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Gov’t Abandons Plans To Repair Nakuru-Kisumu Railway Line, Says Line ‘Too Damaged’

sgr noise disturbance
[Courtesy]

The government has abandoned plans to connect the old Nakuru-Kisumu railway line to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) terminus at Naivasha.

Instead, the government has opted to revamp the Naivasha-Malaba line at a cost of Ksh15 billion. Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the Kisumu line was badly damaged, and reviving it would be equal to building a new line.

“The reality is that the Nakuru-Kisumu line is not in good shape; it has 17 bridges, which have been vandalised, so it may require doing a new line altogether. We will have to weigh that against the fact that in future, we still have to do the SGR to Kisumu. The line is in very bad shape, so we may not possibly consider that option,” said Macharia.

The government had promised to rebuild the Kisumu line and connect it to the SGR line at Naivasha, in a bid to achieve the economic viability intended for the SGR.

The government will part with a total of Ksh21 billion will to revive both the old railway to Malaba and build a new 43km link from the Naivasha station.

Read: SGR Noise Disturbance To Cost Gov’t Ksh467 Million For Relocation Of School, Hospital

The SGR line from Mombasa, which was built in two phases, consumed close to Ksh479 billion, with a big chunk being loans from China.

Recently, it was hinted that President Uhuru Kenyatta went to China seeking Ksh 386 billion to extend the SGR to Kisumu, but the plans flopped. The government later denied the reports, saying that the project was not part of the agenda in the visit to China.

Kenya has been keen on extending the SGR to the Uganda border to fight off Tanzania, with whom are fighting to get economic attention from the landlocked country through their sea ports.

“We need to make sure that when we commission the SGR in August, we have connectivity to Uganda from the SGR so we have to rehabilitate that line to make sure it is properly functional. It is much faster to rehabilitate because the (Naivasha-Malaba) SGR would take three to four years,” said Macharia, who was meeting Ugandan delegation led by Works and Transport Minister Monica Azuba.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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