President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), promising to complete the project to Malaba.
The President said the stop in Suswa was not a ‘railway to nowhere’, adding that despite the challenges, the government will ensure the country gets maximum economic gains from the project.
Mr Kenyatta had joined other leaders in the maiden train ride on the newly-completed Section 2B of the SGR project. He asked Kenyans to be patient as the government ensures the project reaches its intended destination.
“This is the end of Phase 2A but it is just the beginning of another phase as we have to ensure the railway gets to Kisumu and link to the port as well as continue the section to Malaba to reach the other markets as was intended.
“There will be challenges along the way but that does not mean we will not do it,” Mr Kenyatta said.
The Head of State also broke ground for the construction of the 1,000-acre dry port located between the Maai Mahiu and Suswa stations. Apart from creating jobs, the dry port will improve cargo logistics for goods proceeding beyond Nairobi. The commuter train launched on Wednesday will decongest the city, with the Suswa terminal expected to boost tourists’ transport to the Maasai Mara, said the President.
The commuter service will be available between Monday and Friday, serving residents of Ngong and Rongai, who will connect through Syokimau to town on the Metre Gauge Railway.
The passenger service to Maai Mahiu, which will charge Sh200 in economy class, will operate only on Fridays and Sundays.
Both services will not be available on Saturdays. Suswa first-class coach will charge Sh650.
Mr Kenyatta’s pledge to complete the SGR comes in the backdrop of funding challenges that will see the line stop at Suswa for now, may leave Kenya with the option of borrowing more to realise the project after it increased the borrowing ceiling to Sh9 trillion.
Mr Kenyatta, who made stops in all the four stations, was accompanied by Cabinet secretaries, governors, MPs and a delegation from China.