The SGR and future possibilities of rail transport in Kenya

During the holidays one could not help but notice how the standard gauge railway has changed the way Kenyans travel.

By early December the first-and second-class seats on the SGR train from Nairobi to Mombasa had been fully booked for the rest of the month. Being the Christmas season, most of the passengers who had booked the SGR to Mombasa would have been jostling for space on the buses that ply the Nairobi-Mombasa route.

This got me thinking, with the second phase of the SGR progressing steadily towards Kisumu, will the annual chaotic scenes witnessed at Machakos county bus station every December as people travel upcountry for Christmas endure much longer?

Other than reduce the perennial accidents on our roads and make travelling faster and more convenient, the prospects of the SGR and rail transport for Kenya are enormous to say the least.

With rapid developments In technology being witnessed across the globe, rail transport is going to change a lot over the next 30 years. Globally we have witnessed rail’s power to stimulate and drive economic growth.

Artificial intelligence and changing technology are pointing to Intelligent, more integrated systems for moving passengers and freight in the future of rail systems. Smart technology will provide travellers with useful information and more comprehensive services as well as a sense of control and participation.

Rail transport, as a result of its energy efficiency, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower cost per tonne kilometre, Is expected to play an important role in the conveyance of freight over long distances.

Kenya, and Africa at large, must make sure it Is not left behind as these changes take place.