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Over 400 000 Kenyans commute by train monthly

16 March 2015, 22:24 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Rift Valley Railways (RVR) have revealed that over 400 000 commuters use railway transport monthly particularly within the three major cities and fast-growing towns in the country.

RVR Group has significantly increased the frequency of its commuter services especially in Nairobi by introducing new routes due to rising demand for rail transport compared to Mombasa and Kisumu cities.

The Group’s CEO, Carlos Andrade said an efficient commuter railway transport system is the most feasible and cost effective way of easing congestion and reducing traffic jams in the fast-growing cities.

“We are restoring the track to improve its stability and help achieve efficiency. We are also in the process of acquiring more locomotives to substantially increase its freight haulage capacity in Kenya and Uganda,” said Andrade.

Rise in number of commuters by train has been attributed by its fair fare charges- almost half the price of public service vehicles, and evading heavy, daily traffic jam on roads to the city and other workplaces.

Read Also: Relief for commuters as MOA reduces fares

RVR has so far added a total of 34 locomotives to its existing fleet to augment its freight haulage capacity where 20 of the locomotives were procured from General Electric company at USD 25 million with a top-up of USD 20 million asset financing facility from Standard Bank (CFC).

RVR’s majority shareholder, Qalaa Holding also topped up an additional USD 5 million for the locomotives. It is the first time the RVR procured new locomotives since 1987.

For instance, in July 2014, railway operator commissioned two high capacity railway track maintenance machines that automate and hasten track restoration.

The Ballast Tamper and Ballast Profiler machines arrange displaced ballast and restore the track to the technically required geometric alignment at a speed of one kilometer per hour compared to only 40 meters per hour using manual processes.

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