Festive season: Kenya Railways scales down city train services

A view of the Nairobi Central Railway Station.

Photo credit: File

The Kenya Railways Corporation has scaled down Nairobi Commuter Rail operations in the festive season.

Some trains will not operate between Tuesday, December 28, and Monday, January 2, 2022.

The state-owned entity halted the service to Ruiru, Embakasi Village, Limuru, Syokimau and Lukenya on Tuesday over low passenger numbers during Christmas and New Year festivities.

But the daily Madaraka Express train passenger service between Nairobi and Mombasa (SGR) will continue in order to cash in on the high number of passengers travelling between the two cities for holiday activities.

SGR train services between Nairobi and Suswa in Narok on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays will also continue.

Normal train operations on the affected routes will resume next week as passenger numbers increase when offices and businesses reopen.

“We wish to notify our customers that the Nairobi Commuter Rail service to Ruiru, Embakasi Village, Limuru, Syokimau and Lukenya in Kitengela are halted from December 28, 2021, to January 2, 2022,” Kenya Railways said.

Cheaper mode of transport

“Normal commuter operations will resume on January 3, 2022,” it added.

Also still operating is the link service between the Nairobi Central station and the Nairobi terminus, the Safari train between Nairobi and Nanyuki, and the recently relaunched metre gauge railway service between Nairobi and Kisumu, both on Fridays and Sundays.

The low-cost Safari trains have become popular this festive period for passengers travelling to Nanyuki and Kisumu as matatu and bus operators significantly increased their fares because of high demand.

Kenya Railways charges Sh200 in economy class for the seven-and-half-hour journey to Nanyuki, less than half the fares charged by matatus, while the 12-hour train to Kisumu costs Sh600.

The trains have also been a hit for travellers with heavy luggage seeking a cheaper mode of transport.

“Whereas we encourage passengers to bring along luggage that they can easily and comfortably carry, and which can be loaded on board through the passenger access, we have not put in place any new restrictions regarding the number, size and weight of items a passenger can carry as luggage,” Kenya Railways told passengers.

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