The clock is ticking, the time is nigh.
In exactly 2 weeks, the SGR passenger train will commence services, marking the first time in a century that Kenya has built and successfully operationilized a railway. It has been a long journey with many setbacks, oppositions and questions. Finally, Kenyans will be able to enjoy safe, cheap and convenient transport between the inland and the coast.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and the entire government will take the symbolic ride on May 31st to officially launch the SGR train service. Soon after, the service will be opened to the public.
For the first 6 months, the service operator will provide a ‘promotion’ fare rate that will be about half the current bus rate. They will use this time to collect crucial data for future operations, among them the busiest times and whether to charge different fares for different times.
While passengers will reap benefits this year, those hoping to reduce their freight cost will have to wait till next year.
China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will run the train service for a few years through an Australian subsidiary. From the look of things, they’ve already made adequate preparations and can’t wait to start receiving us.
Train drivers and engineers have been trained locally and in China, and have for the past few weeks been conducting actual tests on the locomotives. In the service department, the hostesses look gorgeous and are already practicing with those smiles.
Here are some photos.
The other support staff including technicians and the kitchen department are also done with training and can’t wait to serve you.
Meanwhile, the stations are complete. Very little if any works remain. Here is Nairobi Terminus courtesy of Click.co.ke.