Jan 24, 2017: Kenya is readying itself for the commissioning of its Chinese-funded railway connection between Nairobi and Mombasa. The 472-kilometer stretch, which is 90 per cent funded by Chinese Exim Bank, is scheduled to be made open to the public by June 2017.

One batch of modern passenger trains for the Standard Gauge Railway is expected to arrive by February, according to media reports. The first batch of five locomotives is part of the 56 locomotives that is expected before the launch of the SGR in June.

The $3.8 billion project, once completed, is expected to cut down the journey time between Nairobi and Mombasa to just over four hours. “The line will result in significant cuts in journey times between Kenya, Uganda and eventually to Kigali, in Rwanda,” Kenya Railways Managing Director, Atanas Maina said in a statement.

Maina said the ultra-modern 6,000 litres of diesel powered locomotives can run at a top speed of 158 kilometres per hour and have an overall length of 220 meters.

He said Kenya Railways will receive 40 passenger coaches which will have varying capacities with the economy class accommodating 118 passengers in each coach and 72 in the First-Class coach.

Its low-weight and optimized aerodynamic design will reduce fuel consumption substantially.

“These passenger locos will usher Kenya into in a new era: it is the backbone of our future long-distance transport system, linking up more and more, towns, cities and countries,” Maina said.

Kenya anticipates vibrant cross-border trade in goods and services upon completion of the Chinese-funded modern railway and thus increase the pace of Kenya’s industrialization process and boost its competitiveness.

Photo Credit: www.nan.ng
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