Wednesday, September 9, 2009



September 7 2009

The journey to Mombasa from Nairobi will be just three hours
Imagine travelling at 160km per hour... in a train!

The prospect of this dream becoming a reality in Kenya grew on Monday when Kenya Railways Corporation advertised a tender for a standard gauge line to run from Mombasa to Malaba.

Such a line would shorten the train journey from Nairobi to Mombasa from 10 to only three hours.

Prospective transaction advisers and design consultants have until January 15, 2010, to forward their bids.


Their proposed assignment includes project marketing, investor identification and supporting selection of consultants to monitor detailed design, building and commissioning of the railway.

“Construction is scheduled to commence in May 2011,” the corporation’s managing director, Mr Nduva Muli, said in a two-page paid up advertisement.

The railway line, which will stretch from Mombasa to Malaba on the Kenya/Uganda border with a branch to Kisumu, would see double-decker passenger trains introduced in the region.

According to the government’s timetable, the Mombasa-Nairobi section of the line will be complete by 2013, Nairobi-Kisumu by 2016, and Nairobi-Malaba by 2016.

“The government recognised the need to build the new modern railway in order to increase capacity and improve efficiency, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness of the transport sector,” the advertisement says.

The move signals the government’s admission that the 25-year concession of the current Kenya-Uganda railway to Rift Valley Railways, a consortium led by South Africa’s Sheltam Ltd, in 2006 has not lived up to its expectations.

The concession to RVR is the subject of a court case after Kenya Railways Corporation expressed a desire to terminate the contract.
In this year’s budget, Sh3 billion was allocated to initiate the revamping of the over 100-year old railway system.


Submitted by tombosir
Posted September 09, 2009 02:18 AM

Good idea, let the cynics step aside. With proper planning on the wheels, anything can happen. Who ever thought Obama would be a president in the US, but with good planning see where he is. so with great ambition backed by good planning and tooling up, we can. Who said that highspeed trains belong only to the west. I suggest we start believing, (as arsene wenger would put it) and putting our leaders to account.The corrupt officials will be scared to throw a spanner in the works...

Submitted by Edkobu
Posted September 09, 2009 01:56 AM

Right, fix the basics first before having such marvelous not easily attainable dreams. Sure with the speed calculated on paper, it is true the train can get to mombasa in 3hrs, but with all the power cuts and rationing, I believe that train will get to Mombasa after 16hrs. POWER ITERRUPTION!!

Submitted by alickmwangi
Posted September 09, 2009 01:50 AM

Some of the comments I keep reading are simply retarded. Jsalmin, I assume you live in a cave,in fear that the power you consume will kill you in your sleep. Or you refuse to take the bus or drive to work fearing impending lateness.You are the sole reason we are 200 years behind the West. Maybe we need to shut down our fibre optic and telecomm ventures as well, because should they fail, would cost us millions? Retarded mindsets will get us nowhere.

Submitted by We_need_a_revolution
Posted September 09, 2009 01:33 AM

I do not know if some of you remember what Mutula Kilonzo was promising when he was appointed minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Area.... He was busy singing that smart buses like those ones in use in most of Europe would be on Nairobi Roads and a separate lane for them buses... How did that go??? Apparently in Kenya people seem to give us false hopes then somehow that remains just that a far away hope...

Submitted by truthofthematter
Posted September 09, 2009 01:27 AM

I live in California and they do not have high-speed rail. They first took care of Agriculture and roads. A half of CA is a desert, but that desert feeds the rest of America. If we take that much money and build mega-dams in Eastern and N eastern, and means to distribute the water to farms after the next El nino, Kenya can feed itself and have extra to export. Lets be realistic, Kenyans do not travel that much, because they can not afford. Who needs high speed trains?

Submitted by caseka58
Posted September 09, 2009 12:40 AM

I do not understand why some bloogers are pessimistic here. I thought we are harnessing wind power in Northern Kenya which will generate more electricity for the nation.At least this is a step forward and lets encourage it

Submitted by waliz
Posted September 09, 2009 12:21 AM

couldn't agree with you more adhiambosinda. stop bragging about your abroad exposure and we all know how you are treated out there..mtatukuta hapa hapa tu!

