The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) or now known as Madaraka Express was launched on Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The trains will run daily passenger trips between Nairobi and Mombasa.
The passenger train services between Nairobi and Mombasa will cost Ksh 700 for economy class and Ksh3,000 for first class. The passenger service named, Madaraka Express, will operate two types of train services: the intercity Train and the County train.
Two of the trains, one from Mombasa and the other from Nairobi, will run a daily express service between the two cities.
The third train will be an inter-county operation that will stop subject to passenger availability at the stations along the line. The intercity train is an express train between Nairobi and Mombasa and the County train will make stops at the intermediate stations at Mariakani, Voi, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtoto Andei and Athi River.
The tickets will be electronic, enabling the personnel running the inter-county train to schedule the stops, according to information from the planners. The Nairobi-Mombasa train has a capacity of 1,200 people with one round trip planned in the initial stage. More trips will be added subject to demand of the service.
“The three trains will run daily for the first three years but if there is a need to add others, we will do so according to capacity. As the urban centres along the SGR grow, then the hinterlands around them will get a ripple effect,” Transport Principal Secretary Paul Mwangi said.
The charges for containerized cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi are set at Ksh50,000 per TEU. Other freight will be charged at 0.07 per ton kilometer translating to Ksh32,800. This will result in a 40 percent decline in the cost of cargo transport in comparison to the Ksh80,000 to Ksh90,000 cost of transporting goods by road between Mombasa and Nairobi.
In addition, the time taken to transport goods will reduce from the current 16 to 24 hours to a maximum of 8 hours.
The train will initially offer two classes of passengers — economy and business class — but will launch its premier class by December this year.