The Thika-Nanyuki Metre Gauge Railway will ultimately open up the Central Region Economic Bloc (CEREB), His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia has said.
Speaking today when he attended the second Thika-Nanyuki MGR Stakeholder Engagement and Familiarization tour in Kiganjo, Nyeri County, Governor Kimemia said the flagship project will spark economic growth across Central Kenya in line with His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ongoing Economic Stimulus Program.
The tour comes a few weeks after the launch of the Nanyuki Railway line in Laikipia County.
The Thika – Nanyuki Branch line is part of the Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) in Kenya.
It has a direct route length of 177.2 kilometres.
The Branch line was constructed in three phases, namely Nairobi to Thika, completed in 1913; Thika to Naromoru, completed in 1927; and Naromoru to Nanyuki, completed in 1931.
From Nairobi Central Railway Station, the branch line traverses Nairobi, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Laikipia Counties.
The scope of works for the project entails site clearance of the entire corridor and removal of encroachments; rehabilitation of the permanent way infrastructure; refurbishment of rolling stock; and leasing of 8no. Locomotives for use in operations.
In this morning’s ceremony at the Kiganjo Station, Governor Kimemia thanked President Kenyatta for his commitment towards economic growth in the region.
“This railway line will ultimately link us as a region to the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project in Isiolo, completely opening up our bloc,” said the Governor, who heads CEREB.
The LAPSSET Corridor Program is Eastern Africa’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project, bringing together Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
Governor Kimemia called for consultations with all stakeholders in the transport sector, saying that nobody should be pushed out of business by re-introduction of the railway line.
At the same time, the Governor urged Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) to fast-track the process of opening up the third phase that connects Gilgil to Ol’Kalou, all the way to Nyahururu.
The extension is a specific commitment the Governor made in the third pillar of his manifesto ahead of his election in 2017, in which he promised to lobby the National Government to rehabilitate the section and ultimately upgrade it to a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.
KRC Managing Director Mr. Phillip Maingi said the corporation is determined to speed up renovations on the said line for the benefit of residents.
Accompanied by his counterparts Excellencies Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) and Nderitu Muriithi (Laikipia), Governor Kimemia later got a smooth ride on the newly-opened line from Kiganjo to Sagana in Kirinyaga County, which is approximately 50 kilometres.
In attendance were County Executive Committee Members Hon. Daniel Wangenye (Transport, Energy and Public Works) and Hon. Raphael Njui (Industrialization, Trade and Co-operatives), alongside Chief of Staff Mr. Charles Wachira and Chief Officer Ms. Florence Annan (Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development).