Six locomotives – two passenger and four freight – and 32 passenger coaches arrived at the Mombasa port, with Kenya Railways assuring that the standard gauge railway would be commissioned in June as scheduled.
Officials from the China Road & Bridge Corporation, Kenya Railways and Transport ministry were at the port to receive the consignment.
The arrival comes just two weeks after four locomotives and two Shatners (railway engines) arrived at the port.
The Shatners are railway engines but do not pull wagons.
They are used to test the efficiency and suitability of the railway line before the locomotives use them.
“The early delivery of these locomotives will give us more time to test the engines as well as the line as we prepare for the commissioning in June. We are well ahead of plans to deliver the project to Kenyans,” said Kenya Railways MD Atanas Maina.
Each of the soft-seat coaches can accommodate 72 passengers while the hard-seat ones have a capacity of 118 passengers.
Mr Maina said that in line with railway safety regulations, all the new train sets will be tested to ensure safety compliance, adding that testing of the locomotives would start in days.
“Once these tests have been completed, we will then go into the commercial service where passengers will actually board the trains and get to experience them. We want to ensure that everything is well in place at the start of operations,” he added.
The MD said there will be two categories of trains – the intercity, which will stop only at Mtito Andei travelling at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour and county trains which will stop at all the seven passenger stations and will move at a speed of 85 kilometres per hour.
The stations are at Mariakani, Miasenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River.
When completed, the railway is expected to carry up to one million passengers annually, with two pairs of trains running daily for four years.
The railway will also run freight trains with 54 double-stack flat wagons, carrying 216 twenty foot equivalent units (Teus) per trip with a load of 4,000 tonnes on each train.