Kajiado County government has launched a new train route connecting the county's headquarters to Nairobi-Mombasa Highway.
The train with a modern cabin with a capacity of 162 passengers will operate twice a week and is aimed at opening up at least four wards in Kajiado Central and Kajiado East constituencies while also reducing the traveling time between Machakos town and Emali.
The one and a half hours journey will be on Wednesdays and Fridays which are market days in various centres such as Kajiado town, Ilbissil, and Emali.
The development follows a partnership between the county government and Tata Chemicals Limited, a company which uses rail transport to move soda ash from Magadi to its Kajiado town processing plant.
The new deal comes after years of grumbling from residents that the company's trains only carried soda ash to its processing plant but not passengers.
Governor Joseph ole Lenku hailed the move as a milestone that will boost trade and promote access to government services in Kajiado Town.
The 42 kilometre Kajiado town-Konza route will save residents more than 100 kilometres they would ordinarily travel to reach Kajiado if they used road transport through Athi River.
"The road between Konza and Kajiado and between Konza and Isinya is always impassable after rains. The rail transport is reliable and cheap. We expect traders to utilise the new connection to promote trade," said Mr Lenku on Tuesday.
On his part, Tata Chemicals Managing Director Jackson Mbui said the move is part of its Corporate Social Responsibility and to control expected influx of people.The firm will levy Sh100 fare for the entire journey and Sh50 between any two stop overs.
"We shall have two stop overs at Kwa Mumo Matemu and Oloshaiki. We hope to make the trips daily after we review how the public responds to it in the coming one year," said Mr Mbui.
Previously, residents would cover a combined more than 70 kilometres and pay up to Sh500 from Kajiado to Kitengela and eventually reaching Mombasa Road.
The Governor and his entourage made a maiden trip to Konza and addressed residents in four stop overs along the railway line.