Kenya Railways (KR) is set to hire 800 skilled and semi-skilled personnel for construction works

Kenya Railways (KR) is set to hire 800 skilled and semi-skilled personnel for construction works of the old railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu, which is estimated to cost Sh3.8 billion. Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga said the recruits will repair the meter-gauge railway, which is more than 100 years old.

"There will also be 440 servicemen from the National Youth Service. Engagements started gradually as from last week," he told The Standard. Mainga said the repair works are expected to be complete within eight months and urged locals to cooperate, especially those who have encroached on the railway line.

He noted that notices to vacate had been issued to those who have encroached on the railway reserve. "Enforcement of the earlier notice is to start immediately as from this month," he said. The 216km Nakuru-Kisumu meter-gauge railway traverses Nakuru, Kericho and Kisumu counties, and has 18 stations. The railway line has overgrown bushes, been vandalised in some sections, while some bridges/box and pipe and culverts have collapsed.

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A spot check at the Kisumu railway station found that a section of the embankment has been washed away, station buildings are dilapidated, and signaling communication and train control systems have been vandalised.

The KR land has been fenced off and traders who were initially operating there were ordered out. The affected businesses include Hotel Ranalo Foods, which has since relocated to Milimani while Railways Band orchestra moved to Nyamasaria on the Kisumu-Nairobi road.

Already, KR has installed cargo handling machines at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot to avoid long ques of trucks at the depot. The government also plans to build a special economic zone (SEZ) in Miwani and offer cheap power to encourage cargo transport.