Govt to acquire 10 trains to end commuter misery

Wednesday February 24 2016

A commuter train at the Syokimau Railway Station yesterday. Refurbished trains will be commissioned in July to ease city commuters’ traffic jam nightmare.

A commuter train at the Syokimau Railway Station on May 29, 2012. Photo | SALATON NJAU | NATION 

By SAMUEL KARANJA
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The government has announced plans to acquire ten new commuter trains for use within Nairobi and its peripheries.

This is expected to shore up the number of commuters using train services from a current 12,000 passengers per day to 200,000 passengers daily.

The project which will cost Sh12 billion will also include the refurbishing of the old railway line running from Syokimau in Machakos County to Nairobi.

While making the announcement on Tuesday, Transport and Infrastructure Principal Secretary Mr Irungu Nyakera said this project will be interlinked with another Sh15 billion tram network to transport passengers to the city centre. The tram project was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday.

“In this Sh12 billion project, Sh5 billion will be used for dualling the railway line to increase frequency of trains and the other amount used for acquisition of ten trains, we expect to finish that by next year June,” said the PS.

The project would include revamping of five old stations at Ruiru, Kahawa, Dandora, Kikuyu and Athi River.

It would also see the construction of train halt points at Githurai, Mwiki, Pipeline, Embakasi and Donholm as well as refurbishing the existing coaches.

“The Standard Gauge Railway will be terminating at Syokimau and we do not want those alighting here to end up on Mombasa Road,” said Mr Nyakera.

AFFORDABLE

This upgrade, said the PS would create “an efficient and affordable backbone” to the mass rapid transit system in the city.

“The development is part of the Nairobi metropolitan transport master plan geared towards decongesting roads within Nairobi city, neighbouring metropolis and counties,” he said.

“The congestions on our main roads like Mombasa and Thika roads is very high and we are very committed to see the end of that,” added Mr Nyakera.

The PS was addressing the media at Syokimau station after a tour of the railway line which begun in Kibera.

The government, said Mr Nyakera is also securing the railway line corridor in slum areas in Nairobi including Kibera and Mukuru by relocating those who have encroached on the line.

At least 9,000 households with over 30,000 people will be relocated from the railway line corridor in the project whose cost is Sh9 billion.

So far 1,200 families have been moved in newly constructed permanent houses to create a 40 meters buffer zone along the railway line. Relocation is expected to be finished by December this year.

Occupants living in the single rooms will part with a partly Sh1, 000 per year and a similar amount for business stalls.