Transport PS Nduva Muli explains railway’s huge cost difference with

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Addis Ababa, 3 January 4, 2014 (WIC) - Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli says the difference in the cost of the Mombasa-Nairobi high-speed railway compared to the Ethiopian one is brought about by technical differences.

Responding to questions about why the Kenyan project will cost nearly the same as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway yet it is shorter, Mr Muli said the civil engineering works to be undertaken and the needs of the railway pushed up the construction cost. “The Ethiopian railway does not go through a national park.

The Mombasa-Nairobi railway will pass through a national park and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) says the civil works should not interfere with wildlife movement. This means we will have to construct a 100-kilometre viaduct (a long bridge-like structure carrying a road or railroad across a valley or other low ground),” says the PS.

The railway design and construction will accommodate future electrification and double stacking of container the underpasses and viaducts are provided at short intervals across the 140 kilometres of the line within Tsavo National Park required by Nema as stated in their licence for the project.

He says the project involves the construction of 33 new passenger stations between the Kenya coast and Nairobi. The railway will also have a 100 per cent grade separation, which means it will not have level-crossings like the Ethiopian one. That means there will be no stopping of traffic to allow trains to pass. It will have, unlike the Ethiopian one, sensors from Mombasa to Nairobi for high communication and signaling system.

In addition, there will be a parallel all weather road, which the PS says, is tantamount to building a new road. Because of the technical aspect of the railway and civil engineering works, the labour cost for the Kenya project will be higher, he says. Railway project manager, Engineer Solomon Ouna, breaks down the cost as Sh220 for construction of a total of 606 kilometres.

The additional 121 kilometres are railway sidings. Additional facilities such as rolling stocks, workshops, upgrading of Railways Training Institute for capacity building were also factored into the cost of building the railway and will cost Sh1.147 billion.

“The axle-load of the Kenya railway is very heavy because it designed to provide freight and passenger services. Mombasa port handles more than 22 million of goods per annum. This also means that the gradient should be as low as possible for faster movement.

The gradient of the Kenya railway is less than two per cent compared to the Ethiopian one which varies from 6-8 per cent,” says Eng Ouna. He says Sh1.3 trillion budget is the estimated cost of building the railway from Mombasa to Kigali. (