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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
France rescues JKIA rail track with Sh14bn deal

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Plans to construct a railway line linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Nairobi’s city centre are back on track after Kenya secured Sh14 billion loan from the French government.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Business Daily in an interview Friday that a commercial agreement to construct the five-kilometre line have been closed, setting the stage for start of construction from March.
The loan will also aid the revamp the old 17-kilometre railway track that links to the standard gauge railway (SGR) line at Syokimau from where the new line will be built to the airport.

Turf wars and tendering fights had derailed construction of the JKIA railway line in what threatened the deal inked by French President Emanuel Macron and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Treasury had raised the red flag over the secret procurement of a consortium of French firms to build the new railway line and declined to commit funds following a request from the Ministry of Transport.
The Transport ministry informed the Treasury that a consortium of five French companies led by Egis Group had been tapped for the railway project on the back of a financing deal agreed with Paris and commercial lender BPI France Assurance Export.
Mr Macharia said that a contractor for the airport line would be tapped ahead of March, with construction expected to be completed in under two years.
“The French government has committed to finance the construction of a new rail link passing over Mombasa Road from Syokimau standard gauge rail terminus into JKIA to the tune of Sh14 billion,” said Mr Macharia.
“The cost will also include upgrading the existing meter gauge line from the Nairobi Central Station to Syokimau train terminus.”
This suggests that the State has dropped the bid to have the JKIA rail built using private backers who were to recover their money from toll charges and instead opted for a French loan.
Man, I hope it’s dual track and fully electric. With a two year completion date. Hopefully this happens and it isn’t another Macharia stumbling block.
 

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Doesn't seem like there are any new stations planned.
France rescues JKIA rail track with Sh14bn deal

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Man, I hope it’s dual track and fully electric. With a two year completion date. Hopefully this happens and it isn’t another Macharia stumbling block.
 

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The article says it includes revamping 17km of existing railway to Syokimau. Previously, we heard that it would be electric (this article doesn't mention it.) If that is the case, the amount also contains construction of substations and connecting them to the grid, which is presumably more expensive because it's the first time this is done in Kenya.
 

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France rescues JKIA rail track with Sh14bn deal

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Man, I hope it’s dual track and fully electric. With a two year completion date. Hopefully this happens and it isn’t another Macharia stumbling block.
Can i ask,i am trying to wrap my mind around this thing,wouldn’t it not be of economic and longevity in having the China way as stated in the article ,the SGR that is...compared to the french one ?
 

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Do you mean from an economic perspective or from a technical perspective, i.e. Chinese standards for railway construction (type of carriages, signalling system, etc.)?
 

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I don't know about economics. It seems the government decided that France provided a better deal than China.

From a technical perspective I don't think it matters much. On freight railways it makes sense to follow our neighbours: for instance, using the same type of couplers on freight wagons (and the automatic couplers from China are clearly superior to the buffers and chain which are still commonplace on European freight trains.) An airport train is a relatively self-contained service whose trains don't leave their line and don't need to couple to others.

I don't know about the current signalling and communication system; whether it needs to be replaced before the new line comes into service. Both countries have plenty of experience with such systems.
Both China and France use either 1500V DC or 25kV AC on their electrified railways, so that doesn't make a difference either.
 

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So it's basically an SGR - JKIA link. Likely standard gauge and electrified.
 

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Ndii weighs in....I know he is not popular here
I don't like his arguments but I think on this one he's kinda right. This one seems more of a kickback or just courting the French for any kind of business than a genuine plan to sort the transport mess between JKIA and the city. Opportunism at its best. Most of these European countries are desperately in need of business in promising African nations and the French just happen to be aggressively pursuing the Chinese route.
 

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I don't like his arguments but I think on this one he's kinda right. This one seems more of a kickback or just courting the French for any kind of business than a genuine plan to sort the transport mess between JKIA and the city. Opportunism at its best. Most of these European countries are desperately in need of business in promising African nations and the French just happen to be aggressively pursuing the Chinese route.
And the Chinese are no longer interested in funding Kenya using commercial loans...they want their first loan paid up.
 

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And the Chinese are no longer interested in funding Kenya using commercial loans...they want their first loan paid up.
True, they seem more focused on recouping their investments first. Also, they've cut spending on the BRI which has affected most countries on that route. Some argue that as much they are cash-rich, they're too exposed for their conservative approach to money. But then again, they can't turn down a PPP for such a lucrative project. The more you look at this you can just see we're desperately in need of that French money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #98 ·
So it's basically an SGR - JKIA link. Likely standard gauge and electrified.
It makes a lot more sense to just electrify the MGR network with dual tracks and concrete sleepers.
 

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The problem with MGR is availability of rolling stock. Meter gauge is becoming obsolete save for a few countries in Europe. Kenya shouldn't build any new meter gauge rail. Even the existing light rail ones should slowly be overhauled to standard gauge. It will make it easier to procure rolling stock.
It makes a lot more sense to just electrify the MGR network with dual tracks and concrete sleepers.
 

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They should go straight to the SGR rail for this one and electrify it and make it dual lines. This should be used as the standard for metro rail in Kenya going forward.
 
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