Submitted by Jellyfish
Posted September 08, 2009 11:58 PM

This is why Kenya cannot develope. Cynics who prevent the country from developing and then blame the govt for lack of foresight. This is why democracy is sometimes counterproductive. If we listen to this cynics we wouldn't do anything. First they said we can't have nuclear for electricity. Now they say the train can't work bcoz there is no electricity. I say to the govt push on infact go for maglev train systems.

Submitted by kamaumaina
Posted September 08, 2009 11:45 PM

frysaken: From a project perspective, the two are very much similar, you spend more initially to save in the long run.The amount of fuel you need for freight and passenger transport could be more than double the cost for the train, not even considering cost of the lost productivity. The savings from the oil import bill can be used to generate more power, and better still, we can plough the savings into the Turkana wind farm set to commence soon.

Submitted by oiseaubleu
Posted September 08, 2009 10:39 PM

I bet the Chinese are a very happy lot at the moment.I can just see them now.Rushing to bid before the January deadline

Submitted by areke clement
Posted September 08, 2009 10:32 PM

Don't marvel at 160kph!!!! From Frankfurt to Cologne is 350km and takes 45mins with the same train pictured above.

Submitted by Deepwest
Posted September 08, 2009 10:19 PM

DREAMERS!!!!! High speed trains don't run on diesel....Bure kabisa!!!! You don't have enough power to light our homes yet you talk about electricity to run such trains??? Ovyo sana. Germans are cracking their heads trying to solve technical problems of these trains, yet you the guts to dream when you cannot even manage RVR to performance! These trains don't just run, so much support technology must be in place. Kenya doesn't have even a drop...Engineering in the varsities still based on 1985 syllabus.. What a shame!! PLANLESS DREAMERS. SOLVE THE ENERGY PROBLEM FIRST!!

Submitted by miwanyu
Posted September 08, 2009 10:02 PM

We have ourselves lots of Debbie downers here. Well under sea cable was considered a waste most people were suggesting we repair the telephone network. Some times we have to leap years in order to showcase innovation spirit. For instance it wasnt necessary for Man to go to the moon but we developed spin off technology for that. You who is making noise what do you propose to do or have you done to keep up your end. eg food have you helped someone today, electricity have you mobilized the community to look into alternatives like solar?

Submitted by gathoni
Posted September 08, 2009 09:39 PM

Ah dreams....reminds me of a very nice song by the everly brothers - All i have to do is dream... sung decades b4 even my parents met. But if the govt. is serious it can be reality.

Submitted by Majicman
Posted September 08, 2009 08:55 PM

I thought KR was concessioned for the next 25 years, have they woken up from slumber and told off their dreams? How amazing Kenya works, whoof!

Submitted by jsalmin
Posted September 08, 2009 08:52 PM

Lets wake up to reality, kenya does not have electricity to light peoples homes! the thing will be stuck in the middle of tsavo cause of black out! secondly safety, our drivers they will plunge this thing in the river and kill hundreds! we are known to be careless, this is a recipe for disaster!!

Submitted by frysasken
Posted September 08, 2009 06:46 PM

kamaumaina: The undersea cable is completely different from a high speed train. A high speed train is powered by electricity. You can have such a train without fixing the power first. Currently, our power is dependent on the weather and the weather has not been on our side lately. We need to fix the roads, jobs, the famine, corruption, health centers. People will need to afford to travel on these high speed trains!

Submitted by Magathuka
Posted September 08, 2009 06:41 PM

Those who seem to think that any idea coming out of Kenya is bound to fail should tell us what their solutions are instead of complaining all the time. To achieve well founded development, we must invest in infrastructure, there is no short-cut. Way to go KR. Prove them cynics wrong.

Submitted by ThinkKenya
Posted September 08, 2009 06:25 PM

Lets not be negative, i think where there is will to do things, nothing which is impossible, it may seem to be a dream, but i still think that we are the best nation in east and central africa, if we have leaders working seriously as common mwananchi do then this will be done. By the way it something we need. Dream come fast before the real thing, thats why today we can talk of fibre optic cable

Submitted by wanaruonawikenya
Posted September 08, 2009 05:20 PM

The high speed trains use electricity; how many time do you think they will stop because of blackout??? I guess from Mombasa to Nairobi b4 KPLC staff restore electricty one will be spending the night in the train. The idea is good but Wakora wa KPLC na KPC cannot manage the trains...

