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Live Updates: Nairobi-Kisumu train service finally resumes

Passenger train service from Nairobi to Kisumu ready to depart. [George Maringa, Standard]

The long-awaited passenger train service on the Nairobi-Kisumu route resumed operations this morning; 10 years after services were suspended due to a dilapidated railway line.

The Standard has a crew on board who will give updates as the train makes its journey from Nairobi to Kisumu. 

Commuters travelling from Nairobi to Kisumu paid Sh2,000 for first-class, and Sh600 for the Economy Class. The journey is 12 hours with 18 stops and they will have a weekly train service.  

6.00 PM: Train arrives at the Kisumu Railway Station. 

2:25 PM: Train takes another two minutes’ stop at Londiani in Kericho County. Passengers are allowed to disembark, stretch for two minutes before the train proceeds. The next stops are Muhoroni, Chemelil and Miwani towns before heading to Kisumu.

The train leaves Londiani town in Kericho County. The next stopover will be Muhoroni in Kisumu County. [George Maringa, Standard]

1:00 PM: Passengers are free to take lunch at the restaurant section. The restaurant operates throughout and commuters are allowed to walk in anytime. 

Some passengers take lunch on the train during the Nairobi-Kisumu trip on Friday. [George Maringa, Standard]

11:50 AM: Train stops at Nakuru City. Some passengers are allowed to disembark from the train. Most of them are seen taking photos before returning to the train. Others are taking a nap. It leaves at 12:00.

A commuter takes breakfast in the restaurant on the Nairobi-Kisumu train on Friday morning. [Denish Ochieng', Standard]

Nakuru is the first stop where passengers were allowed to disembark and others allowed to board the train.  

It took the commuter train five hours to reach Nakuru City after leaving Nairobi at 6am. The train has left Nakuru at noon with the next brief stop expected at Njoro town.

11:26 AM: Police officers and KR officials walk in the coaches to ensure Covid-19 protocols are adhered to. 

Covid-19 protocols are strictly observed with all passengers wearing their masks.

Kenya Railways officials provided masks to those who did not have them. 

One of the police officers on the train headed to Kisumu. The train left Nairobi at 6am on Friday and is expected to reach Kisumu after 12 hours. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

10: 40 AM: brief stop at Gilgil, curious locals look at the train as it proceeds with the journey. Most commuters are seated in their coaches. Music playing on the train, the DJ according to Ochieng' is in one of the first-class coaches.

9:58 AM: Stopped for a minute at the Naivasha depot. Passengers are not allowed to leave the train.

A commuter takes a nap on an overhead bed one of the first-class coaches. [Denish Ochieng’, Standard]

5:45 AM: Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Phillip Mainga flagged off the maiden trip at 6am at the Nairobi Central Railway Station.

The Standard journalist Denish Ochieng says so far the trip is comfortable and enjoyable. To kill boredom, Kenya Railways provided restaurants and Ohangla music for commuters.

“It is full of fun, a lot of Ohangla music and there is a 3 by 6 [ft] bed for those who are in the first-class,” said Ochieng.

Commuters from Nairobi to Kisumu paid Sh2,000 on first-class and Sh600 fare on second-class coaches for the 12-hour journey. [Denish Ochieng', Standard]

Kenya Railways seeks to eat into the market share of bus firms such as Ena Coach, Guardian Bus Service, and Easy Coach that charge between Sh1,200 and Sh1,600 for a journey that takes an average of seven hours.

Some of the food on the menu in the Nairobi-Kisumu commuter train. Apart from normal meals, passengers are also served hard drinks and beer. [George Maringa, Standard]

The train from Kisumu on the meter-gauge railway terminates its journey at the Naivasha station, where passengers are thereafter transferred to SGR via a new 23.5-km link line to Longonot.

This link also ensures cargo from SGR moves to the MGR line at the interchange point, located at the ICD in Naivasha.

To kill boredom, Kenya Railways provided restaurants and Ohangla music for commuters. [George Maringa, Standard]

The company has spent billions of shillings on refurbishing its century-old rail network to boost bulk cargo transportation and passenger travel.

(Reporting by George Maringa, Jacinta Mutura, Denish Ochieng', and Mireri Junior)