A cargo train ferrying more 100,000 litres of petroleum from Mombasa port has derailed at Kibarani, causing traffic woes into the central business district of Kenya’s second biggest city.
The train that was using the old metre gauge railway lost its way at 4.30am and and a wagon emptied its highly flammable contents on the railway line.
It derailed on an underpass with the busy Mombasa-Nairobi highway, the main road to Mombasa’s central business district.
Hours later, police sealed off the area and closed the Makupa Causeway near Uganda Property and ordered motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to use alternative routes to reach the CBD during the morning rush hour.
Mombasa County Commissioner Evans Achoki urged motorists to use alternative routes to the city centre.
Motorists heading to Mombasa town centre, Moi International Airport and Standard Gauge Railway, he said, should use the Kenya Ports Authority route.
“We have asked KPA to allow passengers to use the route. We have also asked buses from Nairobi and upcountry heading to Mombasa to use Mariakani- Mwakirunge route,” he added.
He said investigations had started to establish the cause of the derailment even as he ruled out foul play.
“We are trying to ensure there is safety, thereafter we decant the fuel and open up the road,” he said.
Engineers from Kenya Railways and official from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) were overseeing the decantation of petrol from the derailed wagons to petrol tankers.
This is the second train to derail at Kibarani in less than a month.
Three weeks ago, a wagon from Kenya Railways Corporation derailed in the same area, spilling thousands of litres of petrol.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina at that time blamed garbage for the derailment.
The county government of Mombasa has since cleared the garage.