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SGR services resumes

[The passenger train. Photo/courtesy].

The first Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train arrived at the Miritini Terminus in Mombasa from Nairobi Monday afternoon with hundreds of excited passengers after a month-long suspension due to Covid-19 movement restrictions.

The SGR services were suspended last month following the partial lockdown of Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos counties.

The government last month imposed lockdown in the five counties and declared them disease infected areas following a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.

In his Labour Day speech last Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced new containment measures which included lifting of the lockdown on the affected counties.

Hoteliers and other traders in Mombasa welcomed the resumption of passenger train services between Nairobi and Mombasa saying it will improve business in tourism, transport and other sectors.

The global health emergency has adversely affected the hotel industry with business and holiday travel virtually grinding to a halt forcing many establishments to either close down or reduce their workforce.

Negative impact

Most of the hotels recorded huge losses during the month of April following the lockdown of the five key counties which provides significant number of domestic tourists.

Some of the passengers travelling for holidays and business deals at the port city expressed their satisfaction with train operations which are effective and convenient.

Some of the passengers travelling for holidays and business deals at the port city expressed their satisfaction with train operations which they said are cost effective and convenient.

Among the passengers were a tourist couple on holiday Basel Ali and Ann Kipusi of canadian Origin who arrived in Mombasa for holiday, they welcomed the government’s decision to gradually open up the economy by easing the Covid-19 restrictions.

“We are grateful for the resumption of passenger trains. We have been bored locked up in Nairobi for a whole month when the government imposed a restriction of movement, but now we can enjoy our holiday,” said Ali.

Other local commuters expressed satisfaction on commencement of SGR services, saying the ride was smooth, convenient and adhering to the laid down COVID-19 protocols.

Taxi operators operating at the Miritini Terminus through their Chairman Isaiah Omollo expressed their satisfaction for the resumption of activities at the facility saying the suspension of the passenger trains had adversely affected their business.

Kenya Railways Company announced on Sunday that the schedule of trains remains unchanged with the Inter-county train departing from Mombasa and Nairobi at 8:00 am, the Express train departing at 3:00 pm, and the Night train departing at 10:00 pm.