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At the start of the construction of the Mombasa to Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project in October, 2014, there will be approximately 1,500 experts from Chinese working on the project. This figure will increase to approximately 5,000 experts at the peak of the construction period in early 2017 and subsequently decline to less than 1,000 experts once the railway is fully operational in December, 2018. Each of the experts will be playing a definite role to deliver the SGR project. It should be remembered that Kenya, like many other African, South American, Asian and a few European countries, lacks expertise in SGR development hence the need to import expertise. But even then, the experts will only be deployed within those sophisticated railway construction technology installations that are not yet available in the country including: installation of SGR specific 36 kilometres of viaduct, manufacture and installation of millions of concrete sleepers, installation of signalling and other facilities for safe trains operations, installation of modern marshalling yards, etc.

All the experts will be on work permits and KR will have a say on whether they are required or not. In addition, a training programme for on-job training and technology transfer is under preparation where locals will be attached to the experts to gain sufficient experience enabling them to take over the running of the railway once it is fully operational and to be available for SGR expansion in the country and the region.

There is a misconception that the construction phase of a railway is the most important phase. This is not the case remembering that the construction phase occupies a mere three to four years of the estimated total life of a railway of more than 200 years during which the benefits will far outweigh the pitfalls during the construction. A typical example is the existing metre gauge railway, which had similar challenges during installation but subsequently played a major role in the development of this country. Let us therefore give support to the installation of SGR infrastructure to be able to benefit from the many advantages it will offer.


The world has become a “global village” and human migration will continue to intensify. Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are the leading countries in Africa exploiting human migration, where you are bound to meet with a national of one of these countries resident and comfortable in most of the 180 plus countries including China and Japan. The repatriation of the three million Kenyans in the Diaspora back home would be a bigger headache for the country than 5,000 Chinese coming to offer their expertise on the standard gauge railway project. Those countries that have introduced discriminatory legislation against foreigners have stagnated economically due to “in-breading” compared to the more superior “cross fertilization”.


During the construction period, there will be direct employment opportunities for at least 30,000 Kenyans of all categories. These will be within unskilled and semi-skilled regimes. There will be some opportunities for skilled personnel but these are unlikely to be taken by locals due to lack of interest in technical training in this country where all the youths and adults alike troupe for University degree education ignoring the more lucrative and rewarding technical training.

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Happening now, Kisumu ASK Show.

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Did you know there ever was a bicycle designed to run on the railway line. Indeed and The Permanent Way Inspector's Bicycle is one of the most amusing items ever associated with the existence of the lunatic line .
Can you imagine riding on a bicycle along the railway line from Mombasa to Machakos? Must have been an exciting endeavour and at the same time an excruciatingly arduous experience.
Well you can get see the bicycle and get a feel of lunacy of the line only at the Nairobi Railway Museum.

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During construction, the Standard Gauge Railway project will seek to make maximum use of locally available equipment and materials. The Categories include:
Explosives, detonators and fuse like Ammonia dynamite and Emulsion explosive

Building Materials for houses and other facilities: Sand, Aggregate, Cement, Cinder, Rebar

Tools, small equipments and instruments, spare parts like Cut-off, machine, Bending machine, Cutting machine, Electric welder, Straightener, Upsetting machine, Straight thread machine, Mixing machine, Internal vibrator, Plate vibrator, Grooving machine, etc..

Equipment leasing which includes Pavement roller, Excavator, Pushdozer, Ball-grader, Self-discharging truck, Flat truck.

Don't miss out

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Extension of the platform at imara Daima and Syokimau railway station is ongoing. Commuters through Imara Daima railway station will use a set of temporary staircase to board and alight from the train. Commuters at Syokimau railway station will continue to use the platform even as the works progress.
The extension of the platforms at the stations will enable us to increase the number of coaches per train and ease congestion in the congestion.
Kindly bear with us s we work to improve our services and serve you better

  • 513 days ago via site
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During construction, the standard guage railway project will seek to make maximum use of local employees and will employ about 30,000 local people per year. The project will transform the lives of the locals through technology transfer and training of the technicians and workers equipping them with skills suitable for self employment even after the construction period.

The categories for employment include:
Human Resource,
Security Personnel,
Among others

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The ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line will ensure 40 per cent of the total project value is directed towards locally available resources. Categories include works subcontracting for example: Stone pitching subcontractor; Slope grass planting subcontractor; Ditch subcontracting

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In the year before World War one, warships from the British Royal Navy were stationed at strategic ports around the world to protect the trade routes of the British empire. East Africa at that time was comprised of two colonies of British and German East Africa now Kenya and Tanzania. In East Africa, ships were based at Simontown in South Africa with regular patrols along the coast at Zanzibar and Mombasa.

