VENTURES AFRICA – With the completion of the 2.2 kilometre railway line connecting the newly-built Syokimau station and the old Embakasi line; Kenya is on its way to become a middle income economy by 2030.
The Sh200 million ($2.3 million) railroad which will connect Nairobi estates with the central business district is expected to be operational by the end of July.
Apart from the Syokimau Station, the Nairobi urban transport master-plan has three other new railway stations in view. The master-plan for the Nairobi commuter rail includes proposed construction of new lines to satellite towns such as Ngong, Kiserian and Kikuyu.
The new line is the first railroad to be built by Kenya after the Second World War. Kenya has not built a railroad since the British colonialists built the Kisumu-Butere line in the 1930s.
The construction of the rail-line is part of the 2030 development blueprint whose goal is to make Kenya a middle income country in 18 years. The rail-line is a larger part of the Sh24 billion ($300 million) urban transport network project.
Kenya Railway is building the Nairobi commuter train service with the technical advice of InfraCo Group.
“We will have two trains moving in different directions and with a capacity to handle 10,000 passengers a day,” Kenya Railway Chief Executive, Nduva Muli, said.
The new railway line will be served by six refurbished locomotives with a total capacity of 175 passengers each.
The Nairobi commuter train that operates on a single route twice a day serves 50,000 people.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Transport Minister, Amos Kimunya, said Kenya Railways will build a new 6.5 kilometres line connecting Embakasi to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by July next year.
“Construction of this line is a start in what should eventually be a shift from road to railway transport in Nairobi,” Kimunya said.