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.