One dead, 46 injured as train derails over bridge in Kajiado

Train detrails

Members of the at the scene where a commuter train derailed at KMQ village in Kajiado West Sub-County on July 9, 2024.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • At the time of the incident, the 100-passenger wagon was full to capacity.
  • Eyewitnesses said they heard a bang before passengers started screaming for help.

One person died and 46 others sustained injuries on Tuesday after a commuter train was involved in an accident at KMQ village in Kajiado County.

The Soda Ash Tata Chemicals commuter-cum-cargo train derailed and rolled backwards over a bridge.

The train was headed towards Kajiado town from Magadi. At the time of the incident, the 100-passenger wagon was full to capacity.

Eyewitnesses said they heard a bang before passengers started screaming for help.

Mr James Letema told the Nation he was among the first responders who helped to rescue the trapped passengers.

"The bridge almost 50 feet high. The wagon was hanging precariously, making the rescue exercise extremely difficult. The situation was further complicated by light rains at the time," said Mr Letema.

Train detrails

Members of the at the scene where a commuter train derailed at KMQ village in Kajiado West Sub-County on July 9, 2024.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

The injured were first treated at a local health facility before being transferred to Kajiado Referral Hospital for specialised treatment.

The body of the deceased, who has since been positively identified, is being preserved at the hospital mortuary.

Area resident blamed the accident on rampant vandalism of the railway line and poor visibility occasioned by heavy rains which have pounded the area.

"This is the second accident in two months. The last one involved a cargo train on the same spot. Something needs to be done," said Stephen Likama.

Kajiado Referral Hospital Medical Superintendent Fred Ayani confirmed that the facility received a total of 46 patients.

"Among the injured was a toddler and a student, while the passenger who died was a middle-aged man. Seven patients have been referred to Nairobi for specialised treatment," said Dr Ayani.

Kajiado Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho condoled with the bereaved family and consoled the injured passengers.

Train detrails

Some of the wagons of the commuter train that derailed at KMQ village in Kajiado West Sub-County on July 9, 2024.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

He urged Tata Chemicals Company to repair the railway line to avert such incidents in future.

Tata Chemicals CEO Subodh Srivastav regretted the incident saying the company will support the injured and the family of the dead passenger.

"We regret the unfortunate incident on the service that has been safely operated by the company for more than 100 years," Srivastav said.

"The extent of the incident and passenger conditions are not known at this time. While the incident is under investigation, we note the persistent and extensive vandalism of the rail line as a possible cause of the incident," the company CEO further said in a statement.

The commuter train charges Sh70 for passengers travelling over a distance of approximately 135km.

The train is managed by Tata Chemicals Magadi who operate a cargo train that transports trona from Magadi to its depot in Kajiado town before the same is transported to Mombasa for export.