Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria has welcomed move by the national government to rehabilitate the 240-kilometre long Nairobi – Nanyuki railway.
Wa Iria termed the rehabilitation of the railway line, which ceased to operate several decades ago, as historic and timely.
The railway, he said will boost economic activities and re-calibrate the trading corridor in Mt Kenya region.
Wa Iria said after the railway stopped being operational, many trading centres in the region which were served by the line, suffered slow but agonizing death.
“Traders suffered, businesses closed down and unemployment thus poverty set in. But that now is bound to change as the once vibrant towns like Maragua, Sagana and Karatina, seek to regain their lost stature and glory,” said the governor.
Last week, the government released Sh1 billion out of the set Sh3 billion to rehabilitate the metre gauge railway.
Rehabilitation works have already kicked off from Nanyuki towards Nairobi and the exercise is expected to take six months.
In his statement, the governor said reviving the railway line will lead to rise of special economic zones in areas, including Thika, Maragua, Kandundu and Sagana.
“These zones will serve as employment as well as technology transfer hubs for our young generation,” he said.
Re-operationalization of the railway is also seen as a way to bring about a rise of new business opportunities along the line like hotels, malls, resorts and other enterprises.
The railway is also expected to revitalize sleepy towns like Maragua and Karatina with expected effect on property value and the real estate development.
“This is a big plus as the accrued spiral effect in terms of employment and businesses will be huge,” said Wa Iria.
The railway will see the emergence of new hinterland towns thus creating value to land and contribute to better livelihoods.
The line will also provide an alternative means of transport for bulky agricultural produce thus providing cheap means of transporting goods.
The rehabilitation of the railway line comes at a time when part of the land has been encroached.
Mid this month, Kenya Railway Corporation issued a notice to traders operating along the railway line to vacate to give room for rehabilitation of the line.
The railway will serve counties including Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Nyeri, Laikipia and neigbouring areas, including Isiolo and Meru.
The line will link Nairobi region and the LAPPSET corridor which is serving northern parts of Kenya.