Construction of modern railway track to begin
It will take you only four and a half hours to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa by train – thanks to a new standard gauge railway whose construction starts this week.
The ground breaking ceremony for the railway is set for Thursday though we could not immediately confirm whether President Kenyatta will be in attendance.
It is projected that the line will be operational by 2016.
Currently, it takes one a total of fourteen hours to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa with the trains moving at a modest speed of between 30 and 35 kilometres per hour.
But once completed, this will be reduced to a mere four and a half hour journey, with the passenger trains travelling at 120 kilometres per hour, making it the second fastest way of travelling between Nairobi and Mombasa.
Long distance trailers
Goods trains travelling from Mombasa to the Inland Container Deport in Nairobi’s Embakasi area will take only seven hours, much faster than long distance trailers which currently take as many as two and half days to move goods from the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi.
Each train will have a capacity for 960 passengers sitting in new state of the art coaches – a far cry from the old, dilapidated and crowded coaches in use today.
Modern stations will be built in Nairobi and Mombasa as well as intermediate ones at Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Emali, Sultan Hamud and Athi River in what is considered the first phase of the modernization of Kenya’s railway transport system.
Details obtained from the Kenya Railways Corporate Affairs department indicate that funding for the Mombasa – Nairobi line has already been provided for in the 2013-2014 budget.
The design of the new line provides for the construction of underpasses and fencing of game reserves to protect wild animals and ensure the safety of passengers.
Authorities expect that once construction starts, thousands of jobs will be created for the communities living along the railway.
At least 60 new jobs will be created for every kilometre of track during the construction as locals will be hired to offer casual labour, KR projects.
Local industries will also reap big once construction gets underway as they will be relied upon to provide raw materials required for the works such as steel, cement, electricity pylons and cables, roofing materials and glass, creating jobs for thousands.
The Service and hospitality industry is also expected to employ over 3000 people to provide food, accommodation during the construction of the railway.
KR says that it will train approximately 400 engineers and technicians during the construction period who will be available for local and regional railway development works in future.
Thousands of locals will also acquire vital skills in masonry, carpentry, mechanics and electrical works which will be suitable for self employment in future.
It is also expected that once completed, the new railway will drastically reduce carnage and congestion on the main Nairobi – Mombasa highway largely blamed on the long distance trucks which cause massive damage to the road.