Six diesel locomotives for the Standard Gauge Railway, DF8B four (4) and DF7G two (2) are expected in the country by January 31, 2017. The locomotives, which were dispatched from China in a flag off ceremony held last Friday, are among the 56 expected for the operations of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Of the 56 locomotives, 43 will be used for movement of cargo, five will be for passenger while another eight will be used for shunting operations. The locomotives are being manufactured by CRRC Qishuyan, one of the major diesel locomotive manufacturers in China.
Delivery of the SGR locomotives is yet another milestone in the implementation of the SGR project in Kenya, whose operations are expected to commence in June, 2017.
According to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Mr James Macharia, CRRC Qishuyan has met the stipulated standards in executing their mandate as per contract, and it is imperative that the manufacturer receives all the support required to ensure the delivery timelines for the remaining locomotives, coaches, wagons and railcars, are adhered to.
“CRRC has exemplified that speed and quality do not need to work in isolation. Together with all players, they have ensured that speedy manufacture of the locomotives is as per the quality prescribed. We are confident that the operator will ensure that both the infrastructure and the equipment are maintained to the best global standards,” he added.
The Principal Secretary, Transport Mr Irungu Nyakera echoed the CS’ sentiments, stating, “We trust that they will work with manufacturers of these equipment to achieve the desired quality and efficiency levels. I invite manufacturers such as CRRC Qishuyan to set base in Kenya and manufacture for Africa and the rest of the World.”
The Kenya Railways Managing Director Mr Attanas Maina reiterated the benefits that will accrue from operationalisation of the SGR. “Kenyans are looking forward to the completion of this project, given the benefits we expect to reap from it,” he said.
“We expect decongestion of the Port of Mombasa, efficiency in rail operations, reduction in transport costs, incidents and accidents occasioned by heavy trucks and trailers on the Kenyan roads; reduced transit times for our goods, better connectivity to regions and ultimately, a desired improvement in the overall transport sector in Kenya.”
He said the State expects that China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), will put in all the necessary measures to preserve and protect the environment, and also give back to the community through Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The Managing Director also noted that with the expertise that has gone into the manufacture of the locomotives, it was expected that their performance would be exceptional, even after the project is handed over.
“We believe that CCCC/CRBC have in consultation with CRCC Qishuyan and in line with the contract, put in place sufficient spares and a robust maintenance programme to minimize on locomotive failures and achieve best performance in line with global practices,” he said.
He added that CRBC and Kenya Railways have been on an active technology transfer programme, which is necessary to ensure that the operations of the SGR can be well handled by locals. Construction of the first phase of the SGR is 98 per cent complete, with works for phase 2A expected to commence in the First Quarter of 2017, upon route finalization.
Following the delivery of all coaches, wagons and locomotives to Kenya, the contractor, who will also serve as SGR operator for the first five years, will start testing of equipment, in preparation for its handover and launch of operations.