Kenya Railways (KR) is preparing to hire 800 skilled and semi-skilled people for the construction of the old railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu, which is estimated to cost 3.8 billion shillings.
Kenya Railways managing director Philip Mainga said the recruits will repair the metric gauge railway, which is over 100 years old.
“There will also be 440 soldiers from the National Youth Service. The engagements started gradually from last week,” he told The Standard.
Mainga said the repair work should be completed in eight months and urged residents to cooperate, especially those who encroached on the railway line.
He noted that departure notices had been issued to those who encroached on the rail reserve.
“The application of the previous opinion must begin immediately from this month,” he said.
The 216 km Nakuru-Kisumu metric gauge railway crosses Nakuru, Kericho and Kisumu counties and has 18 stations.
The railroad tracks overgrown the bushes, was vandalized in some sections, while some bridges / boxes and pipes and culverts collapsed.
A spot check at Kisumu station revealed that a section of the embankment was washed away, the station buildings are dilapidated, and the signaling communication and train control systems have been vandalized.
KR’s land was fenced off and the traders who initially operated there were evicted.
Affected businesses include the Ranalo Foods Hotel, which has since moved to Milimani while the Railways Band has moved to Nyamasaria on the Kisumu-Nairobi road.
Already, KR has installed cargo handling machines at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot to avoid long lines of trucks at the depot.
The government is also planning to build a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Miwani and offer cheap electricity to encourage freight transportation.
The Kisumu County government has identified around 10,000 acres to set up the industrial park.
The SEZ is expected to reduce bureaucracy and respond to domestic private sector constraints such as the cost of energy, limited transport links and market access.
Governor Anyang ‘Nyong’o said that the availability of land for the establishment of the industrial park will help boost growth in the lakeside town.
“The SEZ will provide more land for small and large-scale industrial development, create jobs in skilled sectors and encourage knowledge transfer to support growth,” he said.
Over the years, many programs designed to stimulate the economy have stopped or collapsed.
In the 1990s, the metric gauge railway carried passengers and freight locally and to neighboring countries.
With the expected resumption of rail transport, the newly renovated port of Kisumu is expected to see an increase in the activity of road, rail and port transport link services.