by Christine Lagat
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Abdul Munib was in
jovial mood when he alighted from the standard gauge railway (SGR)
passenger train at the Nairobi Terminus on Wednesday afternoon
accompanied by his wife and four children.
aged businessman based in the coastal city of Mombasa had always
planned to ride on the modern train service to Nairobi but was
forced to postpone the trip due to disruptions occasioned by a
prolonged election season.
During an interview with Xinhua, Munib said he felt relieved
after the successful trip to Nairobi via the SGR train service.
"The trip to Nairobi was a thrilling experience for me and my
"We enjoyed the sight of wildlife and beautiful landscapes
along the route.
"My children were excited when they spotted a herd of
elephants in the plains," said Munib.
He was among hundreds of Kenyans who rode on the inter-county
SGR passenger train that made seven stops along the
Mombasa-Nairobi route as a trial run before its official launch.
"When the SGR was launched about five months ago, the train
made rare stops in between the two cities.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, James
Macharia, launched the inaugural SGR passenger train that will
be dropping and picking up passengers in the hinterland while
charging them modest fees.
During the launch, Macharia stressed that the high octane
politics witnessed during the just concluded elections did not
have negative impact on business at the SGR train service.
"I want to assure everyone that SGR passenger train will
continue to operate normally despite the highly charged
politically environment we are going through after holding
repeat presidential polls," Macharia remarked.
Resilient Kenyans like Munib and his fellow travelers were
undeterred in their quest for a luxurious ride on a modern
passenger train even as the country tried to shake off post-poll
Munib revealed that he travelled to Nairobi via SGR passenger
train to fulfill a promise he made to his family when it was
launched on May 31 in a glittering ceremony graced by Kenyan and
"I looked forward to a ride on the SGR train with a sense of
urgency and apprehension.
"The trip was a respite to the daily grind and now I feel
motivated to use this service often for leisure and business
activities," Munib remarked.
He planned to spend a one week holiday in Nairobi at a
relative’s house and later use the SGR train to travel back to
Munib clarified that the post-poll gloom that has enveloped
many parts of Kenya could not in any way affect his plans to
travel to Nairobi via SGR train.
"Let me say that the election season has been challenging to
many Kenyans especially the ones in business.
"However, I chose to remain optimistic and never cancelled my
holiday plans despite the gloomy predictions," Munib told
The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR train dubbed Madaraka Express
operated without major hitches during Kenya’s prolonged
Loise Obiero, an Operations Officer with Kenya Railways
Corporation, said the SGR passenger train service managed to
weather storms during and after the election period thanks to
meticulous contingency plans rolled out by the management.
"Our business was not affected by the elections in a
significant way and Kenyan staffers were granted leave of duty
to participate in the polls. We also ferried many people
traveling to their rural homes to vote," said Obiero.
Her optimistic assessment was reinforced by hundreds of
passengers from all walks of life who relished a ride on the
inter-county SGR train service that made its maiden trip on
Mary Mavundo, a career teacher and mother of two walked
briskly at the Nairobi Terminus’ expansive platform after
alighting from the modern train accompanied by her two children.
The resident of Voi town said her first trip to Nairobi via
SGR train was an uplifting experience that she will cherish for
a long time.
"Now that we are on holiday, I found it prudent to surprise
my children with a trip to Nairobi via the SGR train that has
gained fame in my hometown," Mavundo told Xinhua.
She vowed to use the SGR passenger train during future trips
to Nairobi since it presents a refreshing alternative to the
hectic, slow and tiresome ride on the bus.
"Our trip was enjoyable and full of comfort. We were attended
by courteous and warm crew.
"My children nudged me to organize more trips to Nairobi
using the SGR passenger train," said Mavundo.