The Train III and a Half
Date; January 2019
Location; Living stone town
Back drop Scenery; Mbezi river
Mission; Planning the train series for 2020
The plan … take a bus up north to Kenya- Ethiopia border. Cross over the next day into Ethiopia and go up further to Addis. Get the country train to Eritrea and back.
Corona “keep dreaming boy”
Well, that was to make up another train trip series as I have been doing it but Corona had other plans. It destroyed all the plans and pushed up so many things for so many people.
But, life has to move on so here goes The Train III and a half episode. If you have not read The Train III where i did the train to Zambia, here it is.
#The train to nowhere ….
This is the SGR train that goes down into the rift valley. Same cars as the Mombasa cars. Same 90 degree uncomfortable seats. Same annoying sitting position only that due to the low demand of users, this train is an easier train and has a good justification for you to take if you have some time to spare over the weekend
The Nairobi – Suswa train works all week long and from small research done, it’s possible to just walk up right into the station at the day of travel and get a ticket. Personally, I am not good at such surprises, so I booked mine early. Base rates is Ksh 200 for those catching the train from Nairobi terminus. If you get on along the way fares reduce.
As said before this is the same train as the Mombasa on a different travel direction. You will arrive to a location that the world map systems are still trying to map out.
However, there are few things that would make you take this train. It’s one easy train to get on and since the trip is short with a return same day you can literally catch it in the morning get some good break from the Nairobi life and come back in the evening without much hectic travel plans. It goes down the escarpment and you have a chance to marvel as the escarpment rise behind you. If you are weird like I am, you will also enjoy the vast emptiness.
Once you land in Suswa town at 11am you have up to 4pm to sun bask like the sand geckos of the land or go to Naivasha town or go to the new hotel around the Suswa town to have a good time and then go back. Pretty good and easy breather time for you and family.
#The bigger ugly picture
The train literally terminates at a location if you would step back, look at the station and you wonder to yourself what was wrong with the people who came up with that route. And here is why , just like the Mombasa bound train, you must find your means to and from the stations. These stations are not friendly located. meaning in real sense if you were to go to Naivasha town, you would just rather catch the SWVL buses that somehow match the comfort and effectiveness.
For you get to the Nairobi, Rongai or Ngong stations you have to involve yourself with some traveling gymnastics where you pay ksh 100 minimum. Once you get to Suswa town you must find your means to Naivasha town and pay a minimum of ksh 400 to and from. In total you have paid about Ksh 700. This could be the reason its not a very popular train.
Maybe things will change in the future but as it is right now this is just the train to nowhere as they called it and for the “rich” and I say rich because 1000 in this economy for someone struggling to live by that’s a lot of money.
#The Good News
That future is not far off assuming politics wont get in the way. The SGR train will start terminating at Mt Longonot town where the MGR or older train takes over to ferry people and goods to the western regions. And i think this is a good move because i believe there many more people who are going to the western region for holidays than those going to Mombasa. I am really hoping politics doesn’t spoil this one for all of us.