SGR: Madaraka Express takes off from Mombasa

citizen SGR: Madaraka Express takes off from Mombasa

Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since independence, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), has today been inaugurated by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in Miritini station, Mombasa.

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which is one of the flagship projects for the Jubilee administration, was launched under a cloud of controversy after police blocked Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho from attending the launch.

President Kenyatta presided over the launch of the Sh327 billion project witnessed by thousands of Kenyans together with top Chinese officials and Kenyan government officials.

In his address, the head of state celebrated the breakthrough saying it was a historic transformation for the country.

“Today is a historic day as we board Madaraka Express. We are a Nation proud of our achievement and focused on transformation. God Bless Kenya,” President Kenyatta said as he boarded the standard gauge railway passenger train at Mombasa.

He said the innovation will forever remain stamped in the memory of Kenyans who aspire to see their nation take its place in the new world order of the 21st century.

“Today we celebrate laying one of the key cornerstones to Kenya’s transformation to an industrialized middle-income country,” Uhuru said.

The president said ‘it all started 122 years ago with the lunatic express. Today we celebrate the launch of Madaraka Express’

However, the head of state was quick to warn anybody with intentions to vandalize the SGR that if caught, the act will amount to economic sabotage which classified as a Capital Offense in our laws.

“I warn all the vandals. Economic saboteurs will face capital punishment which will carry the death penalty,” he reckoned.

He further stated, he will sign a law to have vandals who destroy infrastructure projects hanged.

On fare charges, the president directed the Kenya Railways to lower their fees and charge Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passengers Sh700 for the economy class from Mombasa to Nairobi and vice versa.

“We want affordable fares. From Mombasa to Nairobi should not exceed 700 shillings,” the Head of State affirmed.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, traveled by train to Nairobi in the company of Cabinet Secretaries, PSs , senior government and Chinese officials ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations in Nyeri on Thursday.

President Kenyatta and his entourage are expected to make a stopover at the Mtito Andei and Athi River terminus on his way to Nairobi.

The SGR trains with a designed speed of 120 km/h will transport passengers on the Mombasa-Nairobi railway corridor in four hours and eight hours for the freight trains.

The train will offer intercity and county train services. The intercity train will operate between Nairobi and Mombasa while the county one will make stops at the intermediate stations of Mariakani, Maiseny, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River.

Construction of the SGR project commenced on December 12, 2014, and is set to open for cargo and commuters this week heralding a new era of high-speed rail service in the country.

The SGR’s 472 km line from Mombasa to Nairobi is set to enhance Mombasa’s image as the gateway to East and Central Africa and as a tourism hub.

It took the Jubilee Government two and half years less than the originally given time and less than the original budget to accomplish the task of constructing 472 kilometers of the SGR from the port city of Mombasa to the capital city of Nairobi.

The government has already embarked on extending the SGR to Naivasha then to Kisumu and eventually plans to have the system extended to Kampala and Kigali in Uganda and Rwanda respectively.

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