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Rail Network

East African Regional cooperation initiatives have mainly focused on joint efforts to modernise railway network and development of an African railway network with the ultimate objective of Member States having a standard railway policy. The East African Railway Master Plan came into effect to guide the future development of the railway services in the region. The Master Plan is a proposal for rejuvenating existing railways serving Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and extending them initially to Rwanda and Burundi and eventually, to South Sudan, Ethiopia and beyond.


The Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Agreement also provides a good basis for structuring legal cooperation and a framework for development in the railway sector among the Northern Corridor Member States. These regional legal and institutional frameworks, among others, are expected to drive multi-lateral initiatives in railway development in the region

The Northern Corridor Railway network comprises of the Metre Gauge Railway and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

The total length of the meter gauge rail (MGR) network is 8,206 Km in Northern Corridor, out of which Kenya accounts for 1,787 Km; Uganda comprises of 1,221 Km, DRC accounts for 5,033 Km and South Sudan 165 Km.

The total length of the standard gauge rail is 472 Km from Mombasa to Nairobi designed with a capacity to carry 22 million tonnes a year of cargo or a projected 40 % of Mombasa Port throughput by December 2035. The SGR line is 120 Km from Nairobi to Naivasha. The standard gauge rail has 56 locomotives operating from the port of Mombasa to ICD Nairobi at Embakasi out of which 8 are used for shunting, 43 locomotives are used for freight services, and 5 are used for passenger services.

Rwanda has no railway network presently, which means most of the trade is conducted by road. The SGR mainline from Mombasa to Kampala is planned to join the line from Kigali-Kampala on the Northern Corridor whereas, on the Central Corridor Isaka- Kigali will be mainline. Kigali-Rubavu branch line will link Rwanda to DRC. The plan to extend a branch line from Isaka in Tanzania to Kigali is well in advance.

The current progress of implementation of SGR in Kenya along the Northern Corridor is as follows:

  • Phase I {472 km} Mombasa – Nairobi: Complete
  • Phase 2 {490 km} Nairobi – Kisumu – Malaba divided into three sub-phases
    • Phase 2A {120 km} Nairobi – Naivasha Estimated cost of the project is USD. 1.5 billion.: Complete
    • Phase 2B {262 km} Naivasha – Narok – Bomet – Nyamira – Kisumu (Includes:) — New Kisumu Port: Commercial Contract was also signed on 24-March 2016.
    • Phase 2C {107 km} Kisumu – Yala – Mumias – Malaba: Commercial Contract was also signed on 24-March 2016.