Kenya refurbishes Railways Training Institute

Kenya refurbishes Railways Training Institute

The government of Kenya has refurbished the Railways Training Institute (RTI) ahead of the planned takeover of SGR operations by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC).

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary (CS) James Macharia confirmed the report and said that the institute would enable the government to cater to a large number of Kenyans who want to work in the railway industry.

“We have new infrastructure within RTI that will be used to upgrade the skills of both SGR and metre gauge railway staff. There is no need for an SGR if we do not create opportunities for Kenyans. We have the brick and mortar but if you do not train the people, then you cannot have a successful transfer of technology from the Chinese to Kenyans,” said the CS.

Refurbished RTI

The Railways Training Institute now has the capacity to train up to 800 Kenyans using the same standards used to train the SGR Kenyan staff who undertook a training exercise in China. The institute has been upgraded at a cost of about Sh 997million and it now includes modern laboratories and technical workshops that will be crucial in training the people who will handle the SGR operations.

Kenya SGR operations takeover

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) recently announced that it has begun gradual process of taking over the operations of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from the Chinese operator Afristar. According to Kenya Railways Chairman Omudho Awitta, the corporation has already assumed ticketing, security and fuelling functions of the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR).

KRC in 2017 contracted AfriStar, a subsidiary company of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), to manage SGR operations and maintenance. Under the contract, the operator has the right to manage the ticketing system and any associated software and hardware. The contract between the two parties was to run for 10 years from 2017 with provision clause for review in the fifth year.

The Kenyan government in 2020, however, reached a deal with AfriStar to take over operations and maintenance by May 2022. The gradual takeover was set to commence in July 2020 with some functions handed over from March 1, 2021.

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