Kenya Railways scrambles to match demand for the Madaraka Express
The newly launched Standard Gauge Railway’s Madaraka Express has so far transported about 75,000 passengers on the train which has been operational for a month now.
The Madaraka Express is currently operating with scheduled passenger trains from Nairobi and Mombasa running on a daily basis.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanus Maina says the huge numbers are a clear indication of the need Kenyans have for an effective transport system.
“We are receiving a lot of feedback, and have deployed teams to address customer care and operational concerns that keep emerging. We shall address any impending issues, and streamline all service areas to ensure a seamless experience for all our passengers plying the nine key locations,” he noted.
Maina says passenger numbers on the service are surging daily and the Operator has increased the capacity of the train through introduction of additional coaches on both the trains plying between Mombasa and Nairobi daily.
Further, the capacity of the train has also been increased through the introduction of one more coach each, so that each train carries approximately 1,500 passengers.
Cargo operations have also commenced albeit on a trial basis as the handover process is undertaken, in order to be ready for the launch of freight operations later in the year.
The management has however postponed the operations of the inter-county train service on the Madaraka Express that were to commence on Saturday.
Maina says the plans have been hampered by the late arrival of some of the operator’s key staff that has delayed critical technical and operational processes.
“We had anticipated that critical technical and operational handover processes would have been completed by now. However, there has been a delay due to the fact that most of the Operator’s (China Road and Bridge Corporation) key staff are arriving now and require time to go through the handover processes. We expect to conclude the handover processes in the coming weeks and launch the inter-county train service soon,” he said.
With the introduction of the inter-county service, the Corporation had planned to revise the existing schedule to include return trips thus enabling customers desiring to travel between Mombasa and Nairobi in both directions to do so on the same day.