December in Kenya is one of the most magical times of the year and probably the busiest month, fun-filled with glitzy and glam festivities of Christmas, as many people make their journey home for the holidays. It is, therefore, convenient to understand how to book SGR online.
And since we can count the days to start marking its special occasions and merrymaking, you can already immerse yourself in the bustle of the season onboard the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train.
Kenya is still growing its high-speed rail network, and so far, the SGR is its most developed rail network, with a total length of about 480km. Its passenger trains travel at top speeds of 120km/h and can accommodate up to 1,096 people per train trip along its Mombasa – Nairobi routes.
SGR is also called Madaraka Express since it took its first-ever public ride on June 1, 2017, during the Madaraka Day public holiday immediately after its completion and inauguration by the Kenyan president, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. It remains a milestone infrastructure for Kenya as a country.
Constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) per Class I Chinese railway standards, SGR operates from two main termini – Nairobi and Mombasa Terminus – alongside seven other intermediate stations in Mtito Andei, Voi, Athi River, Emali, Mariakani, Miasenyi and Kibwezi.
SGR offers a fantastic means of traversing these locations aboard its Inter-County, Express, and Suswa trains for budget and time-conscious backpackers and regular passengers.
It takes approximately four and a half hours to travel by SGR train from Mombasa to Nairobi, a trip that usually takes almost 10 hours by bus. Moreover, it is a cheaper alternative to planes besides being environment-friendly by reducing carbon footprint as trains are responsible for a lot less emissions than cars.
How to Book SGR
SGR tickets can be booked online, bought directly at the railway stations, or via its USSD *639#. Although payments are easily made via M-Pesa irrespective of the method used, booking these train tickets on its e-ticketing platform online is the most convenient method because it is time-saving.
Here is how you can book your SGR tickets online;
1. Visit metickets.krc.co.ke
2. On top of the homepage, navigate to ‘Madaraka Express – Online Booking’ and select the SGR train type you would like to travel in.
3. Fill the ‘FROM’ and ‘TO’ sections with your departure point and destination, respectively.
4. Give your departure date and hit ‘Book a Train’ to see scheduled SGR rides on the selected day.
5. On the new page, add your passenger(s) details and choose coach type as either First or Economy class, then click ‘Book a Train’ to proceed with SGR online booking.
6. Supply other required booking information and enter your phone number to pay the displayed cost of travel
7. Confirm the train ticket reservation details and click on ‘Pay Now’ to make the required SGR fare.
8. A prompt will be sent to your phone. Enter your M-Pesa PIN to confirm the transaction, and wait for about two minutes before it is validated
After making the train fare payment via M-Pesa, the SGR booking status will turn from pending to paid on the booking summary page on the online booking channel. Further, you will see your ticket number, a 25 digit serial number, and seat number with other trip details like the travel date, route, and train type.
SGR tickets are printable at the ticketing offices in the station before boarding the train on the departure date. Now you know how to book SGR.