Giraffes walk beside the railway bridge in Nairobi National Park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
On Sept 10, 2019, a train equipped with various testing instruments set out slowly from the Nairobi Terminal and headed to Suswa, in the heart of the Great Rift Valley of Kenya.
As part of the one-month joint debugging test, the train will run on the first phase of the Nairobi-Malaba line and stop at five stations: Rongai, Ngong, Nachu, Maai Mahiu and Suswa. The 120-kilometer section will be fully ready for operation before Oct 1, driving economic and social development along the railway and bringing prosperity to the underdeveloped interior area of Kenya.
A few minutes after it left Nairobi Terminal, the train rolled on the long span of the 6.5 km bridge which runs through Nairobi National Park — the only national park on earth bordering a capital city where abundant wildlife can be seen against a backdrop of city skyscrapers and passing planes.
Zebras pass through the bridge holes. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
In order to minimize the railway’s impact on wild animals, 200 holes in the bridge enables them, even large ones like giraffes, to stroll freely from one side to the other. A sound barrier has effectively reduced noise pollution. When the train roars past, elephants, zebras, giraffes and antelopes graze calmly along the line.
An extension of the Mombasa-Nairobi Line and an important part of the East African Railway Network, the 487.5-kilometer Nairobi-Malaba Line starts from Nairobi, heads northwest and cross the Great Rift Valley and passes through Kisumu to the border city of Malaba. There the line is supposed to be connected with the railway in Uganda. The passenger train is designed for a speed of 120 km/h and the freight train is designed for a speed of 80 km/h.
A test passenger train running on the bridge in Nairobi National Park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]