NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Kenya Railways has assured the public that the proposed acquisition of 11 used commuter trains from Spain is the best deal Kenya can get.
In a statement, Kenya Railways said the used 11 Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) are still in good condition and will be fully functional for the next 20 to 25 years.
This comes after Kenyans expressed doubts on the efficient operation of the DMU’s fearing their adoption would cause harm to the transport system.
Kenya Railways argues that it will spend Sh1.15 billion to buy the 11 commuter trains, five coaches and spare parts from a Spanish public transport company compared to up to Sh10.3 billion for new DMUs with a life span of 30 – 40 years.
The decision to buy the refurbished DMUs, KR said, came as a result of the urgent need to revamp the Nairobi Commuter rail service that currently serves only 13,000 passengers which is 1 percent of the city’s passenger traffic during the peak hours.
Purchase of the DMUs will result in transporting 132,000 passengers per day.
KR added that the Spanish firm – Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM) – advertised the disposal of its diesel propelled multiple units with a team from Kenya Railways undertaking a technical evaluation of the trains and ascertained the units were operationally suitable.
“The team also established that SFM had sold similar DMUs to France, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Portugal, which are far advanced economies with large manufacturing capacity of their own,” reads part of the KR statement.
The acquisition of the DMU’s should happen in the next 6 – 12 months and they will be deployed over five routes from Nairobi Central Kenya to Syokimau, Embakasi Village, Thika, Kikuyu and Kitengela.
“This would also lead to the construction of new nine stations – Kenyatta University, Umoja, Kibera, Thogoto, Mbagathi Way, Thika, Kitengela, Dagorreti and Strathmore University,” said KR
The adoption of the master plan is seen as a top mechanism to reduce the congestion affecting operation in Nairobi.
Kenya Railways said it will also refurbish 20 more coaches on top of 40 more which are still considered to be in good condition.