Kenya Railways has taken delivery of yet another batch of locomotives and rolling stock that will be deployed on the Standard Gauge Railway line. The batch which consists of 3 passenger locomotives, 8 passenger coaches, and 120 open-top wagons arrived at the Port of Mombasa aboard two ships from China.
The Corporation received the first batch of the locomotives and rolling stock in January 2017 with the second, third and fourth batches arriving in the month of February, 2017. To date Kenya Railways has received eight (8) freight haulage heavy duty locomotives for mainline use out of the total expected forty three (43), two (2) shunting locomotives out of the eight (8) on order and 330 wagons out of the total order of 1,620. The passenger locomotives and wagons have all been delivered as expected; five (5) passenger locomotives and forty (40) passenger coaches.
In his statement to media houses, Kenya Railways Managing Director Mr. A. K. Maina said that the locomotives will provide a vital service to the Nation and help address the growing congestion on the roads in the country. He added that operations on the line will stimulate economic activity especially in the areas traversed by the Standard Gauge Railway line.
“Given that Kenya’s economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the region, the Standard Gauge Railway line will add a lot of value to the transport and logistics scene by increasing mobility, reducing congestion at the Port and on roads and removing major inefficiencies in movement of both people and freight,” he said.
The locomotives and rolling stock delivered earlier have been inspected and are currently being subjected to comprehensive static and dynamic tests in order to ensure they are in good condition before acceptance. Testing commenced early this month and the passenger train successfully completed its maiden test journey to Mombasa from Nairobi on March 8, 2017.
Mr. Maina further said the operations will feature freight and passenger train services with the passenger operating two types of trains. The Intercity passenger train will offer an express service between the two main destinations of Mombasa and Nairobi stopping only at Mtito Andei to allow passage of the passenger train going in the same or opposite direction. The second type of train is the County train which will make a stop at each of the seven intermediate stations at Mariakani, Miaseny, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River on its way to either destination to allow residents of the said areas access train transport services.
Mr. Maina further clarified that passenger trains will be given priority on the line whereby Freight trains will be stopped at the crossing stations to enable passenger trains to pass which is a common practice all over the World.
The Mombasa to Nairobi section of the Standard Gauge Railway network is just the beginning of more kilometers of SGR track planned for Kenya. The track will be extended to Malaba with construction on the Nairobi to Naivasha section set to commence later this year.