By PSCU/Grace Maina
Construction of phase one of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is on course with the first train set to run from Mombasa to Nairobi on schedule on June 1st.
Briefing President Uhuru Kenyatta on the progress of the SGR during a quarterly meeting, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said 99 per cent of the civil works are complete with the rail tracks laid from Mombasa to Nairobi South.
President Kenyatta commended the progress made so far and underscored the importance of the project in transforming the country’s transport sector.
At the meeting attended by China Communications Construction Company Vice President Chen Yun and China Roads and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) President Lu Shan, CS Macharia said test-runs of locomotives, rail tracks, signalling and communication facilities is ongoing.
He pointed out that the construction of 33 stations is also about to be completed, 15 locomotives have already been received while Kshs 15 billion has been paid out as land compensation.
Some Kshs 84 billion has been used under local contented with people living along the railway getting direct employment while others have benefitted through the delivery of goods and services to the project.
The CS said 60 Kenyan students have also been offered scholarship to pursue various railway and train related engineering courses in Chinese universities while 300 technicians trained by CRBC at the Railway Training Institute are currently attached to the SGR project.
CRBC President Lu said his company has offered Kshs 1 billion to develop an engineering school at the Railway Training School.
The meeting discussed phase 1B of the SGR project, which will run from Nairobi through Naivasha to Narok where mobilization has started with land acquisition and construction set to begin in April.
The meeting was also attended by Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera, Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina and Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa.