Thursday, 15 March 2012

Coming soon: Railway Cities in Kenya


An artists impression of Nairobi Railway city
KENYA RAILWAYS Corporation, KRC, has been mandated to develop its large holding of real estate country-wide into Railway cities. This will help speed up the growth of some Railway towns into cities. Initially it proposes to develop Railway cities in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Voi. The corporation proposes a string of investment plans to attract the private sector into the proposed Railway cities.

A transactions advisor is already on the ground studying the various investment options. Among the proposed options are; PPPs through Build operate Transfer (BOT) land leases, franchises and Joint-Ventures. The advisor is expected to complete his study in six months time  and recommend the investment options-mix suitable for each town.

 A Railway city can be defined as an urban development that grows around a railway station and linked to it. The station is the nerve centre of the city due to ease of transportation of people and goods.

The developments in the proposed cities will  include; ultra modern Railways stations, direct Rail links with the international airport in the host city, commercial buildings, an industrial park, shopping arcades, malls and restaurants among other facilities. The project is designed to complement the facilities in the cities but in some instances the Railway cities will provide the only cities worth writing home about.

 The plan is part of a wider plan by the corporation to develop its real estate holdings in the country into Railway cities. More than 400 acres spread across the country are ear marked for the initial  project, that begins at the Indian ocean coast  and ends at the shores of Lake Victoria..
Mombasa Railway City as conceived by Artists

 Nairobi holds the Lion’s share, some 200 acres ready for development. In Nairobi the corporation proposes to develop a mega city that will become the hub for Commuter, inter city and regional passenger rail traffic.

 This is no accident as Nairobi; the Kenyan Capital is centrally located for rail transport to any part of the country and also across the borders to Uganda and the great Lakes region. .
The fourth largest city in Africa, Nairobi is hosts a string of international companies and organizations such as the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat. It is also the main coordinating headquarters for the United Nations in Africa and the Middle East.

An artist's impression of Kisumu City
 Nairobi is also the financial, Manufacturing, aviation, diplomatic, educational and health services hub of the East and Central African region. Consequently demand for hotel space and transport infrastructure is high. The railway city will be built within the CBD, which makes it a viable business proposition.

The megacity will be connected to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, JKIA, by a direct railway line. Other facilities are: a variety of Commercial buildings; a Business park for light manufacturing/assembly; two Hotels with conference facilities for 3000 people; Shopping arcades, malls and restaurants and an entertainment Park; Ultra Modern railway Station and Parking silos. The city, says the corporation, is a viable commercial venture for there is a huge demand for a development that integrates transport, exhibitions, hotels, leisure, conference and commercial facilities “under one roof,” so to speak.


 Mombasa is the country’s only sea port so far and Kenya’s second largest city. KRC proposes to develop its 100 acres piece of in the centre of the city into a railway city. The development will  include a variety of Commercial buildings; business park for Light manufacturing/assembly; three Hotels with conference facilities for 3000 people; Shopping arcade, mall and restaurants; An entertainment Park; Ultra Modern railway Station; Parking silos and an international trade centre. The railway city will also integrate with the central commuter railway station linking the international airport in Mombasa and various other coastal regions. Mombasa is a major coastal tourist destination in Africa and the megacity is welcome addition to tourism in the coast.


Kisumu is the third largest City in Kenya and the second most important after Kampala in the greater Lake Victoria basin. It is within easy reach of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Northern Tanzania and Southern Sudan, making it a natural hub for trade and transport in the East African region.

Kenya Railways has 75 acres of prime land stretching from the Centre of Kisumu City to the shores of Lake Victoria. This is where the Railway city will be built.

The railway city will open up Kisumu city to the world. Apart from the usual Railway services, the city will enhance Kisumu’s status as the transport and commercial hub of the great lakes region.  The development will include; a variety of Commercial buildings; Business park for Light manufacturing/assembly; two Hotels with conference facilities for 2000 people, a shopping arcade, malls and restaurants; a BPO park; an  entertainment Park; Ultra Modern railway Station Parking silos.  The city will make Lake Victoria a base for cruise tourism and international water sports. It will provide a direct railway Link to Kisumu Airport which is ten minutes away.

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