NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya Railways (KR) has announced plans to acquire 11 refurbished Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs), five coaches and spare parts from a Spanish State Company at the cost of Sh1.15 billion to improve its commuter rail services within Nairobi.
The corporation says it has an ambitious plan, which targets to improve number of daily passengers from the current 13,000 to 132, 000.
It has already refurbished forty coaches while another 20 is in progress in addition to the repair of GE class 93 locomotives.
“In order to provide efficient commuter rail services to support the vibrant economy of the Nairobi Metropolitan, Kenya Railways has developed a Master Plan for Nairobi Metropolitan Commuter Rail. The quick wins of the Master Plan include the recognition for the improvement of the Commuter Rail Service within 6 to 12 months by rehabilitating the commuter railway and acquisition of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs)” read part of an advert by Kenya Railways published on local dailies.
According to Kenya Railways, it will acquire the 11 refurbished DMUs, five coaches and spare parts from Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM) at a negotiated price of Sh1.15 billion. The DMUs have a remaining economic useful life of 23-25 years.
The Corporation defended the acquisition of the refurbished DMUs saying that they were cheaper and ready for use compared to newer ones, which are costly and take time to be acquired.
“The cost of new similar DMUs range from Sh590-940 million and would take a minimum lead time of five years to acquire 11 new DMUs at a total cost of Sh6.5-10.3 billion with a design life of 30-40 years,” Kenya Railways said.
Kenya Railways will deploy the new DMUs in five routes: from Nairobi Central Station to Syokimau, Embakasi Village, Thika, Kikuyu and Kitengela.
Kenya Railways will also build nine new stations: Kenyatta University, Umoja, Kibera, Thogoto, Mbagathi Way, Thika, Kitengela, Dagoretti and Strathmore University.
The revamping of the commuter rail services will result in 132,000 passengers per day being transported as compared to 13,000 passengers transported daily at present.
The commuter rail currently transports only 1 per cent of city passenger traffic during the peak hours in Nairobi.
The DMUs are expected to arrive in the country from June.
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