The Kenya Railways Corporation, in partnership with the China Road and Bridge Corporation, the SGR contractor, have today dispatched an additional 35 student to China for SGR training.
The move will ensure more locals are fully involved in the operations and maintenance of the Sh. 327 billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), expected to start operations in June this year.
Speaking during the trainees send-off ceremony Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS) James Macharia said that 102 students had already undergone training at the Railways Training Institute and the 35 students will join 25 other students who were dispatched to China in March last year.
“Our main goal is to ensure that by the time we launch, the trainees should be able to support our contractors at all levels ranging from maintaining infrastructure, driving the recently acquired locomotives and rolling stock as well as traffic maintenance along the line from Mombasa to Nairobi,” said Dr. Macharia.
The course entails specialised design and construction, signalling and communication as well as operation and maintenance of the locomotives, rolling stock and the railway line.
In addition to funding and facilitating the program, CRBC also opened a railway technology transfer training facility in Voi to improve the capacity of its Kenyan employees. The CRBC Technology Transfer Competence Training Centre located at the SGR section 2 campsite in Voi, is currently being used to equip Kenyan workers already engaged in the construction of the railway with new skill-sets needed for the railway project.
The Government has already committed Kshs.2 billion towards infrastructure upgrade, and equipping Training Workshops at the Railway Training Institute with State of the Art training equipment in the next financial year. This will help to enhance the quality of training currently being undertaken.
On his part, Kenya Railways MD, Atanas Maina said, that the KR partnership with CRBC is aimed at preparing the organization, to efficiently run the SGR project.
“We have already identified the areas that the trainees will be plugged in once the operations commence. The first batch of the students who joined Beijing Jiaotong University mid last year is expected back in the country by 2019 and will be posted to various departments to ensure that the knowledge transfer process continues even among the local teams,” he explained.