The Rift Valley Railways company has said the old railway system will not be phased out with the introduction of the standard gauge railway. RVR's inbound logistics in-charge Patrick Mariga said the two railway systems will operate concurrently.
Speaking on Thursday at Mombasa port after receiving a tamping machine and a ballast regulator for the rehabilitation of the railway system, Mariga said they are committed to ensuring the railway system in the country works maximally.
The two machines were imported from Austria at a cost of US$1.3 million (Sh111.8 million). "The two machines will help maintain the tracks and improve track safety," Mariga said. The machines were cleared at the port by Mitchell Cotts.
Mitchell Cotts managing director Daniel Tanui said they will partner with RVR and continue to bring in tamper machines and other equipment to ensure they help achieve set targets by different firms in the country.
"We are happy to partner with RVR and ensure together we transform the railway transportation services in Africa by 2020 in line with their vision," said Tanui.
RVR permanent way equipment and plant manager Joshua Pembere said the two machines will help reduce derailment by about 80 per cent. "With these machines, we will ensure 80 per cent of track stability, which is the most common cause of derailment," said Pembere.
With continued usage, the rails 'lose shape' and lose their parallelness. This is dangerous as it might cause derailment of the train or slow the movement of the train
Pembere said manual re-alignment of the rails is cumbersome and usually slow. It takes an hour to restore only 40 meters of the rail by manual labour.
The two machines take an hour to restore a kilometer of rail to the perfect line geometry or the technically correct design. The machines are expected to be commissioned in May and will be used to re-align the railway all the way to Kampala.