The government on Monday, March 2 signed an agreement to acquire 15 commuter trains from Spain.
The agreement was signed by Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga and officials from the Regional Ministry of Energy and Mobility in Mallorca.
The trains will ply various routes including from Nairobi to Syokimau, Embakasi, Thika, Kikuyu and Kitengela.
The acquisition is in line with Kenya Railways' lofty goal of increasing capacity on commuter services in the capital from 13,000 to 132,000 passengers a day by 2022.Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga (centre) poses after signing an agreement in Mallorca, Spain on March 3, 2020
Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga confirmed the deal with a post on Twitter.
"Today we have achieved a major breakthrough in the Nairobi urban mobility journey. This morning, in the beautiful island of Mallorca, the MD Kenya Railways signed the contract to bring home the much-awaited 15 DMUs. The journey to decongest Nairobi has just begun," he wrote.
Reports of the planned acquisition had sparked a furore in early 2019 after it emerged that the metre-gauge Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) had been rendered redundant in Mallorca, Spain after the completion of an electrification programme on existing lines.
Some of the trains to be brought in were reportedly as old as 25 years.
Citizens tore into the government as they questioned whether they were getting value for money.
Responding to various claims, then-Principal Secretary in the State Department for Transport Esther Koimett shared photos of the Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), explaining that Kenya would get the exact same trains.
Kenya Railways was also forced to issue a statement defending its decision to purchase the used trains.
It argued that it was a cheaper and faster option compared to buying new trains, adding that developed countries such as France used similar commuter trains.
The organization maintained that the trains would have a lifespan of 25-35 years.
“Before the contract for the acquisition of the 11 refurbished DMUs (diesel multiple units) is signed, every effort will be made to ensure there are no illegalities and that the interests of Kenyans are safeguarded.
"The government is committed to providing an efficient, safe and reliable commuter rail service,” the statement issued in February 2019 read in part.
Sample photos of the trains shared by Koimett in 2019 below:A Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train pictured in MallorcaFileA Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train pictured in MallorcaFileA Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train pictured in Mallorca, Spain
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