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Kenya Railways adds Nairobi-Kisumu train as demand soars

Railway Police inside the first locomotive train from Nairobi to Kisumu during a maiden trip on December 17, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenya Railways Corporation will add another passenger train on the Nairobi-Kisumu route Friday to meet increased demand ahead of the Christmas festivities.

Managing Director Philip Mainga said the first train will leave Nairobi for Kisum at 6am for the 12-hour journey, with the second one leaving an hour later. 

“We have increased the number of trains for this festive season, especially for Christmas Eve, to two trains to Kisumu,” he said in an interview with The Standard on Thursday.

“In the New Year, we are waiting to see how the bookings will be on December 31 because we have to move down again to Kisumu and then come back on January 2.”

The Nairobi-Kisumu train service resumed on December 17 after a 15-year hiatus.

This followed the refurbishment of the old metre-gauge line. According to Kenya Railways, nearly 2,000 commuters have used the service since the relaunch.

Commuters are charged Sh600 on second-class coaches and Sh2,000 on first-class coaches. The train makes a stopover in Nakuru, whose fare is Sh300.

Passengers boarding from the newly installed city to Kisumu are charged Sh400. The fares are relatively cheap compared to travelling by bus, with one-way tickets to the lakeside city ranging between Sh1,200 and Sh1,800 for the seven-hour journey.

“After that, we will just run the weekend trains, that is Fridays and Sundays,” said Mr Mainga. 

He sought to allay safety concerns after one train stalled for close to four hours around the Tamu area in Muhoroni earlier this week.

“Sometimes we have issues, and one of the requirements is we stop.  Kenyans should not be worried because if we have detected something, we stop and confirm where the problem is,” said Mainga. 

“We also have our engineers on the ground who man the line 24 hours just to make sure it is safe for passengers,” he added.

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