- There are 40 trained drivers, but none of them has ever steered the train between Nairobi and Mombasa
- Their work is not to steer the train but stay in the cockpit and run errands
Kenyans were made to believe that newly-trained local female locomotive drivers piloted President Uhuru Kenyatta from Mombasa to Nairobi after he flagged off the Madaraka Express on May 31.
Uhuru rode the train in a publicised trip beamed live by sections of media, with claims that two female drivers were in control of the train. But it has been established that Kenyans were hoodwinked.
Chinese drivers were in control of the train while the Kenyan drivers took a backbench after journalists filmed and photographed them in the driver and co-driver seats.
“People believe that my colleagues Alice Gitau and Concilia Owire steered Uhuru and other high-profile figures on that train, but the truth is they just posed for photos before the Chinese took over,” a train operator told The Nairobian.
The two drivers are among seven female locomotive operators who underwent further training in China. A colleague said they remained in the cockpit with four other Chinese and their work was to watch and do some errands.
Photos taken at Syokimau station as the train – number 5301 – carrying the president pulled over shows the Chinese steering it.
“Kenyans and media saw them board and that was it. No cameras were on that train,” the sourced revealed.
He told The Nairobian that all locals were given a break the previous day and instructed to avoid the media and the few who were on duty were being monitored closely to ensure they did not talk to the Press.
“Even today, we are still treated as amateurs. We are about 40 train drivers, but I can assure you none of us has ever steered the train between Nairobi and Mombasa. We are described as assistant operators and our work is not to drive the train, but stay in the cockpit, watch and run some errands,” the source further revealed.
Meanwhile, Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has revised fares for foreigners using the SGR for services between Nairobi and Mombasa. They will now pay the same rates as locals following suspension of earlier higher fares.
KRC had earlier resolved to charge foreigners Sh4,000 for first class and Sh1,200 for economy. But the revised rates will now see foreigners paying the same amount as locals
— Sh3,000 for first class and Sh700 for economy.
KRC has also introduced stopovers at Voi and Mtito Andei, with a first-class ticket to Voi from Mombasa going for Sh880, and Sh1,520 to Mtito Andei.
For the same class travel between Nairobi and Mtito Andei passengers will pay Sh1, 490 and Sh2,130 to Voi.
Those travelling in economy class between Mombasa and Voi will pay Sh210 and Sh370 to Mtito Andei. An economy ticket from Nairobi to Voi is Sh510, while the same ticket to Mtito Andei from Nairobi is Sh360.