Kenya plans to spend Sh32 billion to upgrade its railway transport systems over the next fiscal year as it seeks to boost the uptake of freight and passenger services in the country.
According to estimates contained in the National Treasury’s 2021-22 budget, the bulk of the money – Sh27.2 billion – has been allocated to the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR, with the balance going towards the rehabilitation of the country’s aging metre-gauge railway network.
A total of Sh2 billion has been allocated for the construction of a link between Longonot town and the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) which connects the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR and MGR as well as the restoration of the railway line between Longonot and Malaba.
Another Sh700 million has been set aside for the rehabilitation of the Nakuru-Kisumu MGR line. The two projects will facilitate freight and passenger services from Nairobi to western Kenya. Currently, freight services terminate at the Naivasha ICD after which transporters must load their cargo on to trucks.
The Kenya Railways, which has been employing the services of the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Youth Service to revamp the old railway network, is rehabilitating locomotives that will be used to ferry passengers and cargo to western Kenya.
“Kenya Railways is refurbishing 31 locomotives to increase capacity in preparation for operations along the Longonot-Malaba Metre Gauge Railway section and the Nakuru-Kisumu MGR branch line,” the company said in a statement last week.
Among the 31 locomotives, nine are being rehabilitated while 22 others are undergoing an overhaul under a partnership between Kenya Railways and the Kenya Defence Forces.
The Kenya Railways recently spent Sh1.2 billion to rehabilitate the Nairobi-Nanyuki MGR. The line is already operation with scheduled passenger and cargo services.
A considerable chunk of the budget will be used to advance the Nairobi commuter railway, with plans underway to build new stations and link lines to the passenger railway to increase access by commuters.
The government will spend Sh450 million to build a new railway metro line between the Embakasi Station and Ruai to serve more commuters and enhance service delivery.
Another metro line will be built between the Athi River Station and the East African Portland Cement at a cost of Sh400 million. A third line between Athi River Station and NSSF Mavoko will cost Sh450 million.
Please follow and like us: