The Kenya Railway will commence the Mombasa, Kisumu train service this December both for day and night time travelers.
The move targets Kenyans who will be traveling upcountry, a strategic plan for the corporation to tap more revenue amidst increased demand for train service ahead of the festive season.
Passengers will be interlinked at Naivasha from the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to the refurbished Metre Gauge Railway (MGR).
“All is set and we must have a passenger train on the refurbished line Kisumu this December. It will operate days and night,” said Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Philip Mainga.
Mainga, however, remained tight-lipped on the exact date the train would resume operations in December.
It is not clear how much passengers would pay for the service, which will bring tough competition at the doorsteps of long-distance bus companies. The majority of these companies have been noted to manipulate Kenyans during festivities by shooting bus fairs high than what most Kenyans can afford.
It will also serve as a relief to stranded Kenyans over the fully-book bus tickets to avoid exorbitant fairs during festivities.
Kenya Railways is setting a December date for the seamless services after the construction of a rail line linking the SGR to the older railway track in Longonot.
The company has spent billions of shillings on refurbishing its century-old rail network to boost bulk cargo transportation and passenger travel.
Kisumu railway line is complete with works on the Malaba track currently ongoing in the race to link the old railway track with SGR.
The train from Kisumu on the meter gauge rail will terminate its journey at the Naivasha station where passengers will be transferred to SGR via a new 23.5-km link line to Longonot.
The service comes more than a decade after the company stopped operating passenger trains to Western Kenya due to the dilapidated state of the rail.
This even as Kenya now eyes a South African-based engineering company to come and help the country entirely 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 when he toured South Africa this November.
Transnet, which Uhuru toured its factory on November 24 in Koedoespoort, Pretoria in South Africa manufactures railway components including freight wagons, locomotives, and passenger coaches.