Passengers will no longer have to wait for long hours as close to 20 new locomotives shipped into the country by the Rift Valley Railways will be used to ferry passengers instead of cargo.The firm says converting the locomotives for passenger services will address delays and inconsistencies on the Mombasa commuter train.
Previously, RVR took a 1.82 billion loan from CfC Stanbic and Standard Bank to finance the purchase of 20 locomotives from the General Electric. The loan was to fund 80 per cent of the 2.2 billion total cost of the locomotives.This comes at a time when RVR is in talks with the agency to devise ways of improving both passenger and cargo services with the outcome of the deliberations expected out in the next six weeks.
The corporation’s managing director Atenus Maina says the only way to make the commuter train effective is by using some of the new locomotives on the Mombasa route that is plagued by delays and breakdowns.The passenger train to Mombasa is supposed to operate three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday)
Mr Maina further pointed out that they are facing challenges with the passenger trains to Mombasa which can only be addressed by purchasing new locomotives and RVR making their operations effective. Speaking to one of the dailies, the MD pointed out that they are reviewing the matter with the RVR to improve the services of their customers. RVR said that there is need to increase investment on the passenger train to make it more effective.
“We admit that there is need for further investments to be made on the service to give our customers their ultimate safari experience,” Sammy Gachuhi, General-Manager Concession and External Communication.Mr Gachuhi said that RVR believes they can improve their services once the talks with the corporation are completed.
The delays and inconsistencies are a major set back on the company’s revenue with the number of passengers declining. The Mombasa train is popular among white tourists heading to the coastal city.The efficiency of commuter trains operating within Nairobi has improved after the management replaced the low capacity locomotives with the bigger ones. RVR group chief executive Carlos Andrae said in a statement that the rail firm increased its cargo haulage to 1.883 million tonnes against the set target of 1.737 million in the year to March.