SGR, Kenya's largest infrastructure project since independence. What are your thoughts and/or opinions?

The Standard Gauge Railway is set to be launched today by President Uhuru Kenyatta. What are your thoughts?

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It is a good infrastructure but the cost is exorbitant. Remember Charles Keter complaining that there were contractors who placed a bid to deliver the same quality at less than 33 percent of the cost awarded to the winning bidder.

By the time this whole thing is complete it would have costed the tax payers over a Trillion BOB yet it would have cost Kenyans roughly around KES. 400 billion for the whole thing from Mombasa to Kisumu and Malaba.

There was an article of some of the major infrastructures funded by the Chinese government around a select number of countries whereby the countries have failed to pay back and that is the reason why passenger trains are going to be very few because it would be unfeasible.

Also, they are targeting to force a percentage of goods arriving at the port to be brought in land using SGR and not by road.

For those who are importers you’ll realize that the government started to charge us a railway development levy even before the railway construction started. They did it immediately when the Jubilee govt started operations.

I remember picking up a fight with DHL like what do you mean railway levy yet my goods came by air? Which is this railway anyway that I’m paying for?

It is a good infrastructure, but the cost is way off and it will cost dearly to repay back. I’m a freelancer as much as I want Jubilee out of government, well they are good for business, for as long as I’m paid in dollars (and we know how the shilling is fairing on with the dollar) I don’t mind.


This thing will work. The cool thing about the SGR is that is is designed to evacuate exports produced at Naivasha special economic zone. If everything goes according to plan, things will change in Kenya. I read somewhere that when the port of Mombasa was expanded for the first time, westerners with their usual afro pessimism wondered what the extra capacity would be for but within a few years, it needed to be expanded again to cope with the volume. Methinks SGR will be so successful that we shall be wondering how we managed all those years without it. I remember when Thika road was expanded, there were skeptics but today, the jams are back on the road. It looks like we need to create at least ten Thika roads to keep up with the development. Kenya is growing and that is a fact so we need railways, big roads, malls, and of course fast unlimited Internet offered by any other company and not the exploitative safaricon.

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That’s the odd thing out there.

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I think the SGR is a game changer, but we’ll get to see it’s true impact as time goes by. But I think the proposed rail on the LAPSSET corridor with the rail, pipeline and highway is the one to watch out for. From Lamu to Isiolo then branching out to Ethiopia and Juba, and 3 resort cities within our borders., its going to open up the northern part of the country which is largely under developed as compared to the southern side

Should the bus and long haul trucking companies be worried? Rail is cheaper and safer than road.

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Bus and trucking companies have already started to cry foul. It ain’t business as usual.

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I agree with you fully. LAPSSET is one hell of a project but it might take time to complete considering that South Sudan is in the midst of genocidal chaos. Ethiopia is also under some sort of chaos as Oromos rise against the state.

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On the tech side they seem to be backwards, the tickets don’t even have names, an online platform with all payment options including mpesa, visa, paypal, Samsung pay etc will be welcome.
-is there WiFi on board, I had seen Liquid claim to have provided wifi during launch but wonder whether it’s still on.
-I definitely expect high speed internet at the stations even if it’s not free.
-bus companies will definitely take a hit especially if evening trains are introduced and the few teething problems solved
They would have provided their buses to take guys to the stations from say modern coast office to Miritini or syokimau

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Talk of which, high speed Wi-Fi inside the coaches would be awesome too. But i guess they’ll consider such as time goes by

That shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Below is a ticket I used last month on the Lisbon metro, reusable and purchased from a vending machine. Can be used in train, bus and tram. This is what we should be looking forward to achieving.

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and it will be at an extracost to the passanger.

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SGR is NOT and Wont be Kenya’s largest infrastructure since independence how do u decorate a 1900 train and call it modern then force it on business people its like a railway line didnt exist before i think this is public PR to gain political miles our neighbours are adopting electric trains at half the cost of SGR and someone brings kenya a diesel locomotive with black thick smoke following and we call it development? I question our level when we can boast of diesel locomotive at hiked costs this country needs real change brought by fresh minds not Jubilee looters and thugs

I will pick this and respond to it. Business people react to cost reductions. And 50k to ship a container from Mombasa is a great deal, the capacity improvement will also be a plus for them. Inflated project or not, business people do not know politics where costs savings and efficiency is concerned. And this here is both. There is also better security on the railway than on trucks.

It is not about the price, they have made it mandatory for a certain percentange of goods arriving at the port to be transported from the port using SGR. Can’t remember the percentage but it’s a huge chunk, which is going to affect truck transit goods operators.

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** If customers are paying for access. Free internet is rarely fast.

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This is a question I will ask, in your experience in railway line manufacturing and track building, can you tell us how you would price it?

Since when did politicians become honest in anything they say or did?

Got no experience in rail or railway transport so it’ll be a lie me commenting on cost i dont understand but my hiked price comment was in comparison to our neighbors lemme do some research then post the real figures

Nigerians are complaining, comparing ours and theirs that cost $12Billion,

they arent our neighbors take for example Ethiopia and Tanzania that would be a fair comparison lets not compare two wrongs and use the second one to justify the first