot (NICD) and the existing Longonot railway station. It is this 24.3 kilometer link that will facilitate the transition of cargo from SGR to MGR line at the interchange point to be constructed at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot.
Kenya Railways will spearhead the construction works which will be carried out in conjunction with the Kenya Defense Forces and the National Youth Service. The three public institutions successfully delivered the Thika to Nanyuki railway line project which is set to be launched soon within the stipulated timelines.
During the consultative meetings, a taskforce for each region to collaborate various aspects of the revitalization of the line and ensure successful delivery within 8 months was formed. The task forces comprises of the regional security systems under the command of the Regional Commissioners, public institutions Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra), water service providers in the regions.
Upon completion, the operations will lead to a reduction of the numbers of tracks on the roads because the final bit of the journey from Kisumu will be transported over Lake Victoria via the MV Uhuru ship. The project will also help curtail the spread of the Corona virus. Truck drivers have been associated with the spread of the virus in the recent past.