One of the passenger SGR service locomotives being loaded on a ship at a Chinese port. PHOTO | COURTESY
By TOBBY OTUM
The Chinese firm that was awarded the tender to construct locomotives will operate SGR service along the Northern Corridor for five years.
This has been said by Kenya Railways managing director Athanas Maina, who said CRRC Qishuyan after delivering all coaches, wagons and locomotives to Kenya will also serve as SGR operator for the first five years.
Mr Maina said the Chinese firm will start testing of equipment in preparation for the complete handover.
And according to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the first batch of six diesel locomotive engines that will be used on the 472 km Standard Gauge Railway [SGR] from Mombasa to Nairobi expected in the country next month.
The CS said the locomotives will arrive at the port of Mombasa from China before end of January 2017.
“The six locomotives will be the first batch of 56 others out of which 43 will be used for the fast movement of cargo along the northern corridor,” he said.
Mr Macharia said five of the locomotives will be used for passengers travel while eight will be for shunting operations. He was speaking during the flagging off of the first consignment of the locomotives in China.
The cabinet secretary said the locomotives are being manufactured by CRRC Qishuyan, one of the major diesel locomotive manufacturers in China.
Mr Macharia said CRRC Qishuyan has met the stipulated standards in executing their mandate as per the contract.
Chinese and a Kenyan official in one of the coaches to be delivered by a Chinese firm for the SGR passenger service. PHOTO | COURTESY
“It is imperative that the manufacturer receives all the support required to ensure the delivery timelines for the remaining locomotives, coaches, wagons and railcars are adhered to,” he noted.
The CS added that CRRC has exemplified that speed and quality do not need to work in isolation adding that together with all players, they have ensured that speedy manufacture of the locomotives is as per the quality prescribed.
“We are confident that the operator will ensure that both the infrastructure and the equipment are maintained to the best global standards,” he added.
Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera echoed Machaira’s sentiments saying they trust they will work with the manufacturers of the equipments to achieve the desired quality and efficiency levels.
He said manufacturers such as CRRC Qishuyan should be invited to set base in Kenya and manufacture for Africa and the rest of the world.
Mr Maina said they expect to benefit with the operationalization of the SGR adding that they are looking forward to the completion of the project.
He added that the SGR is expected to decongest the Port of Mombasa, enhance efficiency in rail operations, reduce transport costs, reduce accidents occasioned by heavy trucks and trailers on the Kenyan roads and reduce transit times for goods.
“The SGR is expected to ensure better connectivity to regions and ultimately improve the overall transport sector in Kenya,” Mr Maina pointed out.
The KR boss said the rail construction company China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will put in all the necessary measures to preserve and protect the environment, and also give back to the community through corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Mr Maina further said with the expertise that has gone into the manufacture of the locomotives, it is expected that their performance would be exceptional, even after the project is handed over.
He said he believes that CCCC/CRBC have in consultation with CRCC Qishuyan and in line with the contract, put in place sufficient spares and a robust maintenance programme to minimize on locomotive failures and achieve best performance in line with global practices.
“The ongoing construction of the first phase of the SGR is 98 per cent complete, with works for phase 2A expected to commence in the first quarter of 2017 upon route finalization,” he pointed out.
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