Construction of high speed railway to kick off in October
03 September 2014, 23:04
Mombasa - It has been announced that the construction of a new multi-billion standard gauge railway is within schedule and is expected to kick off in October.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport John Mosonik said late Tuesday during a tour of the project site in Mombasa that preparations are in progress and the project will begin as scheduled.
"We expect to commence construction by October. Currently we are on the preparation stage and I am optimistic the project will be delivered on time despite challenges," said Mosonik.
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He said 90 percent of the financing will come from China Exim Bank while the remaining 10 percent will be footed by the government of Kenya.
The Standard Gauge Railway is aimed at providing efficient and cost effective rail transport for both freight and passengers. It is intended to reduce the cost of doing business by reducing the cost of transport, a move that will see Kenya become a competitive business hub for the East African region and beyond.
Passenger trains will have a speed of 120 kilometers per hour while those for freight will be designed to move at 80 kilometers an hour.
It will take passengers four hours and 30 minutes to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi while freight will take eight hours.
The project contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation, has already started putting up camps in the coast region which will be used for construction of the first phase of the project covering 609.3 kilometers from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi.
The Mariakani camp, which is 60 percent complete, comprises of a concrete mixing plant, laboratories and a staff quarter for the contractor's technical staff. It will also host Kenya Railway and government technical team.
Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina said the land acquisition process is ongoing and is almost complete.
He said the government has already paid the first part of its installment to the constructor and the Exim bank is expected to pay its installment anytime.