The national government of Kenya through the national railway cooperation (Kenya Railways Corporation) is set to begin the reconstruction of the old/meter-gauge railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu come next month.
This is according to Philip Mainga, the Kenya Railways managing director. Mr. Mainga said that the project will be implemented by the Kenya Railway engineers, National Youth Service servicemen and women, and local youth within 8-12 months. Initially, Kenya planned to employ external labor from China based on a bilateral cooperation agreement with the Asian nation but according to the Kenya Railways managing director, the new plan will significantly cut the cost of the project.
The refurbishment of the more than a 100 years old track which has not been utilized for the last two decades, comes after the Kenyan government dropped its plan to extend the standard gauge railway (SGR) to Kisumu and later on to the Ugandan border, following the East African country failure to secure a multi-billion shilling loan from China, which funded the first and second phases of the project. The first phase from Mombasa to Nairobi city begun operations about 3 years ago today, while the second phase from Nairobi to Naivasha was completed in August last year.
The ultimate 216km Nakuru to Kisumu railway line, whose funds will come from internal resources, will connect to the recently refurbished Kisumu port to enable ferrying of passengers and goods such as fertilizer, cement, rice, edible oil, and spare parts, etc. to the neighboring Republic’s of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo on ships via Lake Victoria. The Lake will be a crucial transport corridor in the shipment of general cargo into and out of the East African region.