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The fate of Rift Valley Railways appears to have been sealed after Kenya indicated that the operator will no longer ply the Nairobi-Mombasa route on the metre gauge as the government shifted priority to the recently launched standard gauge railway, which is expected to start cargo operations in January 2018.
The confirmation by the Ministry of Transport comes as Kenya Railways prepares to strip the Nairobi-Mombasa section of the 118-year-old metre gauge railway line.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told The EastAfrican that the SGR will be the trunk line from Mombasa on Kenya's Coast to Kisumu in the western part of the country, while the metre gauge line operated by RVR retains a connectivity role for areas that the SGR will not reach.
“From Mombasa to Nairobi, we will not need the metre gauge rail any more. The current 1.2 million tonnes of cargo that RVR carries will go to the new line as we seek to revamp the interconnectivity to towns like Kitale, Nakuru Assessment
“We are currently only utilising 50 per cent or 1,000km of the old 2,100km railway network. We already have a team from Kenya Railways assessing how we will revamp these interconnectivity routes. As for the old Nairobi-Mombasa line, we have the option of uprooting it and using the proceeds from its disposal, to possibly fund the revamping of the other routes,” Mr Macharia said.
This article first appeared on www.theeastafrican.co.ke
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