Commuters looking to travel from Syokimau to Suswa can now do so by the newly launched Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) route 2B, but Kenyans raised concern on its terminal station which is far off any big town. The Ksh150 billion project is the second phase of the SGR.
President Uhuru Kenyatta promised Kenyans that the project to get the SGR to Malaba was still under the government’s plans when he opened the second phase of the SGR on Wednesday. The president admitted that the project faced a few challenges trying to get the railway line past Suswa (where it currently terminates).
He, however, said that the railway will be built to its original target to maximise on its economic benefits. As he joined other leaders in the maiden train ride on the newly completed Section 2B, President Kenyatta asked Kenyans to be patient as the government ensures the project reaches its intended destination.
“Just like we completed the Mombasa-Nairobi section, we will also ensure this project gets to its destination. There will be challenges along the way but that does not mean we will not do it,” President Kenyatta said.
Mr. Kenyatta’s pledge to complete the SGR comes in the backdrop of funding challenges that will see the line stop at Suswa for now, creating an economic viability challenge for the Ksh150 billion project.
The commuter services between the Syokimau Station and Suswa (about 100 kilometres) are expected to start today with passengers expected to pay Ksh200 for a one-way trip. There will also be daily commuter services from Ngong and Nairobi termini from Monday to Friday where commuters will pay Ksh100 per trip
Regional leaders accompanied the president on the train ride including Transport CS James Macharia and his devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa, Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, Nairobi’s Mike Sonko, Alfred Mutua (Machakos) among other leaders.
The completion date of the Nairobi-Naivasha section of the Standard Gauge Railway had previously been rescheduled.
The contractor had said it would be unable to meet the June deadline for the multibillion-shilling second phase of the rail network and instead gave a new August date.