The government has started rehabilitation of the 127-kilometer Voi-Taita-Taveta railway line, which was closed two decades ago.
Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has already urged dozens of trespassers into the railway land reserve along the Voi-Taita-Taveta metre-gauge railway corridor to vacate it before the end of this month to facilitate rail rehabilitation.
“We would like to make the public aware that the company intends to rehabilitate the 127-kilometer Voi-Taita Taveta MGR line. All unauthorized persons who have entered or reside and/or operate in the corridor of the MGR Line are hereby granted a period of fourteen days to voluntarily evict immediately upon the expiry of this notice or to be faced with forced eviction in order to to make way for the planned revival. Read part of KRC’s announcement.
The company said that after the notice period, any illegal buildings/property found along the corridor will be demolished and/or removed at the risk and expense of the intruders.
Several people are expected to count casualties as some sections of railway land along the corridor have been converted to stands.
The line is now in a state of disrepair and some of its sections have been vandalized with missing rail bars, notably in Tsavo West National Park.
The railway line, built in 1924 by the British government during the First World War, closed in 2000 and was the preferred mode of transport to carry their goods from Taveta and neighboring Tanzania.
According to the KRC Master Plan, after its rehabilitation, the line will be connected to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and play a key role in moving cargo from the Port of Mombasa to Holili on the Kenya-Tanzania border.
The project would significantly boost international trade between Kenya and northern Tanzania considering it will be linked to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) inland container depot to be built in Taveta.
KPA has secured a 50-hectare plot of land in Taveta, on the Taveta-Holili border, to build an inland freight hub, but construction has not yet started. When completed, it will facilitate the evacuation and delivery of cargo to Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
In a previous interview, Saitoti Torome, secretary-general of the planning department, said plans to refurbish the old line have been completed and that revitalizing the corridor will boost the movement of cargo by providing cheap transportation from Mombasa Port.