- Notably, security patrols along the corridor before the passenger train passes ensures the safety of the running trains.
- To take care of any fire incidents, four fire extinguishers are placed in every coach.
On Sunday November 20, 2022, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) celebrates yet another milestone as it marks 2000 days of safe passenger and freight services.
In determining passenger safety, protection of criminal activity comes into play.
This entails security checks at the entrance of train stations, with police officers stationed in the stations and on-board the trains.
Notably, security patrols along the corridor before the passenger train passes ensures the safety of the running trains.
Guidelines on human behaviour have also been set against certain activities such as running in the station and on board the train.
Passenger and station attendants guide passengers and signs are placed in the stations and on-board the trains.
In terms of health, passenger attendants are trained on First Aid; they request for medical professionals on-board to assist ailing passengers and the train stops at the nearest station so the passenger can be attended to at a medical facility.
To take care of any fire incidents, four fire extinguishers are placed in every coach.
As is the norm with passenger safety, the operator also gives prominence to security of cargo.
Sufficient security personnel patrol the entire SGR corridor to ensure trespassers do not access the freight train.
Additionally, the speed of the train deters people from attempting to steal any cargo.
There is also a guard fence on either side of the SGR track.
Also noteworthy is the fact that each type of cargo is transported on specific types of wagons.
For instance, the flat bed wagons are used to carry containerized cargo and steel coils.
Another example is the use of box cars to transport tea, fertilizer and sugar.
Extra safety measures are taken for the handling of dangerous goods such as flammable liquids, corrosive material and oxidizing substances.
Staff must also follow strict guidelines when loading containers to ensure they are securely affixed onto the train.
Offloading guidelines ensure efficient loading onto trucks and transhipment onto the MGR rail in Naivasha.
But the passengers also have a role to play.
The passenger safety regulations on-board the locomotive and the stations is guided by railway industry standards.
These include placement of warning signs at the stations and on board the train.
The signs include those cautioning passengers not to lean on the train doors while on-board the train and a sign at the elevator informing passengers not to leave their bags unattended on the elevator, as this action may cause accidents.
On the platform, there is a white line accompanied by a yellow one, with tactile paving for the visually impaired.
These lines mark the safe zone on the platforms. Passengers are advised not to pass the safe zone as they may fall onto the track and injure themselves.
Safety announcements are also made at the stations and on-board the trains.
SGR’s impeccable safety records over time can be attributed to promotion of a Safety Culture.
This includes annual and quarterly recognition of Safety Champions, adherence to strict railway rules and regulations, safety inspections, regular, periodic and corrective maintenance, as well as leveraging the use of railway technology.
At the operational level, specific rules and regulations are important for railway staff to deliver safe, efficient, and reliable operations/services.
Therefore, SGR operations and maintenance regulations were created to be followed by staff in the Track, Signal, Locomotive, Rolling Stock, Transport and Dispatch Centre specialities.
The SGR owes its success to these safety measures.
Launched on May 31, 2017, the SGR passenger service had ferried 8.78 million passengers while the freight services launched in the same year on December 1had transported 22.69 million tons of cargo (1.99 million TEUs) as of November 15, 2022.
Afristar, the SGR operator, ferried 2.01 million passengers between January 1 to November 15 and 425,622 TEUs between January 1 and October 31.
Since SGR’s inception over five years ago, the operator has employed a total of 2,708 Kenyan staff, with 902 of them being transferred to Kenya Railways.
The latter are fully certified railway personnel who perform the same duties they did while at Afristar.
The author is a commentator on Transport, Logistics and Infrastructure development.