New SGR train schedule in Kenya
Remember when the standard gauge railway was first introduced to the Kenyan public and everyone was excited to board the new trains? Well, over the past few months SGR has become such a convenient means of travel that many people are no longer fussed when it comes to using these trains as a means of transportation. However, there is a new SGR train schedule as well as new prices for those interested in using a commuter train.
SGR launched the Madaraka Express Train back on 31 May 2018 and runs passenger trips from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa on a daily basis. Later on in November the same year, the SGR Inter-County train was also launched in a bid to make Kenyan counties accessible. The trains in existence before the SGR were both old and took over 15 hours to take you to your destination. The new trains are faster and more comfortable. While the two trains might serve different purposes, both of them operate on the recently constructed Standard Gauge Railway line. The SGR schedule was the same for both of these trains, but 2018 has come with changes. The new SGR fares and schedule will take effect from August 1 so be sure to check the changes below, so you don’t miss your train. However, it would be wise for those who have never used these services to learn more about these two trains. Madaraka Express vs. Inter-County trains Madaraka Express operates from Nairobi to Mombasa without making any stops along the way. It has two classes; first class and economy class. This train can be found at the Miritini Main Station or Mombasa Terminus in Mombasa or the Syokimau Main Station or Nairobi Terminus in Nairobi. Access to either terminus is easy either by public means or a private car cum taxi. Not to mention, even after arriving at your destination, there are plenty of taxis that ferry people to various destinations from the terminus. On the other hand, there are two SGR inter-county trains which operate between the two stations mentioned above. They make stops in intermediate stops such as Athi River, Mtito Andei, Voi, Mariakani, Emali, and Kibwezi to pick up and drop off passengers while on the way to either Nairobi or Mombasa. Intercountry trains used to depart from either station at 8:00 AM every day and arrive at their destination at approximately 2:00 PM.
SGR schedule Nairobi to Mombasa The SGR schedule in Kenya has changed for both the inter-county trains and the Madaraka express. Starting August 1, the Inter-county train will leave Nairobi at 8:20 AM and arrive in Mombasa at 2:18 PM. Keep in mind the arrival time is estimated so don’t expect to arrive in Mombasa at precisely 2:18 PM. However, you can be sure your arrival time will not be far off the mark with the arrival time in mind. The other inter-county train will leave the Mombasa terminus at 8:00 AM to arrive at the Nairobi terminus at around 1:42 PM. The Madaraka Express SGR schedule from Mombasa to Nairobi will also change with the train leaving the Mombasa terminus at 3:15 PM and expected at the Nairobi terminus by 8:14 PM. You are also required to board the express train from Nairobi to Mombasa before 8:00 AM seeing it leaves the Nairobi terminus at 8:20 AM to arrive at the Mombasa terminus at around 2:18 PM. Once the Kenya railways train schedule was changed, the company released a statement which read, ‘Effective August 1, Kenya Railways will revise the train schedule for the Mombasa to Nairobi services, revision is aimed at improving the performance.’ The fare has not been affected as much as the departure and arrival times although the company had already made some changes to the same earlier in the year. Kenya railways changed the fare for the economy class from Nairobi to Mombasa from Ksh.700 to Ksh.1,000. Passengers traveling from Mombasa to Nairobi or vice versa using the first class express train are now expected to pay Ksh.3,000 per head. However, you are guaranteed safe travel and a quicker arrival considering the trains travel at speeds of 120 kilometers per hour. Intercounty trains take 5-minute stops at the intermediate stops mentioned earlier. The train will depart Mtito Andei at 11.20am, Athi River at 8.40am, Emali at 9.47am, Kibwezi at 10.32am, Voi at 12.29am, Mariakani at 1.49pm and Miasenyi at 1.04pm. The scheduled departure time at Mariakani is 8.24am, Mtito Andei (10.52am), Kibwezi (11.25am), Athi River (1.16pm), Emali (12.09pm), Voi (9.43am) and Miasenyi (9.09am). Booking your SGR train
The SGR train schedule 2018 also has in some way affected bookings. For those who were not conversant with the new 2018 booking rules, you have to book your Madaraka Express or SGR intercounty train 30 days in advance. Before this rule was in effect, travelers would book their train 14 days prior to their departure date and get a ticket. As of now, it is very hard to walk up to the SGR terminus in either Nairobi or Mombasa and get a vacant seat. So how can you book in advance? The best way to book an SGR train to either Nairobi or Mombasa is by visiting the terminus in person with all the required documents in hand. If you are booking a number of seats on the train for many people, be sure to carry their travel documents, photocopies or screenshots of the same as well as their full names. The attendants at either terminus are friendly and will help you make the booking on time to avoid missing your train. Mpesa booking Booking your SGR train via Mpesa is arguably the easiest way to go about SGR bookings. Dial *639# using your Safaricom sim card then follow the instructions to pay for your ticket via Mpesa. Once the payment is complete, you will receive a confirmation message alongside an account number. The account number should be used together with your mobile number to print tickets at the station where you intend to board the SGR train. The best thing regarding this booking option is the flexibility involved. You can choose to print your receipt on the departure day or print them immediately after receiving the Mpesa confirmation message with the account number. You can get an 80% refund on your Madaraka Express ticket(s) in case an issue arises, and your ticket is undamaged. However, be sure to claim the refund before the train sets off. What are the SGR stations opening hours? Ticketing hours at all SGR terminus are reserved to between 6:30 AM and 4:00 pm. Here are the opening hours and contacts of Kenya Railways SGR Stations. SGR Opening and Closing hours Monday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Tuesday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Wednesday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Thursday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Friday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Saturday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Sunday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm Other relevant information to know regarding SGR trains Arrive the train station about 1 hour 30 minutes before departure time. The SGR ticket is not transferable You can book SGR Tickets 30 days in advance There are two trains daily from either Nairobi or Mombasa You can board the SGR link train from Nairobi central station in the city center to SGR Syokimau Terminus There is a restaurant on the trains. Both trains have two classes; Economy class and first class. There is a weight limit of 30 kilograms per person for luggage Madaraka Express first year success story
The Madaraka Express Passenger Service reached its first year in operation in May 2018 prompting Kenya Railways to hold an event to mark this landmark. The ceremony was held on May 31, 2018, at the Nairobi terminus. The Kenya Railways Director, Mr. Atanas Maina had this to say, ‘The service has presented new opportunities for Kenyans through job creation and technology
transfer while helping in navigating transport challenges which had partly hindered Kenya from fully realizing its domestic potential. The service has had a positive impact on the tourism sector by encouraging the growth of domestic tourism. According to the Kenya Tourism Board, bed occupancy has increased to more than 90% up from 50% in previous years, a factor largely attributable to the Madaraka Express.’ The Madaraka Express train seems unaffected by the new SGR train schedule as the commuter train has already hit the million mark as far as its passengers are concerned. With over 1,142,000 passengers having previously used the train, it looks like Kenya Railways will need more trains as the demand for their SGR services increase by the day.