Shipping & Logistics

Kenya Railways adds Nairobi-Kisumu trains on travel demand


Nairobi- Kisumu train

Passengers disembark from the train that arrived from Nairobi at the Kisumu railway station, on December 17, 2021. PHOTO | AFP

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Summary

  • The Nairobi-Kisumu passenger train service resumed on Friday after a 15-year break, offering great relief for people heading to western Kenya with its low-cost fares.

Kenya Railways has added three more train services on the Nairobi-Kisumu line following a surge in demand as city residents travel to their rural homes for the festivities.

KR managing director Philip Mainga said the first train was added on Tuesday from Nairobi to Kisumu. Another extra train will run from Kisumu to Nairobi on Christmas day and the third extra one on January 2 to ferry hundreds of travellers back to the city.

The Nairobi-Kisumu passenger train service resumed on Friday after a 15-year break, offering great relief for people heading to western Kenya with its low-cost fares.

“We have added an additional passenger train from Nairobi to Kisumu to cater for increased demand for travellers heading to western Kenya during this festive season,” Mr Mainga told the Business Daily yesterday.

“We are also planning to add another train from Kisumu to Nairobi on December 25 and on January 2, 2022.”

Commuters pay Sh600 fare on second class coaches from Nairobi to Kisumu and Sh2,000 on first class for the 12-hour journey. The train operates between 6 am and 6.45 pm, with a stopover in Nakuru.

Passengers travelling to Nakuru pay Sh300, and from Nakuru to Kisumu Sh400.

The ticket prices are a relief for travellers who pay between Sh1,200 and Sh1,600 on the route using bus services for a journey that takes an average of seven hours.

At 12 hours, the Nairobi-Kisumu train, which will run on the refurbished metre gauge line, will take nearly three times what it would take on SGR from Mombasa to the capital.

Kenya Railways has spent billions of shillings refurbishing its century-old rail network to boost passenger travel and bulk cargo transportation to western Kenya and neighbouring countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.

In a departure from the past, the Nairobi to Kisumu train service will operate during the day, arriving and departing the two cities at 6 a.m. and arriving at 5.45 p.m.

A cargo rail business is critical to making the Kisumu port a viable public investment.

The port will make Lake Victoria a crucial transport corridor in the shipment of cargo into and out of the East African region.

* Updated