Konigsberg was one of a new class of fast well armed cruisers built in the years before the First World War. In late 1913 the German Colony in East Africa with its capital of Dar Es Salaam had requested a suitable replacement for the elderly sail and steam corvette SMS Gier then on station. In June the following year a sleek powerful recommissioned Konigsberg commanded by Fregatten Kapitan Max Loof arrived as a symbol of naval power in the region. It could master speeds of upto 24 knots, a range of 3,000 miles and was armed with 10 high velocity krupp four inch guns.

Her arrival caused concern at Simonstown as the Royal Navy squadron could only offer three out dated cruisers of 1890's vintage and the arrival of this modern warship posed a threat to the regions maritime trade especially should war be declared.

On the afternoon of 19th September, 1914 Konigsberg sailed slowly up the coast of Zanzibar and engaged Pegasus - a British navy ship in a 45 minute battle. Pegasus gunned out and surrendered. 38 people died, 5 were wounded and the ship sunk later that day. This infuriated the Royal Navy and 3 large modern cruisers arrived within two weeks with orders to 'sink and destroy' Konigsberg. A cat and mouse game followed with Looff taking Konigsberg further and further upstream until he was 20 miles inland. various aircraft were deployed to keep on the cornered ship and personnel increased until there were nearly 20 ships offshore.
Two draft ships were fitted with 6 inch guns and prepared for battle. On 11th July, 1915 Konigsberg was sunk in the Rufiji Delta. The Royal Navy retired and the Konigsberg was stripped of all its fittings.

A number of items were salvaged from the sunken ship including the captains dining table and a side board cabinet which are currently preserved at the Nairobi railway museum.

To learn more of this interesting story and see some of the World's oldest antiques, visit the Nairobi Railway Museum

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The Standard Gauge Railway Symposium takes place at the Railway Training Institute on 16th June, 2014 starting 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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The drive to create a safety railway operations zone and relocate encroachers from the railways reserve in Mukuru and Kibera is ongoing. The relocation units are under construction with the exercise expected to take place later this year.

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On May 30th, 1896 construction of the Metre Gauge Railway line later dubbed the lunatic line started at Kilindini habour. Today, it is 118 years after the event.

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The seats used by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England on the royal coach (now the State Coach) during her visit to Kenya in the 1983. Her mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1959 also used the same coach on her visit to Kenya.

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Railway Track or Permanent Way is a combination of rails, fitted on sleepers and resting on sleepers and subgrade. The track gauge or rail gauge of a rail track is defined as the clear minimum perpendicular distance between inner faces of the two rails (distance between the inner sides of the heads of the two load bearing rails that make up a single railway line). Requirements of an ideal permanent way are that both rails should be at the same level; curves should be properly designed and proper super elevation should be provided.
Break-of-gauge refers to the meeting of different gauges. Some stretches of track are dual gauge, with three or four rails, allowing trains of different gauges to share them.
An exception of a railway with no gauge is monorail where there is only one supporting rail.
Gauge tolerances specify how much the actual gauge may vary from the nominal gauge.
Types of gauge:
• Broad gauge: width:1524mm to 1676 mm or 5’-6” to 5’-0’’
• Standard gauge: width: 1435 mm ,1451 mm or 4’-8.5’’ , 4’-9.125’’
• Meter gauge: width: 1000 mm , 1067 mm, 915 mm or 3’-6’’, 3’-3.375’’ and 3’-0’’
• Narrow gauge: width: 762 mm , 610 mm or 2’-6” and 2’-0”
Functions of Rail:
• To provide continuous and level surface for movement of train.
• To provide a smooth pathway so that friction between rail and wheel become less.
• Serve as a lateral guide for the running of wheels.
• Transferring the load into the sleeper.

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The vetting process in Kianda segment of the Kenya Railways Relocation Action Plan gets underway tomorrow 26th April upto 27th April, 2014. This will be a door to door exercise and will involve Reviewing the refined lists of Project Affected Persons; establishing the nature of grievances and the number of special cases. Those living in the said area are called upon to avail themselves for the exercise. Come one, Come all

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The story of the man-eaters of Tsavo is unique to the construction of the railway in Kenya. It was not only at Tsavo that man eating lions created a reign of terror but also at other stations such as Makindu, Simba and Kima. It is tragic and horrible as many lives were lost.
The two lions even though male, they were maneless. They belong to the panthera leo nubica (Tsavo lions). They are a distinct variety of lions living around the Tsavo River in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya.
They are referred to as 'man eaters of Tsavo' lions because of incidents involving two lions which killed a number of Indian coolies during the construction of the Uganda Railway in the late 19th century. The lions are said to have killed 132 railways builders btw 1897 and 1900. Col. Patterson shot them after hunting them down for 9 months.
The claws were stolen in 1995 for auction. Luckily the Interpol intercepted the culprit while he was finding his way to Tanzania. The claws are found at the Nairobi Railway Museum.
Imagine the intrigue, the horror and the fear you feel when holding the three claws from the most notorious man-eating lion of Tsavo! Make a special request to view the when you visit the museum

