The government is rehabilitating the Naivasha-Malaba railway line, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said.
Speaking after leading the National Development and Implementation Communication Cabinet Committee on a tour the inland container depot (ICD) in Naivasha and an inspection of the construction of the meter gauge railway (MGR) line to Longonot on Tuesday, Mr Macharia termed the 465-kilometre stretch as critical for development.
He said the 23-kilometre interchange line at Longonot in Naivasha that connects the new SGR line to the old route will be completed in the next three months.
“The project was sanctioned by the government to ensure connectivity from the port of Mombasa to Malaba,” he said.
Mr Macharia said the upgrade will speed up transportation of cargo within the region, with the rehabilitation of the Malaba route expected to be completed by September.
Reactivate passenger train
The Transport CS told journalists that the passenger train which is not currently in use will be reactivated, and will be ferrying travellers to the Kenyan border town.
“What we are doing in Naivasha is to create a transhipment centre that will ensure that goods are ferried from the SGR to the MGR with efficiency,” he added.
The government, he further said, is banking on infrastructural development to spur economic growth.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration had created a conducive environment for investment to thrive, he said, adding that an integrated development plan will ensure the whole country is developed.
Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa defended the SGR project, saying the move to rehabilitate the Naivasha-Malaba route is a “master stroke.”
Spur economic growth
“Completion of the national project is vital in spurring economic growth with the connectivity of the various counties,” CS Wamalwa said.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala hailed the construction of the SGR, saying it had shored up economic activities within the Coast region and other parts of the country, including Naivasha.
“Infrastructural development is also a key driver of tourism and we are all in support of what is happening,” said the CS.
Industrialisation CS Betty Maina, who accompanied the team, revealed that several investors have applied to set up industries at the Special Economic Zone.
“We have seven investors who have been allocated land at the 1,000-acre zone with players in the hospitality industry showing a willingness to set up hotels within the area,” she said.
The meter gauge railway line is being rehabilitated by a multi-agency team, being part of a broad government strategy to consolidate the country's position as the leading trade gateway to the East African hinterland.