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Nairobi commuter rail service moves a step closer to actualisation

The new park and ride passenger rail service between Embakasi and Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) has moved a step closer to full operation.

This follows purchase of 11 Diesel Mobile Units (DMU) that will be used to ferry commuters to and from the Nairobi City centre.

Making the announcement on Monday, Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) said the mobile units will soon start operations with the aim of at easing the traffic gridlock in the capital by providing alternative means of transport.

The DMUs are expected to ply city routes, namely from Nairobi Central Station to Embakasi Village, Pipeline and Donholm Railway Stations, with the upgrade of the routes completed early this month.

This will later be joined by nine new stations, which are in the process of being built, including in Umoja, Syokimau, Kitengela, Kikuyu, Thika, Kibera, Mbagathi Way, Kenyatta and Strathmore universities and Thogoto.

The new development is expected to attract a substantial proportion of the 1.5 million people who commute into Nairobi CBD every day and make commuting easier.

“Nairobi are you ready? Diesel Mobile Units at the Nairobi Central Rail Station…kiss the jam goodbye. Now you will have more time on your hands. Efficient world class service on its way..,” said a communication from the Major General Mohammed Badi-led office.

Currently, 20,000 commuters use the rail network on weekdays through lines originating from Nairobi Central station to Ruiru via Dandora, Githurai and Kahawa, to Syokimau via Makadara and Imara Daima, Embakasi village via Pipeline and Donholm and Kikuyu via Kibera and Dagoretti.

The Nairobi commuter rail project, a brainchild of Kenya Railway Service in conjunction with NMS, is part of the Master Plan of an integrated commuter system within the city and its environs also comprising the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), monorail and underground rail (Metro).

Earlier this month, a notice by the KRC stated that the new stations will operate on the “park and ride” model currently being used at the Syokimau, Imara Daima and Makadara stations.

“Park and Ride services are available for those who get to the designated stops and board the City Rail System buses to the city and back to their vehicles as they head back out of the city,” read the statement.

The new stations are currently under construction and are situated in Kikuyu, Embakasi Village, Dandora, Mwiki, Githurai, Kahawa, Ruiru, Pipeline, Athi River and Donholm.

To that effect, 40 sleeper coaches have been rehabilitated and converted into modern commuter coaches with automated ticketing system introduced in one of the routes.