President Kenyatta launches city commuter train


President Kenyatta launches city commuter train
President Kenyatta flags off the Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) shortly after unveiling the refurbished Nairobi Central Railway Station. PHOTO| COURTESY

At least 120,000 city commuters will use the diesel multiple units deployed by the Kenya Railways Corporation as part of a plan to decongest Nairobi roads.

The Diesel Mobile Units (DMUs) will ply 10 routes across Nairobi operating throughout the day. This as part of plans to revamp the train services in the country.

Roads leading to the railways central station have been repaved with the front office receiving more than a fresh coat of paint.

The ticketing area has also been improved where passengers will purchase their tickets and proceed to the platform to board the new diesel multiple units acquired by Kenya Railways from Spain. The long awaited BRT buses were also unveiled on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta and will compliment the train network by offering the last mile connection.

The new DMUs, a complete difference with the old engines in operation, are expected to increase the number of passengers ferried from the current 30,000 to 120,000 passengers daily.

The new DMUs will serve 10 routes among them the Nairobi–Limuru line, Nairobi–Thika line, Nairobi–Lukenya line, Nairobi–JKIA line , Nairobi- Embakasi village line ,Nairobi- Ngong line.

“This is a key milestone in the modernisation of the capital’s transport system. The over reliance of road transport has adversely hurt the environment. Kenya is estimated to lose Ksh.100 billion annually to traffic congestion,” said President Kenyatta.

Transport CS James Macharia stated: “This is a milestone in our city transport. Today we are launching an intracity rail system that we have been waiting for over 100 years.”

Kenya Railways has also rehabilitated 10 stations within and around the city and according to Kenya Railways managing director Philip Mainga they will increase the frequency of the trains on an hourly basis .

“We expect in every one hour that we will be having about 40,000 people exiting, and getting through this station within one to two hours. That number would translate from 30 or 40 to around almost 150,000 people per day and ultimately we are rusting that we will be moving 3 million passengers per month throng these stations,” said Philip Mainga MD, Kenya Railways.

The Ministry of Transport signed the Ksh.1.15 billion deal agreement with Mallorcan Railway Services (SFM) to acquire 11 DMUs, five coaches and spare parts. The units are expected to serve for between 20 and 25 years.

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Story By Faizal Ahmed
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