The trains will be used to expand capacity on the four commuter lines which radiate from Nairobi’s Central Business District to Syokimau, Ruiru, Embakasi and Kikuyu.
The trains are part of a fleet of 11 second-hand DMUs acquired by KRC from Mallorcan Railway Services (SFM), under a Shillings 1.5bn ($US 13.76m) agreement signed in March 2019.
The trains were originally built by CAF between 1995 and 2003, and were sold by SFM following the completion of electrification of the Mallorcan network.
The trains were purchased as part of the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service (NCRS) project, which aims to modernise and expand the city’s under-utilised commuter rail infrastructure to reduce congestion on roads and create an efficient and affordable mass rapid transit system.
The project includes upgrades to existing stations, rolling stock, signalling systems and around 100km of track, as well as the construction of new stations in Buru Buru, Pipeline, Umoja, Githurai, Donholm.
The project will be carried out in three phases:
- Phase 1 - which will upgrade the four existing commuter lines as well as the creation of a new rail link to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and is due to open in 2021
- Phase 2 - which will extend commuter services to Thika, Limuru, and Lukenya, and
- Phase 3 - which will improve accessibility to rail services for the towns of Ongata Rongai, Kiserian, Ngong, Kiambu, Ruai and Kangemi.
The upgrades will improve safety, reliability and comfort, and increase capacity from five million passengers annually to 15 million following the completion of Phase 1, and to 60 million following the completion of the entire project.
During the visit to Nairobi Central, Kenyatta also inaugurated a new customs facility at KRC’s Bomaline freight depot, which is intended to deal with small consignments and will reduce congestion at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot where freight is transferred to the 729km Mombasa - Nairobi - Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
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