MOMBASA, Kenya, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) on Thursday carried out a test run of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line and the passenger coaches.
A team of experts, engineers and KRC management left Nairobi at 9:30 a.m. and it took them exactly two hours to reach Mtito Andei along Nairobi-Mombasa railway. The train was travelling at 120 Km/h.
"It took us a record time of two hours, travelling at a speed of 120km/h," SGR Project Coordinator Engineer Jeremiah Matu said.
The test run from Mtito Andei to Mombasa took them quite a while because that SGR section has not completely been finished. It took them approximately five hours.
"The section between Nairobi and Mtito has been completed. The electrical signal systems are functional. However, between Mtito and Mombasa we had to use manual signaling because the section is still under construction," he said.
The SGR line that stretches from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi is 90 percent funded by the China Exim Bank while Kenya is funding the remaining 10 percent.
After the completion of the 480km SGR line from Mombasa to Nairobi, the passenger train will be taking an approximately four to five hours.
During the first test run, two passenger locomotives, one First Class passenger coach, an Economy Class passenger coach and a special Comprehensive Detection coach were used.
The Comprehensive Detection Coach is important because it is fitted with cameras that take photographs of the entire SGR line as the train moves.
"The Comprehensive Detection coach takes photographs of the line. It is able to detect section of the line where there are loose bolts or where something is amiss," Matu said.
He said the run test will be conducted every day for the next three months before the contractor hands over the SGR project to the Kenyan government.
"We shall be doing 10 kilometers test run every day for the next three months. By mid May, we shall be able to do the final test before the contractor hands over the project," he said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to commission the SGR project which is being constructed by Chinese company by June 1.
He and other government officials are expected to make the first ride in the passenger train during the launch, which will be several months ahead of the schedule.