The first train of Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) arrives at Nairobi Terminus in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, May 31, 2017. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
NAIROBI, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 12,000 passengers had traveled on the newly launched Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) linking Kenya's port city Mombasa with its capital Nairobi in the week ending Wednesday, operator said on Thursday.
The railway, a 480 km line which kicked off passenger service on June 1, is currently operating with scheduled passenger trains from Nairobi and Mombasa running on a daily basis.
According to the operator, which is affiliated with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), about 14,000 tickets were sold in total actually, only that 2,000 of them were bought by customers including construction workers and local residents as souvenirs to commemorate the launching of the railway.
Aerial photo taken on May 12, 2017 shows the Mazeras Bridge of the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway in Kenya. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)
Huang Jincan, general manager of the operator of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR, told a press briefing that tickets were sold out on June 4 for the train running from Mombasa to Nairobi, with hundreds of people saying that they were unable to secure a ticket that day.
Noting the high demand, the operator said it plans to increase train services starting on July 1, when passenger trains are expected to commute between the terminals in the two cities each day.
The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and the CRBC signed on May 30 an operations, maintenance and service agreement for the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR.
Under the deal, CRBC took over as operator of the 480 km SGR on May 31, when a ceremony was held in Kenya to mark the completion of the railway, the flagship project of China-Kenya practical cooperation. The agreement will run for a period of 10 years.
Construction of the 3.8-billion-U.S. dollar project, with the bulk of financing provided by China, commenced in 2014.