Nairobi to Get 6 More Commuter Trains

  • An undated image of the Kenya Railways DF8B locomotive
    An undated image of the Kenya Railways DF8B locomotive
    File
  • Nairobians are set to benefit from an additional six commuter trains by the end of March plying different routes across the city. This will be a major boost for the Nairobi commuter rail service.

    The additional commuter trains referred to as Diesel Multiple Units(DMUs), are set to increase the frequency of trains in Nairobi and enhance transportation.

    The Kenya Railways Corporation had acquired 11 DMUs from Spain, five of which had already been received. The five began their operations in November 2020.

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    Kenya Railways station at Dandora, Nairobi
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    The purchase of the 11 DMUs cost a total of Ksh 1.15 billion. The units, which are faster and more efficient than the old ones, are not new but refurbished.

    The trains are said to have been used by the regional government of Majorca, Spain, from where they are being acquired.

    The KRC has been modifying the old coaches for better customer service and efficiency.

    “We have been revitalizing the commuter lines in Nairobi. This started with the modification of the old coaches to increase the capacity by including space for standing passengers. 

    This, however, turned out not to be very efficient because of the age of the locomotives,” said KRC Chairman Umudho Awitta.

    The commuter rail service, according to the Transport Ministry, is an essential service in the city as it is used by around 13,000 commuters every day. It is part of the larger plan to improve commuting within Nairobi through modernizing and expanding the underutilized railway transport infrastructure facilities.

    “We plan to run frequent services and the residents can access the central station in a matter of minutes throughout the day. Instead of taking two hours in traffic, they can be in the central business district in 20 minutes,” Awitta pointed out.

    He also added that KRC was planning to have hourly trains plying different routes in Nairobi.

    This comes as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operations are set to be handled by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) with the process of taking over on course. 

    KRC has already taken over some of the functions like the ticketing, security, and fueling roles of the SGR.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta flagging off the first train at Nairobi Central Station on November 10, 2020.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta flagging off the first train at Nairobi Central Station on November 10, 2020.
    PSCU