The first batch of the freight locomotives for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) arrived in the country this week ready for the line testing process later on in this 1st quarter, ahead of the planned launch date of June 1st 2017.
Six locomotives docked at the port, four of which are freight locomotives of the model DF8B diesel locomotive. This is the main traction locomotive model of the Chinese railway system, with locomotive power of 3100KW and a maximum speed of 100 km/h.
Once the SGR is operational, this locomotive will be the main force serving freight transportation needs on the entire railway. Also expected are 2 DF7G shunting locomotives with 1550KW power, which together with the freight locomotives, will be used for marshalling and dispatching locomotives and rolling stock within stations.
There will be a total of 56 locomotives manufactured by CRRC Corporation in operation on the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR route.
The entire fleet is expected to be in the country by mid-year and will arrive in four batches. The fleet, when complete, will consist of three models: passenger, freight and shunting locomotives. There will be five DF11 passenger locomotives, 43 DF8B freight locomotives and eight DF7G locomotives.
The DF8B heavy-duty diesel locomotive, which just arrived at Mombasa Port is the classic model with an AC-DC transmission Diesel-Electric, high-power engine. It is widely used for both passenger and freight, and boasts a domestic market share of 60 per cent in China. The DF11 passenger locomotive represents the realization of high-speed passenger transportation in China. It is the highest scientific and technological achievement by the Chinese diesel locomotive industry, and will arrive at Mombasa Port by the end of January, together with the second batch of locomotives and rolling stock equipment.
The DF11, DF8B and DF7G diesel locomotive models represent the highest levels of Chinese diesel locomotive technology. They have played a key role in the sixth nationwide train speed-up campaign in China.
According to the CRBC, the three locomotive models have been customized for Kenya’s tropical savannah climate, operational environment and future maintenance requirements, based on the results of field investigations carried out by Kenya Railways, CRBC and the locomotive manufacturer CRRC Corporation along the SGR line.
The next critical segment of the project involves the construction of high-quality stations, signalling, communication and electricity works, to ensure the operation of the SGR line in time to contribute to Kenya’s socio-economic development and prosperity.
Under construction by CRBC, the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR line, which runs from Mombasa Port, East Africa’s biggest, is the first green-field railway line in Kenya in the last century. Significant progress has been made since commencement. The construction of sub-grade, bridge, culverts and main line track-laying is nearly complete. The installation of signalling, communication and electricity systems, and station building has come to an end. The preparation for full railway operation is currently underway. It is expected that the railway will start operations from June this year.