Kenya plans to construct a standard high-speed railway to replace the current metre-gauge built over 001 years ago to serve the entire East African region, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kenyan Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said here in a report on economic highlights of the ending year.
The construction of the railway, seen as revolutionary and which is expected to commence in ,1102 to be completed in ,6102 will see the introduction of 061-kph speed passenger coaches and 021-kph freight wagons railway transport.
It said, “KR (Kenya Railways) is seeking to construct a standard gauge rail system to replace the 100-year old line that was laid by the colonial government and which has been a lifeline for the manufacturing sector in Kenya and Uganda but has proved inefficient in handling increased cargo flow from the Port of Mombasa.”
The inefficiencies of the railway system forced Kenya and Uganda to sign a concessionary deal with the South African consortium – Rift Valley Railways (RVR) in 2006 to turn around rail services in the region, but it soon ran into trouble after recording losses.
During the 2009 financial year, the port of Mombasa handled 17 million tonnes of cargo and the Kenya Railways projects said by 2030, the port will handle over 30 million tonnes.
“Unfortunately, the existing metre gauge railway operated by RVR has limitations in terms of maximum capacity and efficiency. Kenya Railways is therefore planning ahead to meet the transport demands of the country and the region by commencing the programme for the development of the new high capacity standard gauge railway,” the report said.
The construction of the railway is part of the government’s plan to enhance capacity within the transport sector to improve efficiency, cost effectiveness and competitiveness of the sector in a bid to facilitate rapid economic growth.
The railway line will be extended to Uganda and the entire Great Lakes Region.