Standard Gauge Rail (SGR)
29 Jan

Kenya - New Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) Commences Passenger Services Between Nairobi and Mombasa


On 01st June 2017, Kenya lauched a new Standard Gauge Railway Passenger service between its 2 largest cities - Nairobi in the hinterland and Mombasa at the Indian Ocean coast. 2 passenger train services to serve the Nairobi - Mombasa - Nairobi route are the long term goal with the daily "Intercity" passenger train (dubbed "Madaraka Express" on its launch) currently operational. This offers an express service between Nairobi and Mombasa (and vice versa), stopping only at Mtito Andei for a few minutes to allow passage of the passenger train going in the same or opposite direction. Taking only 4 hours and 30 minutes, the SGR daily trains simultaneously leave Nairobi and Mombasa at 09H00 to arrive at the other destination at 13H30.
When operational in the coming weeks, the second service of passenger train will be the "county train" which will make a stop at each of seven intermediate stations between Nairobi and Mombasa (namely - Athi River, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Voi, Miasenyi and Mariakani) on its way to either destination - to allow residents of the said areas as well as tourists to access train transport services. The single-track SGR distance length between Nairobi and Mombasa is 472kms, with the main Stations being Soykimau for Nairobi (20km from Nairobi CBD) and Miritini for Mombasa (15km from Nairobi CBD). There are future plans to link up these stations to the CBD and Airports (Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta and Mombasa's Moi Airport) with urban metro trains. It has three first-class coaches, two of them carrying 72 passengers each and the third one with a capacity of 66. 10 economy-class coaches carry 118 people each. This cumulatively adds up to 1,272 passengers. Every row in the first-class coaches has four seats compared to the five in the economy class. The remaining two coaches have one as the restaurant and the other restricted for the mechanics and crew. The SGR has close to 40km of raised super bridges some as high as 40 metres - like in Tsavo National Park - to mitigate against accidents and wild animals underpass. The line is made up of heavy concrete slipers weighing 300kg which helps to absorb the vibration etc. There is virtually no vibration reaching the ground to disturb the animals. The new railway line constitutes the first phase of the SGR project that eventually aims to connect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. The 2nd phase, which is currently under construction, will connect Nairobi with Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley.