Commuting in the City of Nairobi is about to get easier for most people as Kenya Railways has completed renovations into a new Commuter Rail Service.
President Uhuru Kenyatta today afternoon, launched the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service (NCRS) and the refurbished Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).
The renovated Nairobi Central Railway Station will serve as the nerve centre of operations connecting to 10 stations in satellite towns, including newly built stations in Donholm and Pipeline.
In August, KRC demolished part of Mutindwa market that had encroached on the land that was planned for building a new railway station.
Cumulatively, there are commuter train services on Nairobi – Imara Daima-Syokimau route, Nairobi – Githurai – Mwiki – Kahawa – Ruiru route, Nairobi-Embakasi route, and Nairobi – Kibera – Kikuyu route.
Kenya Railways is targeting to serve up to 230,000 passengers daily once the commuter rail is launched.
Speaking at the launch, president Uhuru express confidence with the project and said that over-reliance on road transport should reduce with the revamped Nairobi commuter rail service. Uhuru also directed NMS boss Major General Mohammed Badi to ensure he installs CCTV cameras at the railway station.
“So that I can see if you are harassing people. We are here for the people,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta added that in the next one year, the railway transport will be extended to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
“We have invested in rehabilitation of the Nairobi Railway station as well as access roads with additional stations to be constructed and will serve an estimated 40,000 passengers a day,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The Head of State was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Ukur Yatani (Treasury) and James Macharia (Transport) at the Nairobi Railway Station.
According to NMS, the mobile units will ease the traffic gridlock in the capital by providing alternative means of transport.
The Nairobi Central Railway Station will serve as the nerve centre of operations connecting with the DMUs expected to ply city routes, which include Embakasi Village, Pipeline and Donholm Railway Stations, with the upgrade of the routes having been completed early this month.
This will later be joined by nine new stations, which are in the process of being built, including in Umoja, Syokimau, Kitengela, Kikuyu, Thika, Kibera, Mbagathi Way, Kenyatta and Strathmore universities and Thogoto.
Currently, there are commuter train services on Nairobi – Imara Daima-Syokimau route, Nairobi – Githurai – Mwiki – Kahawa – Ruiru route, Nairobi-Embakasi route, and Nairobi – Kibera – Kikuyu route.
The new commuter trains will have a maximum of 2 minutes to board.
According to Kenya Railways, the NCRS will create an efficient and affordable mass rapid transit transport system for the city as well as integrate the rail transport with other modes of transport in the country.
The project has been developed within the existing railway corridors to provide commuter rail services between Nairobi Railway Station.
Last month, a notice by the KRC stated that the new stations will operate on the “park and ride” model currently being used at the Syokimau, Imara Daima and Makadara stations.
“Park and Ride services are available for those who get to the designated stops and board the City Rail System buses to the city and back to their vehicles as they head back out of the city,” read the statement.
Covering news about Eastlands especially Umoja, Kayole and Buruburu estates