28 January 2016

Kenya: Rail 75 Percent Complete, Says Transport PS

The construction of the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi is 75 per cent ready, the Transport ministry says.

In an interview with the Nation on Wednesday, Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera said President Uhuru Kenyatta would commission the project on June 1, 2017 by travelling by train from Mombasa to Nairobi.

He said some of the 33 stations had already been built.

They include 23 passing stations, eight intermediary ones and two major stations in Mombasa and Nairobi.

Mr Nyakera said 56 locomotives would be delivered from China before the end of the year, adding that the railway would greatly boost transport between Mombasa and Nairobi.

"The railway will revolutionise transport in Kenya with passengers taking only four hours to reach Mombasa from Nairobi and vice versa," he said.

At the same time, Mr Nyakera said the ministry had created a co-ordinating office to oversee the implementation of security and safety measures at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.

DIRECT FLIGHTS

He added that the office would team up with Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Civil Aviation, Kenya Airways and the Interior ministry to address security concerns raised by the United States Government before direct flights to America can begin.

"We are determined to meet the US aviation security and safety requirements at the JKIA," he said.

In April, the US aviation authorities will conduct an audit at the airport.

Three weeks ago, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said Kenya had fulfilled almost all the audit requirements set by the US aviation authorities.

The CS said direct flights between Kenya and the US could become a reality in four months' time.

"We anticipate that we shall start direct flights to the USA by May 2016, having cleared almost all the aviation audit issues," the Transport CS told the Nation.

However, two weeks ago, US Ambassador Robert Godec said the American Government was yet to make a final decision on when direct flights between the two countries would start.

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