Arrival of six more DMU trains to double Nairobi capacity
Kenya Railways has said that the Nairobi Commuter Rail service will be boosted by the new arrival of six more Diesel Multiple-Units (DMUs).
The planned addition of extra trains by the end of this month will see it increase the frequency of trains plying the different routes across the city.
The trains comprising four coaches and capable of being driven from either direction will ply 10 modernised railway termini including Syokimau, Makadara, Pipeline, Donholm, Imara Daima and Embakasi Village.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said on Friday that the six trains were part of 11 DMUs bought from an island in Spain and that only five had so far been shipped into the country.
“The remaining six DMUs will be in the country by the end of the month to give a major boost to the ongoing reforms to turn around the capital and city transport which is one of the key deliverables for Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS). Five of these were delivered last year. The remaining six will be arriving in the country by the end of this month or early April,” the CS said.
The transport CS revealed that the DMU trains had a special section that had been painted yellow and will only be used by school children.
Kenya Railways said it acquired the 11 refurbished DMUs, five coaches and spare parts from Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM) at a negotiated price of Sh1.15 billion.
The diesel units have a remaining economic useful life of 23-25 years.
In 2019, the cabinet approved the plan by Kenya Railways to buy 11 DMUs through a government-to-government arrangement.
DMUs are double train cars but can be marshalled to have triple units or better still, marshal double/triple train units as dictated by the demand based on passenger numbers.
A Double Train Car Unit can ferry 300 passengers (seated and standing).
A triple unit would transport 450 passengers while marshalling two DMU units would double the numbers.
The five DMUs mainly operate from Syokimau and Embakasi Village stations from as early as 6:30am to as late as 8:30pm, making an average of eleven trips in each direction.
The earliest in the schedule is the Embakasi Village-Nairobi station, which leaves at 6:20am to arrive at 6:53am.
It is followed by other trains from the same station at close to hourly intervals with the last one leaving at 7:15pm.
Another early train is the 6:45am Syokimau-Nairobi train making stops at Imara Daima and Makadara to arrive at 7:20am.
The Syokimau to Nairobi commuter train operates from 6:20 am as well to arrive at the city centre at 6:53am.
Currently, 20,000 commuters use the rail network on weekdays through lines originating from Nairobi Central station to Ruiru via Dandora, Githurai and Kahawa, to Syokimau via Makadara and Imara Daima, Embakasi village via Pipeline and Donholm and Kikuyu via Kibera and Dagoretti.