Kenya Railways relaunches Nairobi-Kisumu night train
Passenger train services on the Nairobi-Kisumu line will resume on Friday after more than a decade, offering competition to public service vehicles that have dominated the western Kenya routes.
Kenya Railway Corporation in a notice on Tuesday said that commuters travelling from Nairobi to Kisumu will pay Sh600 fare on second class coaches and Sh2,000 on first class for the 12-hour journey.
For economy class, passengers travelling between Nairobi and Nakuru will pay Sh300, Nakuru to Kisumu Sh400 and Nairobi to Kisumu Sh600.
The first night train will depart Nairobi for Kisumu on Friday, June 10 at 6.30pm and it is scheduled to arrive in Kisumu at 6.30am.
The night train from Kisumu to Nairobi is also scheduled to depart the lakeside city at 6.30am on Friday, June 10 and arrive at the Nairobi Central station at 6.30am.
The night trains to and from Kisumu are scheduled to run every Friday and Sunday.
It will seek to eat into the market share of bus firms such as Guardian Bus Service and Easy Coach that charges Sh1,200 and Sh1,600 respectively for a journey that takes an average of seven hours.
The resumption of the Nairobi-Kisumu train service will provide for seamless train service from Mombasa through connection to the standard gauge railway (SGR) in the capital.
At 12 hours, the Nairobi-Kisumu train, which will run on the refurbished metre gauge line, will take nearly three times what it would take on SGR from Mombasa to the capital.
A restaurant car between the first class coaches and economy coaches serves light and heavy meals as well as drinks. Services available to first-class passengers include access to Wi-Fi, charging ports, refreshments and spacious closets for luggage storage.
The seamless service comes more than a decade after the company stopped operating passenger trains to western Kenya due to the dilapidated state of the rail.
The Kenyan government dropped plans to extend the SGR to Kisumu and later on to the Ugandan border after failing to secure a multibillion-shilling loan from China, which funded the first and second phases of the project.
The old line, which had a thriving passenger service in the 1990s, will form the major supply route to deliver cargo to the neighbouring countries through the Kisumu port.