Kenya Railways has announced plans to start the passenger train service to Kisumu next month, seeking to tap the increased demand due to passengers travelling to their rural homes for December festivities.
Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Philip Mainga says passengers travelling from Mombasa to Kisumu will now start travelling day and night in a seamless train service that links the standard gauge railway (SGR) line to the refurbished meter gauge track.
The company has spent billions of shillings on refurbishing its century-old rail network to boost bulk cargo transportation and passenger travel.
The train from Kisumu on the meter gauge rail will terminate its journey at the Naivasha station where passengers will be transferred to SGR via a new 23.5-km link line to Longonot. This link will also ensure cargo from SGR moves to MGR line at the interchange point, located at the ICD in Naivasha.
The service comes more than a decade after the company stopped operating passenger trains to western Kenya due to the dilapidated state of the rail. The old line will form the major supply route to deliver cargo to the neighbouring countries through the Kisumu port.
Plans to upgrade it came after Uganda also announced that it would start refurbishing the old rail network to boost bulk cargo transportation, after failing to secure $2.2 billion in Chinese funding for a new SGR line.
Last year, the Corporation injected KSh1.2 billion out of KSh3 billion used to revamp the Nairobi-Nanyuki line, with Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) pumping in the rest through the Treasury as special dividends.