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Did you know that......Rail transport is one of the safest forms of land travel. Trains can travel at very high speed and are unable to deviate from the track. . The most important safety measures used to prevent accidents are strict operating rules, e.g. railway signaling systems; Train whistles, bells or horns which warn of the presence of a train, while trackside signals maintain the distances between trains.
In some cases, trains run on dedicated railway lines. This effectively eliminates the potential for collision with automobiles, other vehicles and pedestrians, vastly reducing the likelihood of accidents and helps ensure services remain timely. High levels of safety makes the rail traffic one of the most favorable traffic modes. At the same time, rail traffic disburdens overburdened network of highways and primary roads, which contributes to a smooth and safe road transport, which ensures better prevention from damages and losses on transported goods.

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It is of great importance to ensure safety on and when around railway infrastructure. There are a number of things that you can do to make your train journey enjoyable, safer and more secure.
Before your journey, it is recommended that you arrive at the station in good time. This will enable you to obtain your ticket or top up your A-Card in good time. This will save you time and ensure you don't miss your ride when the train arrives.
• Before you begin your train journey, check the timetables and schedule just to be sure about subsequent timings during the day.
• When waiting for the train, always stand behind the yellow line on the platform.
• Avoid running in and around the station, particularly when footpaths and platform surfaces are wet. In some cases they can be slippery.
• Take care when using escalators, sliding doors, ticketing turnstiles. This will ensure accidents due to clothing and bag straps getting caught are avoided.
• Only cross train tracks at designated pedestrian crossings. Crossing at non-marked areas is dangerous and illegal.
• Stand behind the yellow line until the train comes to a complete stop. Yellow or white markers on platforms indicate where the train will stop.
• Do not force the doors open or attempt to board when the train is leaving the platform.
• Allow other passengers to step off the train before you board.
• If you are travelling with heavy luggage, board at the front carriage so that you're clearly visible to the driver.
• Use the grab rails to steady yourself when boarding or alighting.
• Prepare to alight before reaching your destination station, to avoid loss of personal items.
• Our stations are well lit and monitored by closed-circuit television cameras on platforms and at station entrances. This footage is monitored by control room staff located at the Stations.
• We have station attendants ready to serve by responding to your questions and help with other travel needs.

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The world recently witnessed the launch of the advanced Samsung S5. Its has quite exciting features. However....
Did you know that the first mobile phone to come to Kenya was an Ericsson. The phone was brought in 1897 by the British. In order to communicate one would fix it onto a special pole.
The phone can only be seen at the Nairobi Railway Museum

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The National Assembly’s Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing has cleared the controversial Standard Gauge Railway project, saying the government should expedite its intended contracts with a Chinese company.
The committee urged the government to fast track the developments to enable the project commence.
“The government should proceed with the process of implementing the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway project due to the immense benefits that will accrue to the people of Kenya during the construction period and upon completion of the project,” Committee Chairman told the House after it concluded its probe on the project.
Benefits of the Standard Gauge Railway development
Economic Benefits:
The railway development will have the following immediate economic benefits:
• Reduced cost of transportation in the region making it an attractive investment destination.
• Protect the environment through reduced carbon emission.
• Accelerate industrialisation through easier and cheaper transport and the establishment of new industries to service the new railway.
• Contribute to an annual GDP growth of at least 1.5% during construction and subsequent operation.
• Enhance the region’s competitiveness.
• Reduce congestion at Mombasa Port securing the port as the preferred facility in the region.
• Reduce wear and tear on roads; hence reduce maintenance cost.
• Enhanced freight security.
Social Benefits:
The following social benefits will be realised during the construction and operation of the railway:
• Direct jobs: At least 60 new jobs per kilometre of track during construction period.
• Local Industries: Large quantities of local inputs such as steel, cement, aggregates, electricity generation and electricity transmission pylons and cables, roofing materials, glass, etc. required from local industries with potential to create at least 10,000 jobs.
• Service and hospitality industry: Estimated 3,000 jobs to provide foods, accommodation and leisure.
• Skills development: Estimated 15,000 people to acquire skills suitable for self employment after the construction period (masons, carpenters, mechanics, electricians, etc.)
• Technology transfer: Estimated 400 engineers and high technology technicians will be trained during construction and will be available for local and regional railway development.
• Accidents reduction: The railway will reduce the number of heavy trucks on the road thus reducing accident incidents making the roads safer for human traffic.

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