Nairobi Commuter Rail Service and the Syokimau Railway Station extension opens

President Mwai Kibaki today launched the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service and the Syokimau Railway Station marking a major milestone in the history of railway development in the country.

The railway extension and railway station, the first to be built in Kenya in the last 80 years, cost the Rift Valley Railways over Ksh. 400 million and will impact positively on traffic management in Nairobi and its suburbs.

Speaking during the launch, President Kibaki called on leaders seeking elective seats in the forthcoming general election to devote much of their time in development projects that were beneficial to Kenyans.

The President regretted that most of the aspirants were utilizing much of their time politicking at the expense of development saying the general elections is a one-day event that should not distract Kenyans from other activities.

President Kibaki who retires at the end of his tenure of office assured Kenyans that he would be available to contribute to the country’s development in other capacities.

On the new Nairobi railway public commuter service, the President said commencement of rail services in Nairobi and development of a modern railway station at Syokimau will provide safe, reliable, comfortable and affordable rail transport for city residents and visitors.

The Head of State noted that besides reducing congestion, transit time and travel costs for Kenyans, the commuter rail service will also improve the socio-economic welfare of citizens, while at the same time enabling Nairobi to remain the regional economic, commercial and business hub in the region.

President Kibaki appreciated youth trained by the Kenya Railways Corporation for constructing the two-kilometre branch line to Syokimau Station from the main Mombasa-Nairobi railway line.

Saying that engagement of youth was commendable and should be emulated and replicated in other projects in the country, President Kibaki observed that creation of employment for the youth was a top priority for the country as the government and developers in the private sector planned and executed infrastructure projects.

He challenged institutions that are offering technical training to develop curriculum and training programmes that will equip youth with the practical skills to design, construct and maintain railways and roads.

The President said, “Furthermore, adequate resources should be set aside for regular maintenance of infrastructure facilities. The maintenance of infrastructure facilities will not only require financial allocations from the Exchequer, but also the requisite skilled manpower.”

On safety of infrastructural installations, President Kibaki urged Kenyans to protect modernized facilities from vandals and utilize them responsibly in order to ensure long-term sustainability of the investments.

The President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to continue investing in rail infrastructure development, especially in commuter transport, in order to improve transport services and facilitate economic development.

In this regard, the Head of State stated that arrangements have been finalized to construct the Imara Daima and Makadara railway stations while the design work for the development of similar rail transport systems in Mombasa and Kisumu cities is in progress.

In addition to these projects, President Kibaki said his Government is collaborating with other countries in the region to develop railway infrastructure in order to improve regional connectivity.

“The development of railway infrastructure will supplement the other modes of transport, thereby enhancing trade relations and economic integration,” he added.

In this connection, the President said the government has signed a bilateral agreement with the Government of Uganda to facilitate joint development of the Mombasa-Malaba-Kampala standard gauge railway. A branch line will also be extended to Kisumu.

“Similarly, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Ethiopia for the development of Lamu-Addis Ababa standard gauge railway. Under the Lamu-South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project, the development of a railway component is among the priority projects,” President Kibaki said.

The development of these critical transport facilities will, besides reducing transport costs due to faster movement of goods and people within the region, also increase trade, improve the socio-economic welfare of Northern Kenya and boost the country’s potential in attracting investments from all over the world, the President added.

He commended the Ministry of Transport and the leadership and staff of the Kenya Railways Corporation for the successful implementation of the Nairobi Commuter Rail Services.

On his part, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka lauded President Kibaki for his visionary leadership that contributed to the country’s immense infrastructural development for the last ten years.

Speaking during the same occasion, Transport Minister Amos Kimunya said transport-related legislations was under review to align them with the Constitution.

Among the legislation targeted, the Minister noted, include the legal and regulatory framework of the railway sector to introduce safety and economic regulations to boost investor confidence in the sector.

Others speakers included Assistant Ministers Wavinya Ndeti and Ferdinard Waititu and the chairman of Kenya railways Corporation General (rtd) Jeremiah Kianga.

In attendance were the Minister for National Planning and Vision 2030 Mr. Wycliffe Oparanya, his Public Works counterpart Mr. Chris Obure, and Assistant Minister Hassan Joho for Transport.

Source : statehousekenya.go.ke

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