, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau says the new Makadara Railway Station is set to be completed in a fortnight.
The station is part of the larger Nairobi Commuter Rail Project together with Imara Daima which he says will ease connectivity to and from the city.
Addressing the media after meeting with the Kenya Railways Corporation management and board of directors, the Cabinet Secretary noted that the Nairobi Commuter Rail Transport will provide dependable transport services across the city.
Once the whole project is complete, the government plans a growth potential of passengers number by seven percent annually which translates to 20 million passengers a year from the current seven million.
Other than the Nairobi project, Kamau said plans are underway for the construction of a new railway line from the port of Mombasa to Kampala, which he said will improve the efficiency of cargo transportation from the port to the cities of Nairobi and Kampala.
He said the transport and infrastructure sector contributes five percent of the countries Growth Domestic Product annually.
“Investment in rail infrastructure and equipment has been inadequate for more than a decade. As a result, the general condition of the railway network from Kenya to Uganda is old and in need of rehabilitation,” he said.
“The proposed railway line estimated to cost Sh340 billion is essentially a business project in that it will have a direct and quantifiable economic payback and with assured cash flow.”
He said that a modern rail system permits efficient centralised planning and coordination of cargo movement, and immensely reduces transit times to and from inland destinations compared with trucks.
“There is no way a country or region can move to the next level economically without a first class modern railway system to guarantee cost effective haulage of goods (for long distance). The current market share for rail haulage is three percent from more than 90 percent in 1970s,” he stated.
The Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda governments are also set to invest Sh1.2 trillion in a joint cash mobilization venture to finance a dual truck of 2,937 kilometres Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
The expected cost is split into infrastructure at Sh1.004 trillion and Sh174 billion for rolling stock where each member state will commit the undertaking of SGR developments in their country within their stipulated timeline.
The Kenyan Government established a Railway Development Fund which is a levy of 1.5 percent of the cost of import freights in the current financial year.
The ground breaking for the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR is expected in November 2013.
The development of the SGR (Mombasa-Kampala- Kigali and other spur lines) will be developed by the three countries after a bilateral agreement was signed by the three heads of state.
The Kenyan portion for the Mombasa-Malaba/Kisumu is 1,300km and likely to cost close to Sh445 billion, by estimates.
The SGR will allow freight trains to go up to speeds of 120kph while passenger trains will attain 180kph.
Kenya is also planning to construct a 1,400km Lamu-Lokichoggio railway and the Nairobi-Moyale 700km rail which will connect Kenya to Juba in South Sudan as part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia transport corridor.