metre-gauge railway repair
Local youth clearing bushes along the old railway. CREDIT: KRC

Repair of Nakuru-Kisumu metre-gauge railway starts this month

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) is set to begin rehabilitating the old meter-gauge railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu this month. This comes after the completion of rehabilitation works on the 240-km Nairobi-Nanyuki meter-gauge railway line.

According to KRC Managing Director Philip Mainga, the rehabilitation of the line will take between 8 to 12 months and will cost KSh. 3.8 billion.

Mr. Mainga said that the project will be implemented by Kenya Railways engineers, National Youth Service and local youth. Initially, KRC planned to outsource external labour from China based on a bilateral cooperation agreement, but according to Mr. Mainga, the new plan will significantly reduce the cost of the project.

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The rehabilitation of the railway after two decades of neglect comes after the government of Kenya dropped its plan to extend the standard gauge railway (SGR) to Kisumu and later on to Malaba. The change of plan comes after China, which funded phase I and II of the SGR project, announced in April last year that it would not fund the $3.7 billion extension to Kisumu and Malaba at the Ugandan border.

A new metre-gauge railway will also be built from the Naivasha Inland Container Depot to Longonot Railway Station. The 24.3-km railway will link the SGR and metre-gauge line to enable freight transportation from Mombasa to Kisumu and Malaba on rail.

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The 216-km Nakuru-Kisumu railway line will connect to the recently refurbished Kisumu port to enable ferrying of passengers and freight to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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