The current rail network in Kenya is the metre gauge commonly referred to as 'The Lunatic Line’. It was initially named the 'Uganda Railway’ after its destination. Its construction began in the Port city of Mombasa in 1896 and was completed in 1901 at the lines terminus in Kisumu. Operations on the line commenced in 1903. The Lunatic Line links Kampala in Uganda with the Indian Ocean town of Mombasa.
Branch lines were built to Thika in 1913, Lake Magadi in 1915, Kitale in 1926, Naro Moru in 1927 and from Tororo to Soroti in 1929. In 1929, the Uganda railway became Kenya Uganda Railways & Habours. In 1931, a branchline to Mount Kenya was completed and the main line was extended from Nakuru to Kampala in Uganda.
The line is 1,000 mm and is a single track all through with occasional sidings and passing points to deal with opposing traffic. Construction was carried out by labourers brought in from India. After completion, some of the Indians remained behind thus creating the Indian community in East Africa.
The line was a huge logistical achievement and became strategically and economically vital for Kenya, linking the Indian Ocean with Lake Victoria and the East African interior. Branch lines were built and the railway became an essential part of safari adventures in the early decades of the 20th Century.