The Kisumu Safari Train is back more than 10 years after services were suspended due to a dilapidated railway line. The state corporation hopes to appeal to those who wish to avoid the road traffic jam and high prices.
In Kenya, a decade after services were suspended due to a dilapidated railway line, the Nairobi to Kisumu train has resumed operation. This comes at a time when Uhuru Kenyatta’s government is undertaking infrastructure projects meant to cement his legacy.The train received overwhelming reception with all the coaches being fully booked during the festive season that saw the return of the line. Resentment have however been registered by a section of the public concerning the 12-hour journey that on average takes 7 hours by road.
Former Prime Minister and opposition chief, Raila Odinga was among the first passengers aboard the train, a move seen by pundits as efforts to uplift the public image of the train amidst protest from a section of the public.
To attract new customers, the state corporation Kenya Railways presents its railway line as an alternative cheaper than the road transport. Indeed for commuters, the cost of travel via the train is much less expensive since they now pay half what the buses and public service vehicles charge for the same journey.
One of them, Eunice Ochieng was overjoyed: "The journey has been amazing because we have seen a lot of things, we have seen mountains, wild animals, a lake and it is really a good adventure."
The Kenyan government is optimistic that the train will spur economic development in towns that are along the railway line and also ease travel between the capital and the lakeside city of Kisumu.