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Railway Rambling in Kenya, Part 2. These photographs conclude the Webmaster's review of the Kitale branch in Kenya. Generally, this was a railway ramblers' dream, because virtually everything had been left in place. No poring over old maps here to work out where things used to be – it was all still there! For further details, see the photographs in Group 35.
Left: The exit from the platform at Kitale station was suitably grand and still proclaims 'Kitale Railway Station' nearly 35 years after the last train ran. Can you imagine a disused station surviving so well in the UK? The door visible behind the colonnade on the right indicates that the railway's livery was similar to the GWR's famous 'chocolate and cream'. After years of neglect, the platform surface is beginning to break up, but it is still in better condition than many of the country's roads. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Signs still abound at the station, despite its long years out of use, this one indicating the two classes of travel that were available. The brown colouring on the painted stonework is a layer of the local red clay. When dry, this material blows around as dust and settles everywhere, including on one's clothes. It is deeply coloured, stains, and is almost impossible to get out, even with modern biological soap powders. The Omo used in Kenya stands little chance. Remember Omo? It's still a big brand out there. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: Apart from a curious splodge of red paint, the sign above the Station Master's door remains intact and much the same as when he locked up for the last time, nearly 35 years ago. As in the photograph above, deposits of the local red sand-blown clay abound. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 

Left: So who owns all of this? Kenya Railway Corporation. The notice on the Station master's door, all in block capitals, reads as follows:

Kenya Railway Corporation
Welfare's (sic) Office, PO Box 3060, Eldoret
To all our esteemed customers
Rent Payment
This is to advice (sic) you that effective from 1st Nov. 2006 you are required to pay monthly rent to Kenya Railways Account No. 017229972769 Kenya Commercial Bank, Moi Avenue Branch, and surrender the bank deposit slip to the undersigned for issuance (sic) of official KRC receipt. Please oblige to avoid embarrassment.
Charles Osuka
Regional Representative
Eldoret Sub Region

This raises a suspicion that squatters have been using the station, forcing the railway to bring the situation under control. At least the unwanted infrastructure has not been disposed of UK style, which will make it a lot easier to reinstate the Kitale branch should anyone wish to do so. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)

 
Above: Kitale station, viewed from the street, has the same colonial styling as on the platform side. The building still, in part at least, serves a public transport purpose, since the banner hung from the guttering on the left advertises the booking office of Matunda Buses. Often, one of Matunda's vehicles will be seen parked outside. Buses in Kenya are a sorry sight compared to what we have in the UK, but it must be remembered that the local roads punish the vehicles brutally, while the red dust from the roads coats them as thoroughly as it coats everything else. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 
Above: A view looking south eastwards along the departure platform of Kitale station. The massive building on the left is the extensive goods shed, which was so large that it was impossible to fit it all in the picture. The crane seen in Group 35 can just be made out in the distance, silhouetted against the sky. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)
 

Left: The running in board at Kitale station is set some way back from the platform at an angle to approaching trains, presumably so that drivers and passengers could see it better. It declares the station to be 1,895.86 metres above sea level, although alterations still visible in the paintwork suggest the railway had some difficulty in agreeing upon the precise height! Most of the building work carried out by members of the Classrooms for Kenya team was at an even higher altitude still. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)

 
Above: A close-up of the permanent way, viewed about a kilometre south-east of Kitale station. As can be seen, there is no ballast, although the country's operational lines are ballasted, which makes it possible that any ballast here has simply settled into the clay. The sleepers are made from neither wood nor concrete but metal, designed so as to grip the clay effectively and (presumably) prevent the whole structure from sinking into the ground when wet. A rail joint with fishplates can be seen in the foreground, while the keys holding the rail to the sleeper are of a fairly modern spring type, used in the UK during the mid 1970s when this branch last saw active use. The tracks of bicycle tyres can be made out between the rails. The demand for Sustrans-style rail-to-trail conversions would be very limited in Kenya, since the locals just help themselves. The empty railway is a far more pleasant way of getting into Kitale than the noisy main road, where vehicles emit amounts of exhaust that would send British clean-air campaigners into a frenzy. The stench of diesel fumes on Kenya's roads is not a pleasant experience. July 2009. (Jeff Vinter)