Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday opened the second phase of the standard gauge railway (SGR) with the promise to complete the project to the border town Malaba as was originally envisioned.
The President said despite the challenges expected in taking the project beyond Suswa ,in Rift Valley where it currently terminates, the railway will be built to its original target to maximise on its economic benefits.
Mr Kenyatta, who joined other leaders in the maiden train ride on the newly completed Section 2B, asked Kenyans to be patient as the government ensures the project reaches its intended destination.
“Just like we completed the Mombasa-Nairobi section, we will also ensure this project gets to its destination. There will be challenges along the way but that does not mean we will not do it,” Mr Kenyatta said.
The commuter services between the Syokimau Station and Suswa (about 100 kilometres) are expected to start today with passengers expected to pay Ksh200 ($2) for a one-way trip.
There will also be daily commuter services from Ngong and Nairobi termini on the outskirts of Nairobi from Monday to Friday where commuters will pay Ksh100 ($1) per trip.
Mr Kenyatta’s pledge to complete the SGR comes in the backdrop of funding challenges that will see the line stop at Suswa for now, creating an economic viability challenge for the Ksh150 billion ($1.5 billion) project.
Regional leaders accompanied the president on the train ride including Transport CS James Macharia and his devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa, Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, Nairobi’s Mike Sonko, Alfred Mutua (Machakos) among other leaders.