Construction of a new Sh250 million station on Mombasa Road is expected to begin in January 2011. The project forms part of the proposed new commuter rail system in Nairobi and environs. Managing director of Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) Nduva Muli confirms that a contract has been signed with El Noor Construction Ltd. Muli unveiled a new logo and slogan at the Sarova Stanley Hotel on 8 December. An amount of Sh600 million was allocated in the government’s 2009/10 budget for the feasibility study, which has been completed. Approximately 160km of the existing rail system within Nairobi is to be rehabilitated and a new line about 7km in length is to be built to Unit 3 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. An allocation of Sh1.9 billion towards the project was provided in the current 2010/11 budget. Track renovation is to be undertaken departmentally. “We are soon upgrading the track ourselves because we have the expertise,” Muli explains. The upgrade, he said, will cost Sh1 billion and the rolling stock another Sh300 million.
The multi-phased project, whose total cost is estimated at Sh24 billion, will link the city centre with outlying areas such as Thika, Limuru and Athi River/Lukenya. “We plan to finance the whole project using funds from the exchequer, proceeds of a Sh10 billion infrastructure bond we intend to float and through public-private partnerships,” Muli says. Originally conceived following a strike by matatu minibus operators in 1992, the scheme eventually got off the ground in April 2009 when the corporation signed a joint development agreement with InfraCo, a “donor-funded infrastructure development company”. This is said to “shoulder much of the upfront costs and risks of early stage development, thereby reducing the entry costs of private sector infrastructure developers.”