Kenya eyes foreign engineering firm for her rail network revamp
Kenya is now eyeing a South African-based engineering company to come and help the country revamp her rail network.
The paperwork has already been done to onboard Transnet Engineering Company which will help Kenya Railways in the ongoing revamp of Kenya’s railway infrastructure.
“The advanced engineering that is taking place here is a clear indication that Transnet can be a leading partner in working together with other African countries to restore their rail-stock. We look forward to working with you as we move towards fast-tracking the restoration of our railway system,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta while in South Africa.
Transnet, which Uhuru toured its factory Wednesday in Koedoespoort, Pretoria in South Africa on his day three and a final day tour in the country, manufactures railway components including freight wagons, locomotives and passenger coaches.
The partnership would see a significant boost of East African Communities’ economy and that of the Southern African Development Community by facilitating the movement of people, goods and services at affordable costs.
“We need this interconnectivity to be able to facilitate that movement and the only way we can do that is by bringing the corporations responsible for transport to partner and start developing these rails, roads, sea and air linkages in our respective countries.”
The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) is currently undertaking an ambitious plan for rehabilitation and expansion to encourage economic growth.
The corporation has been able to revive a large section of the Metre Gauge Railway in the country network within a span of one and a half years.
The recently refurbished railway line is the one which connects Chaka in Nyeri County to Nairobi.
The town lies along the Nairobi to Nanyuki branch line which is served by the Nanyuki Safari train.
It’s in the final stage of completion and will do one round trip every week departing Nairobi every Friday at 9:00 am and make the return trip every Sunday.
Ongoing refurbishment of sections of MGR line is expected to play a significant function in sustaining businesses in all the counties it serves as well as creating the requisite cargo volumes to improve the performance of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and cement its viability.
Another key milestone is the recently refurbished 177 km Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line, which is beginning to bear fruit, with the return of freight trains to the line, which last saw regular services in the 1990s.
According to KRC MD Philip Mainga, the revival of the branch brings immense benefits and spur economic growth in the counties within the region.
Central Kenya region with its fame for tea, coffee and dairy farming, the revival of this line has reduced the cost of transporting agricultural produce, stimulating the revival of industries and creating jobs, as well as reducing congestion on the busy Nanyuki – Nairobi road.
President Kenyatta’s gesture to onboard a foreign engineering firm comes at a time when KPC has posted Ksh.24 billion for two consecutive years.
This proves how the state-run body has been struggling to balance its books despite the launch of Madaraka Express that has seen the majority of Kenyans drop long-distance buses due to time convenience.