Kenya is set to kick start construction of the 22-km standard gauge railway linking the Miritini passenger terminus to Mombasa CBD train station at the end of this month at a cost of US $2m. Atanas Maina, Kenya Railways managing director confirmed the statement and said tenders for the project were at the evaluation stage before construction which is set to take one year to begin.
“Tenders were advertised in April and the bids returned. We are waiting to start construction this month after completing the evaluation stage. The announcement comes amid plans to extent the line to Mombasa port to boost efficiency,” said Mr. Maina.
Direct cargo discharge
Upon completion, the line will enable cargo discharged from ships to be loaded directly onto trains. This will enable the SGR to handle non-containerized (conventional) cargo such as clinker, fertilizer, grain, and steel. “Passengers going to Mombasa via the SGR alight at the Miritini terminus, forcing them to complete the journey by road where they spend up to five hours to cover the 22 kilometres to town.
Those heading to Nairobi and other parts covered by the SGR from Mombasa have also been forced to use the road to access the Miritini terminus, which has seen many left by trains. The expansion of the railway would therefore also enhance faster movement of passengers between Miritini station and Mombasa town,” said Maina.
Designs of the railway are being prepared by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) as China Railway Design Corporation and APEC Consortium Limited study the work. CRBC is among the latest in a growing list of Chinese firms to be involved in the SGR project, a move that is set to raise criticism over the transparency of the process.