Kenya Engineer joined the Engineers Board of Kenya on a tour of the Standard Gauge Railways project on 29th and 30th September. The Standard Gauge Railway that begun in the year 2013 is evidently more than a reality today. The infrastructural project, carefully calculated runs now from the Nairobi terminus all the way to Mombasa. With work ongoing, the SGR team is headed to beat their deadline to have the first phase of SGR in use by June 2017. This, certainly, is the most ambitious project Kenya has been on since 1963, estimated to eventually cost 327 billion. It is a spectacle.
Our journey that begun from Nairobi, all the way to Mombasa, would certainly be one of the most exciting road trips that would boast of Kenya’s evolution of the railway line from ancient to modern technology. When complete, the SGR will transverse all the three major cities running side by side with the old railway. In some areas it’s like the rail is on air, the rails are highly elevated bridges cutting across the skies, creating such awe inspiring; one can only appreciate its beauty once it is done. Perhaps this railway will create new history as well, like the birth of new towns and cities.
To create space for the project, not only land but even the sea has been pushed over. The Mombasa passenger terminus as well as the freight terminus are massive, covering masses of land even in the most remote areas of this country. Even as work progresses the roads connecting the Nairobi SGR terminus and the airport are already taking shape. There are also plans for malls and shopping centers around the railway, estimated to cost Ksh 217 billion, creating railway cities and a whole new world around the railway. Visionaries believe that when the plan is over, there will be creation of job opportunities for over 30,000 people.
The history of the railway in Kenya has come a long way. What is now ancient and old has served for over 100 years, dating from 1901. It has served many years, perhaps a few more to go, serving as a memory of Kenya’s first railway that was constructed in fear and blood. The contractors fell prey to the man eaters of Tsavo in creating the Kenya railway, which earned it the title “Lunatic railway”. The old line still is and will always be historical and dear to Kenyans, especially those who used it in its heyday for travel and trade. The standard gauge railway becomes a redeemer, restoring the railway back to its glory, linking Kenya to the rest of Eastern Africa to make both trade and travel more efficient.