Kenya Standard Gauge Railway rolls out services

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off a cargo wagon during the launch of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operations at the port city of Mombasa on May 30, 2017. CHARLES KIMANI | PSCU 

The Kenya Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) rolled out its cargo services at a ceremony at the port of Mombasa Tuesday evening.

The SGR replaces the more than a century-old colonial railway line, and heralds a new dawn for Kenya, the gateway to the East and Central African region.

With the unveiling of the new railway's cargo operations, Kenyans and the more than the 300 million residents of the region are set to reap the benefits of efficient transportation of cargo.

President Uhuru Kenyatta waved a giant Kenyan flag to set in motion the inaugural cargo train of the SGR shortly after 6pm (+3GMT), at Port Reitz, marking a new era where cargo will be moved twice as fast and at a cheaper price.

A passenger train on the more than a century-old colonial railway line in Kenya. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The ceremony was witnessed by Kenyans and representatives from across the world.

The Kenya government has already embarked on extending the SGR to eventually reach Kampala and Kigali in Uganda and Rwanda respectively.

President Kenyatta, who was flanked by Deputy President William Ruto and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, said every Kenyan should be proud of the SGR.

"I call upon all Kenyans whatever their political beliefs to celebrate, today we should be together holding hands in celebrations," said the president moments after the cargo train pulled alongside his Dias waiting for the flag off.

"This is the Kenya we seek and this is the Kenya we want our children to inherit from us and their children to inherit from them," said President Kenyatta.

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