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real gooner
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Kenya Railways is scouting for consultants to show it how to develop a modern commuter rail transport network linking Mombasa and Kisumu to their surrounding counties.

The State-owned agency Tuesday invited firms to express their interest, bringing the multi-billion project closer to reality.

Successful firms would undertake the technical, economic and financial viability analysis of the project, identify options and develop frameworks for financing and operation including public-private partnerships.

“The scope of the assignment will cover transport demand study, identification of major intermodal and rail transport corridors within the study area, preliminary social and environmental impact study and analysis of rail-based mass transit systems and networks,” said Lucy Njoroge, Kenya Railways procurement manager.

They would also be tasked with preparing the project Implementation schedule covering a detailed technical study, construction and commissioning.

The railway system is expected to be completed in 2017 would open up the regions for growth, reduce reliance on road transport and reduce the cost of transport between Kisumu and Mombasa.

“It will provide an efficient, cost effective and environmentally sustainable transport system that will support and spur trade, socio-economic growth in the western and coastal towns,” read the international procurement tender.

Investors have identified inadequate and poor infrastructure as one of the major challenges in doing business in the counties. Train services would be a shot in the arm for the regions as the country implements the new Constitution that provides for devolution of resources to counties. It will also reduce pressure on the roads that have been damaged by cargo trucks.

In Kisumu, the plan is to have a 70km commuter railway system from Kisumu to Mumias through Yala and Butere towns.

Other areas to be connected include Fort Tennan, Miwani, Muhoroni, Kibos, Oyugis, Kisii, Kiboswa, Mbale, and Kakamega. “The commuter system will serve commuter needs within this rich agricultural, cultural and fishing area,” said Ms Njoroge.

This is part of the corporation’s plan to develop commuter railway services in three cities, including Nairobi in the next five years, a major step towards attracting new investments in the counties.

The Mombasa network will include a new 80km railway line from the coastal town to Ramisi passing through Miritini, Dongo Kundu and Ng’ombeni. The plan would also see a new 250km commuter railway system from Mombasa to Lamu through Mtwapa, Kilifi and Malindi.

The project also entails another 80km railway line from Mombasa to Kilifi through Kaloleni and Takaungu. These three lines will support the existing Mombasa-Taveta line in opening up Mombasa and the surrounding areas.

Already, the Nairobi city commuter system has kicked off with the construction of Syokimau railway Station that is among the 10 that the railway company would build within the city before inviting private sector partners to provide wagons and management skills.

Kenya Railways is looking for investors to help it develop office blocks, hotels, light manufacturing industries, parking bays and shopping malls on its 320 acres of land surrounding the rail stations in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa — expected to cost $3.25 billion (Sh256 billion), that will support the new commuter networks.
The commuter trains would complement the government’s initiatives in infrastructure development that saw it increase its allocation to infrastructure projects this year by Sh56.6 billion to Sh221.4 billion, making it a fifth of the Sh1.1 trillion budget.
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