Submitted by 14middlehof
Posted September 08, 2009 04:57 PM

THIS IS NONSENCE we dont have enough electricity to run this kind of we have rationig of power in nairobi and other part of the country and this people are busy talking of high speed train...hahahahaha this is corruptin coming soooooon..

Submitted by kamaumaina
Posted September 08, 2009 04:17 PM

Let's not be negative here. Nobody would have thought an Undersea cable would be a reality within 10 years of project conception. Now we have one live and two on the way. We can sort out rail preferably as Greater East Africa including South Sudan and Ethiopia, then we move to electricity, possibly one nuclear plant for the whole region.

Submitted by altec156
Posted September 08, 2009 04:12 PM

Why is it that our leaders just wake up and decide they want something and expect it to succeed?High speed train?That will not work,it is a disaster waiting to happen.Dont forget the rail road passes through villages where we have animals grazing and children playing.It is a good idea at the wrong time without proper planning.Not the Kenya today.

Submitted by jaukakathevillager
Posted September 08, 2009 03:54 PM

Let the dream come true. Kwani waKenya hawaruhusiwi kuota? I was surprised at the pace at which the Chinese engineers are changing the face of Kenya's road network. Let the sceptics be skeptical but, Kazi inaendelea.

Submitted by maziwa_lala
Posted September 08, 2009 03:44 PM

The high speed trains need proper rails otherwise we will have train accidents

Submitted by adhiambosianda
Posted September 08, 2009 03:35 PM

Kenya Railways has said it will happen, and I believe it will. Most of the comments here are from cynical Kenyans living abroad more keen to boast of their exposure and what they have seen, in the hope that they will impress villagers like us. Skepticism is ok, but cynicismis downright unacceptable. The cynic says it cannot happen. The skeptic says, give me the evidence. Get the evidence from KR.

Submitted by yesuwangu
Posted September 08, 2009 02:14 PM

the thing will take 20years to implement in kenya and in dubai it took 2years to implement. 2010-2015 biding for contractors 2015-2020 looking for money.2020-2025 constraction start and stop due to cash.2030 railway finished no trains and money stolen by corrupt dont surprise kenyans what they might never see soon

Submitted by audalla
Posted September 08, 2009 01:27 PM

It's not April Fools Day today? is it?

Submitted by vnajit
Posted September 08, 2009 01:04 PM

Ha ha ha! Dream on! By the way, how can one cover a distance of about 720km (Mombasa to Malaba) in 3 hours at 160kph?? Simple maths- that's abt 4.5 hours

Submitted by mukirijohn
Posted September 08, 2009 12:26 PM

Tell this people to JUST SHUT UP!!!High speed train... double-decker??? Just F-O . first feed, house and protect citizens then start eating your teeth about western infrastructure!!

Submitted by rofi
Posted September 08, 2009 11:38 AM

Today is not April 1. Why are you running this 'story'? You know, some people might take it seriously!!

Submitted by kovik
Posted September 08, 2009 11:38 AM

This is just another white elephant and smells of corruption while tendering!Why cant the gvt invest in modern farming and infrustructure to solve the hunger problem which is almost permanent in our country?Kenyans need food security first so that we can travel on supersonic speed trains with full stomachs!

Submitted by Jarawilandong
Posted September 08, 2009 11:15 AM

I hope it is not going to be a white elephant just other projects had before. If Kenya wants to be a vibrant economy then infrastructure must be high on the agenda to realise the 2030 rhetoric.There should also be genuine contactors and not the cow boy that system is used to.

Submitted by Akaali
Posted September 08, 2009 10:51 AM

Is today April 1st?

Submitted by patwach
Posted September 08, 2009 10:35 AM

This cant happen in kenya

Submitted by oletiptip
Posted September 08, 2009 10:21 AM

This i'll have to see, touch and go in to believe. That it will happen, politics and corruption will dig its claws into this project some how ,i pray that im wrong

Submitted by munduumwe
Posted September 08, 2009 09:54 AM

Absolutely commendable!!. It will greatly improve domestic tourism, and trade. This is what we expect of the government - to improve our infrastructure and communication. Kudos to the Kibaki government for the mere thought of doing this. Now, let us get it implemented, on time and on budget!. In South Africa, Gautrain will soon be riding fast.

