Commuter railway transport in Nairobi will receive a huge boost with 10 new stations which will soon be made fully operational.
The stations are meant for use by city residents as part of the Nairobi commuter rail service aimed at making travelling easier in Kenya's capital.
The new stations will operate on "park and ride" model which is currently being used at the Syokimau, Imara Daima and Makadara stations.
The 10 new stations, which are currently under construction as part of the plan, include Kikuyu, Embakasi Village, Dandora, Mwiki, Githurai, Kahawa, Ruiru, Pipeline, Athi River and Donholm. Most of them are almost complete.
Additionally, 40 sleeper coaches have been rehabilitated and converted into modern commuter coaches with an automated ticketing system introduced in one of the routes.
"The Nairobi commuter rail is expected to attract a substantial proportion of the 1.5 million people who commute into Nairobi central business district every day and make commuting easier," said Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC).
Currently, 20,000 commuters use the railway network on weekdays through lines originating from Nairobi Central Station to Ruiru via Dandora, Githurai and Kahawa, to Syokimau via Makadara and Imara Daima, Embakasi village via Pipeline and Donholm and Kikuyu via Kibera and Dagoretti.
Additionally, a daily link train ferries passengers to and from the Nairobi terminus and the city centre.
The Nairobi Commuter Rail (NCR) service was introduced in 1992 as an added service to the long distance passenger services on the meter gauge line.
This was done by having freight and passenger locomotives and the sleeper coaches comprise the commuter trains that were introduced into four routes namely from Nairobi to Limuru, Thika, Kitengela and Embakasi. However, the Limuru, Thika and Kitengela routes are currently not in service.
The continued growth of population living and working in Nairobi, however, necessitated the revamping of the rail service to create a vibrant facility that could easily facilitate movement of people to and from their various homes and places of work.
"To that effect, three modern stations were built in 2012. These were Makadara, Imara Daima and Syokimau stations," said KRC.