Kenya’s standard gauge railway line which is projected to start commercial operations in June 2017 is ahead of schedule according to the Kenya Railways managing director.
The railway is expected to linking port of Mombasa to Nairobi and further to Uganda and neighboring landlocked countries.
The Chinese-financed project aims at replacing the colonial-age narrow-gauge line that has lower top speeds with the standard gauge.
The railway management in Kenya is in the process of selecting a private company that will manage the line with selection process to end by mid-2016
Following the Kenyan government’s commitment to improve the service provision and infrastructure in the East African country, the standard gauge railway line (SGR) is expected to open for commercial traffic on target if not earlier.
Earlier projections indicated that the Chinese-financed project by the end of 2015 40% of the civil works would be complete the recent review shows that by the same period, half of the works will be completed.
According to the Kenya Railways managing director, the project is ahead of schedule following increased government efforts to acquire the land that will be used for the line. The standard gauge line is expected to replace the colonial-age narrow gauge which had slow top speeds and numerous delays.
The new line will speed cargo flow from the port city of Mombasa as well as introduce a quick passenger service that will reduce the time from Mombasa to Nairobi from the previous over 13 hours to 3-4 hours only.
Additionally, a private management company will be selected by mid-2016 seeing as the line will be managed by a seasoned third party operator.
The project is hoping to secure funding for the second phase that will connect Nairobi to Uganda’s capital Kampala and soon after to other landlocked countries in the region.
The Kenyan government has given the railway line top priority by mobilizing funds and the like echoed to its commitment to improve infrastructure of one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
The line will cut on cost and time and reduce the numerous delays experienced in transporting cargo and at the same time deal with the obstacle of inefficient transport to expanding businesses.
The SGR once in place will not only reduce traffic and improve cargo flow from the port but also shift most currently transported by road to railway due to the speed and convenience indirectly reducing the road damage caused by the heavy trucks and thus the maintenance cost.