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Nairobi residents set for hourly train rides

Nairobi residents are set to enjoy hourly train rides around the capital after Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) added six Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) to the available fleet.

KRC announced the Nairobi Commuter Rail service (NCRS) will now have a total of 11 second-hand DMUs following the previous acquisition of five in 2020.

KRC chairman Omudho Awitta confirmed the frequency of trips on the commuter rail service would increase significantly, with the government backing the plan to have the NCRS handle 60 million passengers annually in Phase 1.

Speaking to Business Daily, Awitta said that the six batches of DMU’s have arrived in the country from Spain. We will now have trains running every hour across the Nairobi metropolitan area.”

The new trains will complement operations on routes including Nairobi-Embakasi, Nairobi-Ruiru, Nairobi-Kikuyu, and Nairobi-Syokimau.

Awitta added that once the trains arrive in Nairobi, the fleet will be used to complement operations on Nairobi-Embakasi, Nairobi-Ruiru, Nairobi-Kikuyu, and Nairobi-Syokimau routes as well as the busy Nairobi-Athi River routes.

DMUs are double train cars but can be marshalled to have triple units or better still, marshal double/triple train units as dictated by the demand based on passenger numbers.

A Double Train Car Unit can ferry 300 passengers (seated and standing).

A triple unit would transport 450 passengers while marshalling two DMU units would double the numbers.

The five DMUs mainly operate from Syokimau and Embakasi Village stations from as early as 6:30am to as late as 8:30pm, making an average of eleven trips in each direction.

The earliest in the schedule is the Embakasi Village-Nairobi station, which leaves at 6:20am to arrive at 6:53am.

It is followed by other trains from the same station at close to hourly intervals with the last one leaving at 7:15pm.

Another early train is the 6:45am Syokimau-Nairobi train making stops at Imara Daima and Makadara to arrive at 7:20am.

The Syokimau to Nairobi commuter train operates from 6:20 am as well to arrive at the city centre at 6:53am.

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.