The Kenya Rail Corporation (KRC) has announced the completion of the renovation work on the 24-kilometer old railway line between the Naivasha Inland Container Depot and the existing Longonot train station at a total cost of Sh3.5 billion.
The company’s managing director, Philip Mainga, told a parliamentary committee that the rail link will enable a connection between the standard gauge railway (SGR) at the Naivasha Container Inland Depot and Longonot station through the meter gauge railway (MGR).
Mainga said the connection between the two lines will enable seamless transportation of cargo across the country and into the East African region by rail.
The MD informed MPs that the SGR line from Mombasa to Naivasha Depot is 1.35 meters wide while the old MGR is 1 meter wide and it was therefore necessary to connect the two gauges with an intersection.
He added that the company will immediately begin testing and testing the rail line in preparation for President Kenyatta’s commissioning in November this year.
Mainga said the link between the SGR line and the MGR line at Longonot Station will create two corridors, one of which goes from Kisumu through the lake to Portbell in Uganda and through Malaba by rail.
The director said the railroad carried 4 million tons of cargo from the port of Mombasa, adding that the railroad industry accounts for 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
MP Shakeel Shabbir welcomed the project, noting that the connection between the two lines will facilitate efficient transport of cargo and passengers to western Kenya and the other EAC countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo).
Another committee member, Joshua Kandie, said the government’s investment in rail transport will, in the long term, boost the economy through efficient transportation of cargo and passengers.
Members of the National Assembly’s Planning and Finance Committee undertook a three-day fact-finding mission of the rail system from Nairobi Station to Kisumu Station via Naivasha.
By Erastus Gichohi and Esther Mwangi