Private contractors will finance the upgrade of the old metre gauge railway (MGR) between Naivasha and the Malaba border and also build a new line connecting to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) at a total estimated cost of Sh21 billion, this is according to the Transport Secretary James Macharia. The public-private-partnership contract will help the government to avoid borrowing more loans while ensuring that there is a reliable railway connection between Naivasha and the Ugandan border for onward connection to Kampala. Kenya dropped its bid to extend the SGR to Kisumu and later on to the Ugandan border after failing to secure a multi-billion-shilling loan from China, which funded the first and second phases of the new railway line. However Macharia said that the government’s priority now is to upgrade the old metre gauge railway and connect it to the SGR through construction of a new road and rail link from Maai Mahiu to the Naivasha MGR station. Upgrading the old Naivasha-Nakuru-Eldoret-Malaba line will cost an estimated Sh15 billion ($150 million) while building of the Mai Mahiu connection will cost about Sh6 billion ($60 million). The upgrade and construction of the connection is expected to start in the next three months.
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