Are you intrigued by the SGR Stations and their Unique Architecture? Do you want to understand the design behind these stations, the materials used in the design, and their landscaping?
The SGR train is a modern passenger rail service that connects Nairobi with the port city of Mombasa. The Kenya Railways Corporation operates the train. This post will go through the SGR Stations from Mombasa down to the Nairobi terminus. You will learn the unique design for each station and the ideas in use during their construction.
Common mwananchi in Kenya had to use bus and matatu services to travel between Nairobi and Mombasa before the US$3.6 billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) was launched in May 2017. The railway line is just 580 kilometers long in approximation, but we have already felt its impact on regional trade, tourism and even comfort.
Why Consider the SGR
The SGR aims to improve the connectivity between the two cities, decrease the time it takes to travel between them and improve connections within Kenya and other countries like Uganda and Rwanda. In addition, it is helping in easing congestion caused by slow and congested roadways on the way to other cities in Kenya.
The railway will also help connect Kenya’s trade with other countries and support the country’s tourism industry.
It uses a new technology [it’s the first railway of its kind in Kenya] which has increased speed and reduced traffic jams.
The SGR is also expected to make a huge difference in saving time for people who currently spend up to seven hours traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa. It will also result in cost savings as it costs KSH 1,000/= for economy class while a typical bus ride costs KSH 2,000/=.
Booking SGR Ticket
Have you ever dreamed of visiting Kenya? If so, watch this video. It shows you the best way to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi and of course works well when on a budget. Kenya Railways offers safe, comfortable & economical train journeys from Mombasa to Nairobi. Travel in style with Kenya’s best rail service. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before the prices hike!
There are several options for booking the SGR train, commonly known as the Madaraka Express.
- The first option is through the USSD platform by dialing *639# and follow the prompts.
- The second option is visiting the online platform.
- The third option is booking at the station.
Online SGR Booking
The SGR’s website works with one-way journeys, so if you’re planning a return trip, you’ll need to book the second one separately. Although, that doesn’t mean that all journeys must be one-way!
If you would like to book the SGR tickets, you need to do that on the Kenya Railways website.
USSD SGR Booking
- Using your phone, dial *639#
- Choose the Booking a Ticket option
- Closely follow the onscreen prompts like picking the departure station, destination, date of travel and number of tickets.
- Feed in your details; name and ID number
- Make payment
Visit the Station to Book
Booking at the SGR stations gives you a chance to select your desired seats. The staff are friendly and ready to serve you. The cost is Ksh. 1,000 per seat for the economy class and Ksh. 3,000 for the VIP class.
The train has a passenger capacity of about 1200 seats.
You must arrive at the SGR stations an hour prior to your boarding time. Such measures will help facilitate enhanced security checks. By booking advanced tickets from Nairobi to Mombasa, you can save a lot of hassle and money. And that’s not the only benefit:
- Ticket sales for SGR are often high due to the high demand, so it’s a good idea to purchase your tickets beforehand to avoid disappointment.
- The scenery in Kenya is amazing.
- Train fares for SGR journeys are cheaper than plane tickets, and we can even match you with events.
- The SGR is more environmentally-friendly.
The SGR Stations
The design of the stations reflect African heritage and culture and provide a comfortable environment for passengers. The stations are also meant to improve the region’s economy by creating jobs and opportunities.
You will pass through several unique station designs as you travel the SGR. Each station is unique with their own styling and landscaping. The main terminal passenger stations are Mombasa and Nairobi, while intermediate stations are located at Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud, Athi River, Emali, Miasenyi and Kibwezi.
The SGR Stations Architecture and ideas behind the design is interesting.
The central tower and concentric circles on this metro station design represent a ripple in the ocean. The idea itself is simple, but it has led to a groundbreaking new design of public spaces that will transform how we experience rail stations. What is a ripple in water? What does it have with regard to turning a formerly uninhabitable portion of land, confined by a steep hillside and the sea into a modernized railway station? There’s the connection. The station’s design takes inspiration from the waves and tides of the ocean. There’s also a 58-metre viewing tower, like in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. We can perceive the tower as the pebble that will trigger the ripple within the water.
Porticos are inspired by the coconut trees which grow in abundance around the region. Were you so excited when you saw a coconut tree while driving towards Mombasa for the first time? If so, it was probably at Mariakani.
The new station will remind you of nostalgia with its tropical design, inspired by the coconut tree. You’ll spot ‘coconut’ pillars throughout the building, which function like scaffolding and help hold up a huge sunshade. This sunshade not only looks gorgeous but also protects you from direct sunlight.
It has white and brown stripes, an inspiration from the zebra stripes. Tucked away in the barren Taru landscape with its unusual name, this station has become a cultural landmark of sorts. It sports African influences in the form of both its name and design. As a country at the heart of tourism, the design has adopted the Zebra’s strip element. The shade of white and brown is symbolic of local characteristics and we can classify Miasenyi as wild and strenuous.
V is the first letter of Voi. This station’s two sides form the V-shape of a person with raised hands, representing this spirit of Harambee. This symbol represents unity and harmony in Kenya. Harambee means pulling together to accomplish something. The phrase was coined by Kenya’s first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. The V-shape that’s consistent with the station’s name – Voi – is symbolic of what can be achieved if all Kenya’s tribes work together.
The sloping roofs represent both Mount Kilimanjaro and the Chyulu Hills. From Mtito Andei, the Chyulu Hills and Kilimanjaro can be seen in the distance. It is no wonder these natural elements inspired such an iconic design. Kilimanjaro is often obscured by clouds, one of the inspirations for the mid-section of this station. Below any mountain is a forest, so trees can serve as inspiration for the station’s bottom part. The curtain wall to the station’s front elevation is a wave of countless prismatic glass patterns that strengthens the visual image.
The design of Kibwezi Station borrows from traditional African architecture and the leaves of a tree that shade passengers from the sun. The eaves formed by the leaves are not only for aesthetic purposes, but they will also provide shelter and relief from the sun-rays for passengers. In addition, the building will offer shade from the sun and natural ventilation, which means less energy consumption.
The closed fist represents unity. This station is situated in two counties, making for a lot of cultural and economic diversity. But locals have been living in harmony for ages, and they offer a good example of how close neighbors can live in unison. So now you know why the design is the shape of five fingers on the fist, meaning unity or friendship.
Designed like the region’s hills. The idea here was to maintain a harmonious relationship with the surroundings and create contours that emanate from the slopes of its hilly environs. Hence, it brings the big roof design of traditional buildings where a large part of the roof extends to the ground.
The front of this station reflects a picture of two trains. On top is a bridge. The trains are aerodynamic. The bridge shows the connection and spirit of East Africa. Remember, it is this railway line that opened up the region more than a century ago. As the second phase of the SGR Initiative moves into western Kenya, SGR will be playing a more significant role in the integration process. As Kenya embraces technology, this railway line will become an integral part of transportation and trade.
The SGR stations are a testament to the country’s engineering and architectural skills. In addition, they are a commemoration of the country’s pride and heritage and their dynamic economy. The Stations have also helped raise awareness on regional economics, transportation and other topics that will benefit businesses in the region.
Technology has made it much easier for travelers to manage their SGR anytime, anywhere. For example, with mobile money or online booking, you can complete the process without ever calling the office to check ticket status.
Have you visited Mombasa? How do you find it? Love it or hate it?