The electrification project will involve the installation of catenary and 14 substations along the 472km route, with power being provided by Ketraco’s 400kV Mombasa-Nairobi Transmission Line (MNTL), which was energised in August 2017. The line has a transmission capacity of 1500MW, just short of current national demand of 1700MW.

Ketraco says the MNTL was constructed to address the challenges of low voltages, high transmission losses and unreliable supply in Kenya’s national electricity grid. 

However, Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) managing director Mr Atanas Maina said in a television interview last month that the country lacks the reliability of supply needed to sustain the operation of an electrified railway. “It was something that we would love to have, however, the country does not have a dependable source of electricity,” he says.

Ketraco says power for the SGR will be provided by geothermal plants, reducing CO2 emissions from train operations to zero.

Electrification is due to be completed within 28 months.