Five and half years ago, a Ruiru Bound passenger train rammed a Umoinner bus at the Mtindwa railway level crossing killing 6 people instantly, 5 more died in hospital bring the total to 11.
The brute force of the train reduced the bus into a ramshackle-twisted metal, mixed with blood and flesh; crushed underneath the heavy metal engine.
It was a ghastly site.
There was a church nearby
The pilot of the train disembarked immediately thereafter rushed into the church and said his prayers, maybe for forgiveness.
I was living in Mowlem area of Embakasi at the time, and as a frequent Mtindwa (mutindwa– whatever) market customer, I had the chance to listen even witness near-misses several times.
The Ruiru train christened the Ruiru Eagle by the Kenya Railways is the longest of them all. It also has a big menacing engine to boot.
I’ve boarded all the commuter trains plying Nairobi routes.
When I lived in Embakasi Village mradi slums, I used to take Airport Peackock, that’s how the Embakasi train is referred to as.
I also once boarded the crisp-clean well-lighted Mlolongo bound commuter train.
As for the Kikuyu Bufallo, the train plying the Nairobi – Kibera – Kikuyu route, I’ve only taken a tour inside.
This was the doyen of all unruliness in the past. (The Kenya Railways managed to bring sanity – that”s a story for another day).
Now, back to our story.
I’ve witnessed the mercilessness of the train. I’ve witnessed about 6 train accidents. Five of this, I was inside the train.
Airport peacock run over a lame-beggar at Taj Mall, it crushed a saloon car at Kabansora, rammed into a lorry at Taj Mall, its engine separated from the cabins at Kabansora once. The peacock crushed a cyclist at the Quarry bridge to mince meat standards. Phew!
The Ruiru eagle is the most notorious, I witnessed some of its diabolic exploits, others I heard from people who were around.
It’s like a month hardly passes without this train killing someone or knocking something.
‘The eagle’ has some, or one, mad driver(s) and one would know this by the way its driven after he/she boards.
There’s this one driver who drives this thing at full -speed between stations, he also doesn’t hoot or hoots late when approaching level crossings/intersections.
The Eagle crushed a man under the bridge that connects Jogoo road to Industrial area (BAT Side), the Eagle crushed another man at dandora area.
The Eagle claimed lives of many during the time people used to board up to the roof. A person would fall from the roof, get crushed and the train would stop, the police man would survey, report on the walkie-talkie and then shout, ‘let’s proceed’, and your carcass would be left lying there for the dogs, lucky you if the police arrive early to pick it up.
The least accident prone commuter train is the Mlolongo one. I’ve only had of one incident where a woman wearing ear phones was crushed around Imara Daima area.
O, before I forget the Ruiru eagle once run over the feet of a passenger at the Nairobi Railways Station, severing it from the rest of the leg. This one is a serial killer!
The bad thing is that this serial killer passes through Mutindwa on its way to Ruiru.
That’s the isht!.
The chanced misses still continue on this intersection and despite the efforts made by Kenya Railways and Nairobi County Government to clear this place of the market, the sellers keep coming back and setting up vibandas.
I now live nearby and over the past two months I’ve noticed that ‘the eagle’, drivers have become more and more reckless.
Its like they are telling people, ‘see, you now have the footbridge, use it and get the hell outta our way’.
The drivers hoot late, sometimes just once.
With this kind of behavior and the rejuvenation of the market, it is only a matter of time before another accident claims lives.
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