Reconstruction of the 240-kilometer old meter-gauge railway from Nairobi to Nanyuki has started, in a move to ease the cost and means of transporting goods to and from Mt. Kenya region.
Kenya Railways Corporate Affairs Manager Margaret Kawira confirmed the works have started in Nanyuki.
Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi also told the media that the works being undertaken by the Kenya Railways Corporation will cost Sh3 billion.
The works kicked off one week after Mt.Kenya governors met in Nairobi to agree on kick-starting the project which has stalled since 2017 when it was proposed.
The revival of railway is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan to speed up implementation of promised development projects in the region that has become politically restive in the recent past.
Muriithi said that Kenya Railways Corporation management will inject Sh1 billion and rest of the balance to be raised by the National Treasury.
Kenya Railways officials had previously told the media that the plan is to upgrade the current railway line from a 50-pound-load type, which is only capable of carrying three light locomotives to 80-pound load so that a single train can carry 1,400 tonnes of goods.
The railway line serving greater Mt. Kenya region has its first branch which is currently undergoing rehabilitation and starts from Nairobi-Ruiru-Thika- Makuyu-Murang’a-Sagana-Karatina- Nyeri-Naro Moru-Nanyuki.
The second branch starts from Nairobi-Limuru-Kijabe-Longonot-Gilgil-Ol Kalou- Nyandarua.
The region has been depending on road transport which has seen farmers incur high costs of transport and its revival means that produce like coffee, tea, macadamia and others destined for sea export will be transported to the Port of Mombasa directly by railway reducing the costs by nearly half.
Governor Muriithi also added that rehabilitation of the railway would be done in three segments in a period of five months in the sections including Nanyuki-Marua, Marua-Sagana and Sagana-Thika.