Trains set sail on Kenya’s new 472 km Mombasa-Nairobi rail line
By Ismail Akwei
Kenya’s new $3.8 billion China-funded Standard Gauge Railway has been launched with pomp and pageantry as new trains for both passengers and cargo make the first trip from the coastal city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi.
The 4000 tonnes a trip cargo train was launched Tuesday and the 1200 passenger train -named Madaraka Express – on Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta to run the 472 kilometers between the two cities.
“Today we should be together holding hands in celebrations. This is the Kenya we seek and this is the Kenya we want our children to inherit from us and their children to inherit from them. The foundations we lay today will lead us to a new chapter of industrialization,” Kenyatta said at the launching on Tuesday.
The foundations we lay today will lead us to a new chapter of industrialization.
The trains travel at a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour and will make stops at the nine newly built stations along the route during the 5-hour journey.
“We know that buses take about nine to ten hours. Travelers will cover that in half the time, so this is going to be a real advantage,” Transport Minister James Macharia told local media.
The facility, funded by Chinese consortium China Communications Construction Company, will be managed by the same company for the next ten years before it is handed over to Kenya.
By December, they will offer two services including an intercity service that has one stop, Kenya Railways announced.
40 passenger coaches have been procured with a capacity of 118 travellers for the economy class, 72 for business class, and 44 for first class in the first phase of the project.
The Mombasa-Nairobi railway is the first phase of Kenya’s plan to build a 3,500 km network that will connect the country to Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The second phase will extend the line for 120km from Nairobi to Naivasha at a cost of $1.5 billion funded by the Chinese government.
Agreements have already been signed with the China Communications Construction Company to build the other phases that end at Malaba on the Ugandan border.
Kenya: It’s the Hangman’s Noose for Vandalising Sgr – Uhuru
One of the trains at the Nairobi terminus on May 29, 2017, Photo: Jeff Angote/The Nation
By Joseph Muraya
Nairobi — Those convicted of a capital offence for vandalising the Standard Gauge Railway will be hanged, President Uhuru Kenyatta warned Wednesday as he launched the passenger train service in Mombasa.
He said people must understand the project does not belong to the Jubilee Government but all Kenyans, including future generations.
“I want to announce today that those who will be prosecuted for destroying Kenyans’ property; for destroying what belongs to our children, I pray for forgiveness from God, but I will sign their death sentence for them to be hanged,” he cautioned.
His declaration came after Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko also warned that those arrested for vandalism will be treated as organised criminal gangs and economic saboteurs.
“Be supportive and help with constructive criticism, so that we can improve and ultimately have what we want which is a world class working railway,” President Kenyatta said.
“There are those who don’t want anything good. They want the government or Uhuru to look bad so that it looks like we have been overwhelmed. But this railway does not belong to Uhuru, Ruto or the government. It has been constructed using money from 45 million Kenyans. It belongs to Kenyans. There is a provision of the law for those who destroy any critical infrastructure and that is economic sabotage which falls under a capital offence. If prosecuted, you go to the death row.”