About 400 Chinese workers have signed a contract with China Road and Bridge Cooperation (CRBC) to be part of everyday operators of the ‘bullet’ train.

The team encompasses security personnel engineers, and staff of rail operations from China who will be in the country for the next ten years until the railway operations are handed over to the Kenyan team Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina said.

He said there are currently 300 locally trained experts manning the train.

“We intend to add a few more going forward. This will depend on the volume of business and the skill sets required,” he told Business Daily on Saturday.

A Chinese engineer at the SGR line construction site. Photo: ibtimes.co.uk

The employment of the 400 comes less than a week after one of the SGR passenger trains stalled in Kibwezi for one hour leaving passengers stranded.

The train had left Mombasa at 9:00 and was scheduled to arrive in Nairobi at 1:45pm but arrived 3:30pm.

Maina said a technical alert had been issued which forced the crew to stop the train for safety reasons.

“We are confident of the functionality of the Madaraka Express and safety of our passengers remains paramount. We are working on continuous improvement of our service in order to improve on our customer’s experience,” he said.

From the time it was launched, the train has ferried more than 700,000 passengers.

The SGR line is expected to be extended to Naivasha from Nairobi and then to Kisumu.