Kenya Railways Reveals Reason Behind Delayed Relaunch of Kisumu Line

  • The Old-Nairobi Railway Station.
    The Old-Nairobi Railway Station.
  • Kenya Railways has revealed some technicalities slowing down the process of fully relaunching the Kisumu train that was scheduled to hit the rails this December.

    Initially, the line was supposed to be operational from November before it was postponed to December with the management indicating that it would be launched before the Christmas holidays.

    Kenya Railways Managing Director, Philip Mainga, stated that talks are still ongoing on the collaboration between different government agencies including the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

    Image of Kisumu Railway Station: KENYA RAILWAYS
    Image of Kisumu Railway Station: KENYA RAILWAYS

    According to Kenya Railways, the move to approach KPA is to ensure that there is a thorough feasibility study to make the Kisumu line a fully profitable venture before relaunching. This will be achieved through introducing cargoes to move goods to the lakeside city, earning Kenya Railway extra income apart from passengers' fare.

    Mainga further noted that the trains are not yet ready to hit the rail as they are still being refurbished, making it hard for them to be launched.

    “We are working on plans to rejuvenate the rail. We are in the process of refurbishing some of the trains we intend to introduce to the route,” Mainga explained in a recent interview.

    Top bosses overseeing the whole process have indicated that the shipping and logistics to operationalise the Kisumu-Butere are complete.

    The rehabilitation of the Kisumu line cost Ksh3.6 billion. Kenya Railways insisted that the relaunch of the line would be a boon for regional trade given that it will be the main artery for ferrying imports and exports to and from the Kisumu Port.

    The Kisumu Port is one of the entities Kenya Railways is banking on to make the line fully profitable. This is based on reports that the cargo doubled to over 30,000 tonnes in the last financial year.

    However, Kenya Railways decried vandalism as one of the key problems it has faced over years, stating that it had put in place measures to address the matter. Unscrupulous businessmen and scrap metal dealers are always destroying the rails, leading to mass losses from continous repairs.

    However, Kenya Railways remains committed that the line will be opened before the end of this year easing transport to the Lake region.

    Contractors carrying out rehabilitation works on the old Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line.
    Contractors carrying out rehabilitation works on the old Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line.