Kenya set to import diesel trains in August

Kenya will next month import the first batch of diesel-propelled commuter trains from Spain to boost passenger travels within Nairobi in a Sh1.1 billion plan to decongest road traffic.

Five of the 11 trains have already left the island of Mallorca through Barcelona city for the port of Mombasa.

Housing and Urban Development principal secretary Charles Hinga told the Business Daily Thursday that the DMUs (diesel multiple units) will arrive in Kenya next week.

“About 10 stations have been completed in readiness for the trains. We are also improving the Central station and ticketing system,” said Mr Hinga.

Kenya is planning to import 11 used diesel trains from Spain, in a Sh1.1 billion plan for a commuter train service that connects the city centre to the estates.

Mr Hinga said once the train arrive in the country, the fleet will be used on services from Nairobi Central to Syokimau, Embakasi Village, Thika, Kikuyu and Kitengela.

The acquisition of additional diesel powered passenger wagons is part of Kenya Railways Corporation’s masterplan, which aims to increase capacity on commuter services in the capital from 13,000 to 132,000 passengers a day by 2022.

He said the trains bought from the island Mallorca were discharged from use after the island completed modernisation that saw it adopt electric trains.

The revamped network is expected to attract a substantial portion of the 1.5 million city commuters who travel into Nairobi’s central business district (CBD) every day, said Kenya Railways.

Nairobi’s matatus are a major source of employment for drivers and conductors as well as investors who rake in billions of shillings daily ferrying over 200,000 people daily into and out of Nairobi.

The high number of personal, corporate and public service vehicles has largely been blamed for the traffic snarl-ups mostly experienced between 6.30am to 8.30 am and later in the evening starting at 5pm all the way to 8pm.

But commuter trains operated by Kenya Railways might find it impossible to drive the over 100,000 matatus out of town.

The refurbished diesel-propelled commuter trains is part of the plan by the state to upgrade Nairobi’s mass transport system and decongest Nairobi’s traffic jams.

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