Rift Valley Railways To Spend US$23.4 Million To Repair Tracks
Friday, 20 July 2012
Rift Valley Railways (RVR), the East Africa regional rail operator, has injected 23.4 million USD into its railway transport infrastructure, including spending 19 million for the purchase of new rails to be used in the repair of worn out sections of 70 km of the permanent way between the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, and Kenya's Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa.
Another US$4.9 million have been earmarked for the construction of nine culverts on the Uganda side of the track between Busembatia and Jinja, Brown Ondego, the railway operator's group chief executive, said here Wednesday. He added that RVR last week received the first tranche of 6,869 metric tonnes of rail bars, 10,000 sleepers and other accessories at Mombasa Port.
He pointed out that RVR's primary focus was to improve the condition of the permanent way so as to improve transit times as line-speeds will increase from the restricted 25 to 30 km per hour (kmph) to 70 kmph.
The move, Ondego explained, would also provide quality and reliable rail services through operating bigger capacity trains, enhancing the efficiency of the railway operations and increasing the quality and quantity of the rolling stock.
"Once these projects are complete, the reliability and efficiency of our operations will improve significantly as we will be able to run bigger capacity trains. This will improve our loading capacity and reduce the operation's transit times," Brown added.
The first phase of this project will cost US$62.1 million and is expected to be completed by December 2014.
Dr.Cyrus Njiru, the Permanent Secretary in Kenya's Transport Ministry, said the East African governments supported RVR as a major player in the transport sector. "We see RVR as an important partner in the economic growth of our country and the region. A well performing railway system is important as it is a link from the port of Mombasa into the East Africa market," he said.
Presently, Mombasa port handles an average of 20 million tonnes of cargo annually. Conservative projections show that the freight business in East Africa is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.0 per cent over the next five years.
"We have every confidence that the turnaround programme undertaken by RVR will play its part in decongesting the port," said Dr. Nijiru.