Que; The new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line will be launched on May 31, 2017 June. What should Kenyans expect?
Ans; On May 31, 2017, Kenya Railways will launch the SGR passenger services between Mombasa and Nairobi with commercial services commencing the day after. We are still in the process of deciding on a suitable tariff and timetable for the passenger services. Once this is available, they will be widely publicised for the information of members of the public. Freight transport services will start at a later date.

The operations will feature freight and passenger train services with the passenger operating two types of trains. The Intercity passenger train will offer an express service between Mombasa and Nairobi stopping only at Mtito Andei to allow passage of the passenger train going in the same or opposite direction.

This train will take four and a half hours travelling at a speed of 120 km/h.  The second type of train is the County train which will make a stop at each of the seven intermediate railway stations at Mariakani, Miaseny, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River on its way to either destination to allow residents of the said areas access train transport services. This train will travel at 80 km/h and will take five hours and twenty five minutes between Mombasa and Nairobi.

Passenger services will be modelled along the best practice in the industry. We will offer an efficient service with timely arrivals and departures and a clean and hygienic environment. The iconic stations are designed to offer a luxurious travel experience for passengers who will also enjoy a smooth ride in the comfortable coaches and attended to by a friendly train crew.

Que; How is the SGR going to transform freight transportation from Mombasa to the hinterland?
Ans; The SGR line will provide an additional and more efficient mode of transport for freight in the Northern Corridor. With freight trains travelling at 80 km/h, it will significantly reduce transit times between destinations along the route and thus enable faster delivery of freight to customers. These freight trains have a significantly high haulage capacity and can haul upto 4,000 tonnes per trip.

The line will also play a vital role in the decongestion of the Port of Mombasa and thus enable it to increase cargo throughput. Along the same thought line, the SGR line will play a vital role in decongesting roads within Mombasa County and in the Northern Corridor. This is especially the roads used by heavy trucks to access freight at the port and in Container Freight Stations (CFSs).  

This way, the SGR line will aid in lowering the logistical costs associated with freight storage and delivery. This will mean low freight transportation costs which is a good development for business community.

Que; SGR is currently the largest infrastructure project in Kenya. What do you feel about successfully overseeing its implementation?
Ans; Kenya Railways is grateful to the government for having been entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the development of the SGR project. This is the largest infrastructure project in post independence Kenya. In the process, Kenya Railways has been able to build internal capacity as regards expertise and management.

We are confident that we have what it takes to undertake future railway construction assignments. The Mombasa - Nairobi SGR line is but a small section of the planned SGR network for Kenya which will cover 3,500 kilometres. The proposed SGR routes lined under the Railways Master Plan are Nairobi – Malaba; Lamu - Isiolo - Nakodok (for South Sudan); Nairobi - Isiolo - Moyale (for Ethiopia); Lamu - Mombasa (and Mariakani); and JKIA - Nairobi CBD commuter rail connection.

Que; Expectations were that the SGR would be linked to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). This has not happened, why?
Ans; Kenya Railways would like to confirm that plans are at an advanced stage to link the Jomo Kenyatta International (JKIA) Airport and Nairobi CBD to the  Mombasa - Nairobi SGR line at the Nairobi Terminus. Already the Feasibility Study and Preliminary Designs for the 21.7 kilometres SGR line have been completed and negotiations are in progress to develop a suitable commercial contract to be used for financing identification.

Que; What is Kenya Railways doing to guarantee efficiency and smooth operations at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) when SGR starts operations?
Ans; As part of the Mombasa - Nairobi SGR, the ICD in Nairobi has been modernised and expanded to increase its capacity in anticipation of increased containers throughput. The work is in progress and is expected to be completed by August 2017 by which time the ICD will have Five (5) additional SGR lines serviced by six (6) gantry cranes for off-loading and loading containers; a Staking yard for at least 5,000 TEUs; Throughput of 405,000 TEUs per annum; a Parking yard for lorries; Additional gates and roads connection to the Mombasa Road; and Equipment for customs inspection of containers.

Que; There are still concerns over SGR passing through the Nairobi National Park. How can you assure stakeholders?
Ans; It is not correct to state that the SGR line will “pass through the park”. The line will “pass over the park” on a bridge (viaduct) designed and constructed such that it spans the entire length of the park at a height averaging 18 metres above the ground permitting free flow of wildlife. Stakeholders have been engaged and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) certificate obtained.

Que; One of the other key projects for Kenya Railways is the Nairobi Commute Train Service. What is the progress on this project?
Ans; It is the government’s intention to develop commuter rail services along the existing Metre Gauge Railway (MGR) line corridor within and around Nairobi County. In this regard, the government is working with the World Bank to build new passenger stations along the corridor, access roads to those stations and produce a master plan to form the basis for phased out development of the services. In the meantime, Kenya Railways is operating services in all the four routes earmarked for developing the modern services: Nairobi - Kikuyu, Nairobi - Embakasi Village, Nairobi - Syokimau and Nairobi - Ruiru.

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