Rose Njeri Mbogo from Gachie village in Kiambaa Constituency, Kiambu County, yesterday made history as she was unveiled as passenger number 2,000,000 of the Madaraka Express.
The nurse at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Msambweni, Mombasa County, booked her ride last week, achieving the fete in the process.
Ms Mbogo was booked in a first class coach and given a certificate and a Madaraka Express T-Shirt with '2,000,000' written on the back.
Hers was VIP treatment during the colourful ceremony at the standard gauge railway (SGR) Nairobi terminus on Saturday.
She received a bouquet of flowers, with her husband Ishmael Makumi watching as the train's engine was revved for the express journey to Mombasa.
“I was notified on Thursday by phone. I thought I was being conned but I confirmed with the booking office that indeed I was the two millionth passenger," she said.
“The SGR has been my mode of transport since it was launched in 2017. I have made many trips. I use it at least once every month. It has been fun."
Madaraka Express was launched in May last year upon completion of the Nairobi-Mombasa line.
The target was the transportation of at least 1.7 million passengers by June next year, so the service is months early with this achievement.
Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) chairman Michael Waweru noted that the SGR has proven to be the preferred option for travel between Nairobi and Mombasa.
He added that the Madaraka Express service is quikcly gaining popularity.
“The appeal of the service, combined with innovations and the hard work of our team, has created a world class experience and given us assurance that the future is bright,” he said on Saturday.
Mr Waweru said that by October 31, two million passengers had been ferried, about eight months ahead of schedule.
He reported that so far, 1,762 passenger trains having been operated, with a total mileage of 846,000 kilometres.
With an average occupancy rate of 99.1 percent (including inter-county seats reuse), the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR has not only effectively solved the imbalance between supply and demand, but has also increased KRC's revenue.
Also present at the ceremony were the corporation’s acting Managing Director Philip Mainga, Charge d’Affairs at the Chinese Embassy Li Xuhang and Africa Star Railway Operations Company General Manager Li Jiuping.
“The Mombasa-Nairobi SGR has significantly shortened the travel distance between the two cities, and the time to less than five hours, changing residents' lives and work styles and bringing them more possibilities for development," said Mr Xuhang.
Madaraka Express is operated by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and the KRC.