One month from now, the brand new SGR train service will begin operations. President Uhuru will take a symbolic ride on May 31st to officially open the multi-billion dollar project and mark the day Kenya attained self-rule.

It’s unclear whether the service will be available for Kenyans immediately, but that’s everyone’s hope.

Kenya Railways will be launching an inter-station service and a non-stop/express train. It is this express train that is expected to lower travel time between Nairobi and Mombasa to under 5 hours. With a smooth speed of 120km/h, this train will only make a single stop at Mtitu Andei.

Currently, buses take about 9 hours for the same journey. It’s even worse for the old trains which take 12 hours.

There are 40 passenger coaches, each with a capacity of 118 travellers, for the economy class, 72 people in the business class, and 44 in the first-class section. Only time will tell if these will be enough.

The government is hoping to ‘steal’ passengers from buses and budget airlines, and even attract new ones who don’t travel between the two cities often.

To accomplish this, the fare pricing must be competitive, and boy are the buses in for a fight.

Economy travellers will pay between Sh500 and Sh800 for a one-way trip – half what the buses charge.

“The cost will be half of what the buses are currently charging,” Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Sunday Nation. “Various teams are working on the details,” he added.

These low charges will however last for only 6 months as the operator collects crucial data for future operations. They will later be adjusted to match market prices.

Initially, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) had proposed to charge Sh4,500, but the government rejected this as not feasible.

All in all, the vast majority of revenue on the new line is expected to come from freight.

  • Ian Odongoh

    Mmh, I think we should save our comments for six months from now. If the creators recommended 4500 as the pricing that makes the project break even; clearly KES 500,shall cripple it.

    • #KOT

      Passenger trains is not where SGR aims to recoup its money back but from cargo which will be 95% of the freight

      • Kuuri Eliud

        U got brains

        • erfgtr

          It is not a matter of having brains but rather knowing what is needed to know….or else if you remain oblivious to what the government does and doesn’t do your future will be compromised Kuuri

        • #KOT

          Thanks @Kuuri and thanks @erfgtr too I am NOT that smart than any Kenyan out here but I happen to have read about it somewhere. Good to let everyone know

      • Ian Odongoh

        That makes no sense at all, so are the fancy passenger stations (almost ten of them) also going to be paid for by freight, and even the passenger coaches?

        • #KOT

          The stations are not labelled passenger. The other reason the stations were built is for future purposes when we get enough electricity by 2040 we might switch to fast trains

      • morris oluanda

        On recouping the bulk of their investement on freight will also be another wait and see,it all depends on whether the charges will be attractive enough for customers to favour it over road haulage,another thing is how fast the containers will be loaded on the wagons upon discharge from the ships,bearing in mind that truckers can get the containers out in a few hours upon discharge from vessels

        • #KOT

          are you even serious. How many days does a truck take to reach Nairobi? How much fuel? Breakdowns, how many people get involved? The CMVs, every company has CMVs escorting their trucks.Police bribes, weigh bridge fees..You can never compare these 2

        • #KOT

          I now even understand you dont know the SGR is a vision 2030. How were we to increase TUE capacity at Mombasa port if we dont have the means to get the same volume into the hinterland. The SGR is not meant for Kenyan mkt alone, we have 173Million people who in the next 20 years will be 300Million Kenyan, Rwandan, Congolese, Sudanese, and Ethiopians who will be using the Mombasa port and require their goods within their premises the same week. Only a busy port coupled with an efficient transport can do that……
          DONT FORGET Nairobi was as a result of 1800 railway and Kenya was as a result of the same railway taking colonialists to the source of river Nile as Britain needed a grip on both Egypt and Sudan by controlling their waters in the Nile…look now we are here developed because of that 1800 railway

    • morris oluanda

      True,and keep it in mind that its the chinese who are known for “keeping it cheap” who felt 4500 is right,market forces may even dictate it to 6000,lets wait for 6 months.

  • tomyebei

    I wonder 500/- make any economic sense, to pay and maintain the coaches…

    • #KOT

      At first the passenger dept will not make profit but on a daily basis passengers to Mbsa can average 5,000 – 30,000 considering those who drive themselves there or use budget airlines.
      Now one train will pull an average of 40wagons each with an average 100 people including 1st class, business and economy. Thats 4,000 one way..a Total 2Million in fare.. Add mail/parcel and light cargo on that same train by the train’s parcel section may be 400K in Cargo .1 way the train will make 2.4M and a return trip will earn 2.4M.Thats a Total approx 5M return trip. Thats enough to pay for their maintenance and that’s for the passenger trains alone..

    • Aaron

      Read the article and understand before commenting

  • Mbala Mwezi

    I will wait and see

  • Boniface Wahome

    Let’s see how it goes