Kenya Inaugurates Flagship Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway
1 June 2017
EIRNS—Reporting on the inauguration of the 472.3-km Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), International Railway Journal said Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had flagged off the first freight and passenger train on May 31. Kenya’s SGR is one of the flagship projects of the national development blueprint known as Vision 2030. The long-term development policy aims to transform Kenya into an industrialized, middle-income country by 2030. The Exim Bank of China provided 90% of the financing required for the $3.42 billion railway, which was constructed by China Road and Bridge Corp. CRRC Qishuyan was awarded a contract earlier this year by China Road and Bridge Corp., to supply 56 locomotives for the line. These included passenger locomotives, freight locomotives, and shunters.
Following up on the next phase of expansion of the SGR, Uganda has announced plans to start building a $2.3 billion standard-gauge railway between its capital, Kampala, and the Kenyan border later this year. The 273-km electrified track, which will link Kampala and the Kenyan border town of Malaba, will be built by China Harbour Engineering (CHEC), and is due to be completed in the middle of 2020, Railway News had reported last January. Malaba is about 355 km northwest of Nairobi.
As with Kenya’s standard-gauge railway, the work is being funded by China’s Export Import Bank. The size of the loan, and the terms on which it is being offered, have not been made public. However, it was reported in 2014 that $8 billion would be sought, Railway News indicated.
The Mombasa-Nairobi railroad has been designed with an axle-load of 25 tons, and could move 22 million tons/year at a speed of 80-100km/h for freight trains and 120km/h for passenger trains. The line is forecast to carry around 22 million tons of freight per year from Mombasa, representing 40% of the port’s throughput. President Kenyatta said the line will reduce the cost of moving a container between Mombasa and Nairobi from $960 to $480, International Railway Journal reported today.