Residents of Kitengela, a Nairobi suburb, have a reason to smile after Kenya Railways launched the Nairobi Central – Lukenya train service.
The train journey begins in Lukenya, Athi River Sub-county, where a station has already been commissioned and will provide commuter services between the capital and new locations in Machakos and Kajiado.
Kenya Railways has advised those wishing to catch the train that its new station is located at the end of Muigai Road and they will part with Sh100 as fare for the journey to the Nairobi Central station.
“One turns off at the Namanga Road and Muigai Road junction. And the Kitengela Halt is at the end of the newly tarmacked Deliverance Church Road,” said KR.
The service will have stops at Makadara, Imara Daima, Mlolongo, and Kitengela with the first train departing the area as early as 5:45am with an expected arrival time of 7:40am.
The evening train will depart from the Nairobi Central station at 4:50pm to arrive at Lukenya Railway Station at 6:47pm.
Kenya Railways managing director, Philip Mainga, said the project is within the existing railway corridor.
“We are expanding our network on the commuter rail to Lukenya. This comes after we have had a lot of complaints from Kitengela residents. As of last week, I finalized my work on the station and hopefully this week we will have our first train from Nairobi there,” he explained.
While the commuter trains continue to transport passengers at full capacity, matatus and bus companies are forced to strictly adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols and ensure social distancing is observed.
“We have observed the Covid-19 protocol requirements because our compliance levels are high. You have Kenyans who cannot afford to pay the high fares matatus are charging. The role of the government is to support its people and facilitate them to work. If we (Kenya Railways) do not provide transport to these people, who will do it?” posed Mr Mainga.
Kenya Railways are building 26 stations to serve the new routes in the first phase. Some of the newly built stations are located in existing railway corridors, including Syokimau, Makadara and Imara Daima.
The second phase will extend services to Thika and Limuru while the third will target the satellite towns of Ongata Rongai, Kiserian, Ngong, Kiambu, Ruai and Kangemi in the coming months.
The corporation has procured 11 Diesel Multiple-Units (DMU) from Spain at Sh1.15 billion, five of which are already operational. The remaining six are expected next month.