Kampala’s commuter rail services a high priority
Encouraged by figures from Nairobi, where commuter rail services now transport in average some 30,000 passengers a day into the city, the Kampala Capital City Authority has also set eyes on reviving r
Encouraged by figures from Nairobi, where commuter rail services now transport in average some 30,000 passengers a day into the city, the Kampala Capital City Authority has also set eyes on reviving regular rail links from the outskirts of the capital into the city center.
It is understood from sources that Rift Valley Railways presently has the capacity to transport 600+ passengers in the available train carriages, which equates to the use of at least 50 taxis, a small capacity to start with but with the ability to grow, if a partnership can be established. RVR is presently discussing with government the terms and conditions of adding some limited passenger commuter services for Kampala. KCCA’s traffic masterplan which is gaining shape right now, is eyeing several public transport options, from a regular bus service over commuter rail services to such more outlandish ideas like cable cars, the latter received with the a large level of disbelief and promptly turned into a bag of jokes when the information made it into the local media.
The rail operator has in the past offered special rail services on such high-profile occasions like Uganda’s African Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifying matches which are played at the national Mandela Stadium in Namboole, transporting passengers to near the stadium where the railway line passes enroute from Kampala to Jinja and beyond to the Kenyan border.
RVR’s primary mission though are cargo rail services between Kampala and Kenya’s port city of Mombasa where over the past 12 months significant progress has been made, cutting down on journey time through improvements on key rail sections, the opening up of the route to Gulu and Pakwach and a complete renewal of the railway’s cargo train monitoring systems. 20 new General Electric locomotives are expected to join the fleet over the coming months as will added rolling stock. Passenger rail carriages are, however, available in only limited numbers and would require further investments for Kampala commuter rail services, a challenge to the Ugandan government, KCAA and Rift Valley Railways, should agreements be reached between the three parties.