Rehabilitation of old Thika-Nanyuki railway line starts

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 00:00 |
Dilapidated Thika-Nanyuki railway line. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has started rehabilitation work on the 178km Thika-Nanyuki railway line, which has been in disuse for decades.

KRC managing director Phillip Mainga said work to restore the moribund line started last week along the corridor with hired personnel from the National Youth Service (NYS) assisted by labour from local communities helping to secure and clear the corridor in preparation for major works.

The rehabilitation of this stretch is part of Sh3 billion KRC has set aside to revamp the entire 240km old metre-gauge railway from Nairobi to Nanyuki.

When rehabilitated, the railway line is expected to ease the cost of transporting agricultural produce and goods in the region from source to market.

The project was first mooted in 2017 to upgrade the current line and enable a single train to carry 1,400 tonnes of goods.

The agriculturally productive Mt Kenya region currently depends on road transport, which farmers use to deliver products including tea, milk, coffee to the Port of Mombasa for export.

Mainga said the line will play a crucial role in the revival of the agricultural and livestock sector within the region by reducing costs associated with road transport, an assertion supported by Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, who is a driving force behind the new project.

“The road has been the only 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 Muriithi.

Muriithi added that works on the railway will be done in three phases within five months. The sections include Nanyuki-Marua, Marua-Sagana and Sagana-Thika.

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