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New Railway Halves Travel Time from Nairobi to Mombasa

  • Mwamoyo Hamza

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, third from left, watches a cargo train carrying port containers begin its opening run from Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya, May 30, 2017.

Kenya has launched a new railway service that will cut travel time between Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa in half.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and a number of Chinese and Kenyan officials were aboard the train Wednesday for its inaugural run from Mombasa to the capital.

The standard-gauge railway was built with the help of loans from the Chinese government. Chinese companies also built the line and supplied locomotives.

“This is a historic moment we are witnessing today because this project will transform the economy of this country and all Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said Wednesday.

Previously, passenger train service between Mombasa and Nairobi took 10 hours. Kenya says the new service will complete the 440-kilometer (275 miles) trip in five.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, looks at a model of a locomotive with Chen Fenjian president of CCC during the unveiling of a cargo train at the Mombasa, Kenya.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, looks at a model of a locomotive with Chen Fenjian president of CCC during the unveiling of a cargo train at the Mombasa, Kenya.

3,000 passengers per day

Mombasa is the biggest port in East Africa, serving Kenya and inland countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Kenya says the new service can carry more than 3,000 passengers per day.

China has invested heavily in the African continent during the past 15 years, seeking to strengthen political and economic ties.

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