, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11- The government is expected to import at least 50 locomotives before the end of this year to be used on the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
These will be in addition to the six locomotives which arrived in the country in September last year to assist in laying of the railway line.
The new Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera says this is an indication of successful completion of the new railway line which is slated for July 2017.
“The locomotives will now be 56 and the tentative time for these other ones to arrive will be the end of this year. By mid next year we expect the railway line to be complete. In fact the construction is ahead of time,” Nyakera said.
He was speaking on Monday after touring one of the construction sites of the contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation, at Syokimau Railway Station.
Apart from the locomotives, at least 1,620 wagons and 40 coaches are also expected to be purchased for use on the line.
“As you know the whole SGR project to Nairobi is expected to cost at least Sh327billion and the budget for locomotives and the other machines is within Sh106 billion. The rest of the amount is for the actual construction. You know the total budget for these project included buying of these machines,” he said.
Freight trains will have a capacity of 216 TEUs and will travel at an average speed of 80km/h while multiple unit passenger trains will have a capacity of 960 passengers and will travel at an average speed of 120km/h on the line.
A total of 40 stations are planned to be built along the line, 33 out of which will be ready when the railway becomes operational.
Nyakera maintained that the government is keen to have the project completed on time despite the challenges which it has faced including land problems as well political issues.
“I know there have been a lot of challenges but what everyone need to know is that the ‘ship sailed’ a long time ago. I mean we are now at 60 percent completion and the rest will even be done before time elapsed. Some have even put some pictures on social media that some sections are spoiled, but these as I said are just side shows,” Nyakera said.