Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off today trials of the country’s new SGR cargo train from Mombasa port. The train will pull 50 wagons laden with containers bound for the Embakasi Inland Container Depot.
On Wednesday, the President is expected to launch the passenger train service between Mombasa and Nairobi, which will ferry 1,200 passengers daily both ways.
Maina says the cargo train, will transport goods destined to Nairobi and its environs.
“To start with, the cargo ferried by the trains will only be that destined for Nairobi only and not transit,” Maina said.
The Embakasi ICD occupies 29 hectares and has a stacking yard with an annual capacity of more than 180,000 teus.
The Ksh22 billion ($220 million) facility is expected to play a crucial role in the efficiency of the SGR.
Passengers will initially pay Sh900 for economy and Sh3,000 for business class, which will also be known as first class in Kenya Railways Corporation lingo.
“The new railway will charge half of what bus companies’ demand and will cut by half the time it takes to travel between the two cities. We looked at the market rates and the sustainability of it,” says James Macharia Cabinet Secretary for Transport.
He adds, “We are also looking at its sustainability while making sure Kenyans enjoy the comfort at affordable rates. The economy class is estimated at half the price of bus fare and the business class will be around Sh3,000.”
The train will initially offer only two classes of passengers thus economy and business class but will launch its premier class in December this year and will see fares go down.
In the meantime fares, to be published this week, are as a result of a study by Aarvee of India in collaboration with Wanjohi & Mutonyi Consulting Engineers (technical), Equity Investment Bank (financial) and Amolo & Gacoka Advocates (legal), groups that the government hired in March to help determine the fares for the new railway.
The rail service will be launched on Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa, a project built by the Chinese to a tune of Sh327 billion, and thereafter embark on its maiden journey to Nairobi.
China has sent a delegation which includes special envoy, State Councilor Wang Yong, to represent the country at the ceremony.