Kenyans can now expect an electric railway system in two years after Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) signed a KES 24.2 billion contract with CET (China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company Limited) to electrify the SGR. This news comes after Atanas Maina, the Kenya Railways managing director, expressed scepticism due to Kenya’s unreliable electricity supply.
The project to upgrade the SGR from a diesel line to an electric one will entail the construction of 14 substations between Nairobi and Mombasa. The SGR was designed to accommodate a single electric line which will link to KETRACO’s 400kV transmission line that runs 482 kilometres from Mombasa to Nairobi. The transmission line, which has the highest voltage capacity in East Africa, can transfer 1500MW which is 200MW less than the country’s electricity demand.
“This line was constructed to address low voltages, high transmission losses, unreliable supply, and to strengthen network security and the national grid system,” Fernades Barasa the KETRACO managing director stated.
Electric trains are usually perceived as modern. However, diesel locomotives are a more recent technology than electric locomotives. With an electric line, Kenyans will enjoy faster but perhaps more expensive trips due to high maintenance costs.