Submitted by frysasken
Posted September 08, 2009 08:16 AM

This sounds nice but i guess its one of those dreams that mutula and githae have become famous for. Its like crossing the bridge before getting there! Kenya is a country in darkness and where will the electricity to run these trains come from?

Submitted by ChezKen
Posted September 08, 2009 03:47 AM

We heard of mass rapid transport light rail to for the city! Is that now forgoten? Be realistic and compute how much it will cost, then tell us where the money will come from.

Submitted by mawingo130
Posted September 08, 2009 03:35 AM

While this is a good idea, contractors should also put a strong fence along the route to avoid accidents from wild animals, cattle and curiuos Kenyans.This train is so fast that have any contact with the metal rail.I hope the railway will be firmly mounted to avoid strong human-fish muscles from uprooting it during 2012 general elections.

Submitted by orokooyaro
Posted September 08, 2009 02:56 AM

Seriously, without looking pessimistic, how do see a high speed train as an achievement in a country were we eat wild fruits to survive, grab land and beg for foreign cash to resettle the land grabber.......,! My mind boggles!!!

Submitted by Jonundu
Posted September 08, 2009 02:54 AM

This is a big lie. You need first a power line, double-line and a real dedicated and afocussed noncorrupt officials. It will not happen. After colonialism we have never developed this sector like many otherones. it is just bla, bla, bla....

Submitted by Shompolesp
Posted September 08, 2009 02:16 AM

Why not start with elevated mono-rail trains out of Nairobi carrying about 500 commuters at a time to decongest the city traffic. Such trains can run from: 1:City to Ruiru-Thika 2:City to Embakasi 3:City to Athi River-Kitengela 4:City to Ongata Ronkai-Kiserian-Ngong-Karen-back to City. 5:City-Kawangware-Uthiru-Limuru. 6:City-Kiambu-Githunguri Etc, etc Kenyans who have worked on similar projects in the US cities can help!!

Submitted by benosoo
Posted September 08, 2009 02:04 AM

Sounds good although I have never seen a double-decker trains.

Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted September 08, 2009 01:36 AM

Why travel at only 160km/h? Build lines that can be used for higher speeds other than rebuilt another line in 2030. In 1900 the lines we have today allowed trains to travel very fast in the standards of those days. Here in France we travel faster than 160km/h i.e more than twice that speed. Did you notice that the train in the picture is electric?

Submitted by fourshotz
Posted September 08, 2009 01:27 AM

This country has its priorities in a muddle kweli. Why buy a wheel if you dont own a car? Kwanza correct power supply issues then consider trains that only function in an environment with a steady supply. These guys want to put up doors before the foundation. Tthoh.

Submitted by jofread
Posted September 08, 2009 01:03 AM

Nice idea, a train going wit this speed trough Kibera slums, where rowdy youths just have uprooted the line. Dream on. Even the timetable is not possible.

Submitted by OGADOSAMWEL
Posted September 07, 2009 11:58 PM

Imagine trains cutting through tsavo at 160 mph with all the game (elephants) and maasai cattle. The cowcatcher might not be very useful at these speeds....

Submitted by abcdef
Posted September 07, 2009 11:49 PM

A great move in the right direction, but will the hungry Kenyan politicians let this pull off??

Submitted by coldcase
Posted September 07, 2009 11:25 PM

Just another wild dream!! which country has IDPs, slums everywhere, people without piped water, electricity or sewer systems and has HIGH SPEED TRAINS??? Just fix the basics first!! Good to dream though. Just a heads up Kenyans...These trains use electricity which I believe Kenya has very little of!!!

Submitted by ikiplagat
Posted September 07, 2009 11:20 PM

why this unneccessary obssession?? First,the journey to Mombasa usuually takes 6 hrs...don't tell me buses and cars move at 50km/hr..and then, 160KPH isnt something to marvel about.I travelled from Malaga to Madrid at 330km/hr.