The government of Kenya has revived rehabilitation works on the old Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line with the aim of spurring economic growth in Central Kenya. Laikipia Governor, Ndiritu Muriithi confirmed the report and said works has commenced in the county.
The revival is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan to accelerate implementation of promised development projects in the region. The railway line serving greater Mt. Kenya region has two branches. The first branch, which is undergoing rehabilitation starts from Nairobi-Ruiru-Thika- Makuyu-Murang’a-Sagana-Karatina- Nyeri-Naro Moru-Nanyuki. The second branch starts from Nairobi-Limuru-Kijabe-Longonot-Gilgil-Ol Kalou- Nyandarua.
Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line
The 240-kilometre line, estimated to cost US $30m is expected to be completed in five months and rehabilitation will be done in three segments. The sections include Nanyuki-Marua, Marua-Sagana and Sagana-Thika with clearance of bushes along the line being undertaken simultaneously in the three areas touching Laikipia, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Kiambu counties.
Works is being undertaken by Kenya Railways Corporation which has already injected US $10m, while the remainder will be provided by the National government. Mt. Kenya region has been depending only on road transport, meaning that farmers incur high costs of transport especially those ferry-ing bulk goods.
Upon completion, the revival will result to produce like coffee, tea, macadamia and other destined for sea export will be transported to the Port of Mombasa directly by railway, cutting the transports costs by nearly a half, money that will be retained by farmers and traders as profit.
“The road transport has been the only alternative mode of transport for bulky agricultural cargo as well as commercial goods such as oil. Compared to rail, road transport is expensive both to farmers and business people and greatly shortens the lifespan of our highways,” said Governor Ndiritu Muriith.
Additionally, there are plans to extend the line extended to Isiolo to link up the region to the Lamu Port and Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET). There will also emerge new modern produce markets along the corridor where our farmers can trade their commodities with assured cheap transport.
“Connecting the entire Central Kenya to the railway line will give economic impetus to the region that boasts of over 10 million in population with a combined economy of US $399m,” said the governor.