The SGR has very quickly become the more preferred option for passenger and cargo transportation between Nairobi and Mombasa.
The 480km journey only takes 4 hours to and fro, on the express train. Many acclaim the modern train for its convenience, short travel time and the awesome experience as it traverses 120km of the scenic Tsavo National Park.
The rail firm recently obtained an exemption from the new dusk-to-dawn curfew extended to March 12 by President Uhuru Kenyatta allowing the train service to operate during the curfew hours.
In the new schedule, two express trains will operate in the afternoon and night, while the third Madaraka Express will be an inter-county one. Passengers will be allowed to disembark from the stations during curfew hours to other destinations upon the proof of ticketing.
A pair of the afternoon express trains will operate between the two cities with journeys commencing at 3p.m. and ending at 8p.m. Kenya Railways says the inter-county trains will operate during the day, leaving both the Nairobi and Mombasa termini at 8a.m., stopping at all the stations along the route to arrive at 2p.m.
The inter-county trains will offer normal commuter services with stoppages at Athi River, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Voi, Miasenyi and Mariakani.
The following are the different ways you can book your SGR trip:
- Book a trip on the Madaraka Express on the Kenya Railways website.
- Select train type, departure and date of travel.
- Make Payment.
- Receive reference number.
- Keep reference number for ticket printing at the railway station. Remember to carry your National ID for identification.
Another way to book a trip on SGR is by physically going to the train terminus, where you will be physically taken through the ticketing process.
- Ensure you have enough airtime as the service is not free.
- Ensure you have enough funds on your M-Pesa account to facilitate the number of tickets you are purchasing.
- Dial *639# from your mobile phone.
- Follow the prompts to fill in your details, i.e. name, ID number, select your preferred date of travel, destination, cabin (First class or Standard).
- Select the payment method. If you select M-Pesa, you will be prompted to input your M-Pesa PIN to confirm the payment.
- You will receive an SMS confirming your booking and a reference number.
- Keep this message safe as you will require your reference number to print your ticket(s) at the station on the day of travel. Carry your National ID as well, for identification.
SGR Bookings can be made 7 days in advance and one can book up to 5 seats at a go. Through USSD, passengers can cancel tickets they had booked (before the train departs). A 20% cancellation charge applies.