Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Rift Valley Railways regrets to announce…

It seems the massive recent derailment near Mombasa was the final straw. Rift Valley Railways, which operates the long barely operational Nairobi-Mombasa passenger service, has thrown in the towel. No more passenger trains between Nairobi and the coast. That is until November 2016, they say, when they plan to put twenty refurbished passenger coaches back on the old, narrow-gauge track.

How that is supposed to tie in with the opening of the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in 2017 is anyone's guess. The new line, currently being built at breathtaking speed by the China Communications Construction Company between Mombasa and Nairobi, is set eventually to link the Indian Ocean with Uganda once again.

The SGR roughly follows the route of the old, metre-gauge "Lunatic Line", built at the end of the nineteenth century by Gujarati and Punjabi labourers and paid for by the British government.

6 comments:

  1. That's such a shame. The Nairobi-Mombasa train ride is such an interesting experience!

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  2. Isn't it! I mean wasn't it.

    On the other hand, hopefully the new standard gauge line will bring a modern railway service to Kenya, for getting between Nairobi and Mombasa, and eventually though to Kisumu and even Kampala. Well, we can dream!

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  3. The very latest in the ongoing saga of the Rift Valley Railways and the service to Mombasa is that RVR has apparently temporarily shut services in Uganda, while in Kenya, it is a possibility that the new tracks /route laid by SGR may be facing short terms delays. I have been advised my by operator, http://shoortravel.com/ , not to even consider booking the train journey anytime in the near future.

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    1. Hmm, that's strange (by the way, sorry for not posting your comment earlier, I've just been away, with limited online access). I don't think there have been any passenger rail services in Uganda for years - decades even. There won't be any Nairobi-Mombasa services until at least early 2017. As for anything operating further west, I think Seat 61 is probably the best source of information.

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