Two months ago, the government began the rehabilitation of the old railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu. The rehabilitation of Sh3.7 billion rail project is being handled by the Kenya Defence Force in partnership with the Kenya Railways Corporation and will be completed in eight months.
The military will manage the project, while the Kenya Railways will provide the required materials. The National Youth Service on the other hand will undertake the clearing of bushes along the 216 kilometre line and do other manual jobs.
According to defence Chief Administrative Secretary, Mr. Peter Odoyo, the government embarked on the rehabilitation of the railway line to be a supporting infrastructure for the newly constructed Kisumu port. He noted that the Sh3 billion port risks remaining a white elephant project should the route remain unattended
The 216km line will connect to the recently refurbished Kisumu port, which will enable ferrying of cargo and passengers to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo on ships via the Lake.
As reported by Nation, Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga said that revamping of the metre-gauge railway, which had been neglected for over two decades, followed a presidential directive aimed at stimulating the economy along the rail route.
Port of Kisumu remains one of the key priority projects that would make the Trans-African Highway a practical route from Lagos to Mombasa, Mombasa to Kisumu, Kisumu to Port Bell, Port Bell to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), DRC to the Central African Republic, and then to Cameroon and back to Lagos.
Kenya Railways has already started the process of reclaiming lands that had been leased to private individuals. Mr Patrick Nzomo, Kenya Railways estate manager, was quoted by daily Nation saying that there was an agreement between the firm and tenants that the leased land would be reclaimed when the need arises.
Mr Kamau Njuguna, director chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture in East Africa noted that the country stands to benefit a great deal with the revival of the economy. According to him, the railway line is one of the key things that will revamp the country’s economy.