Saturday, April 13, 2024

How to book SGR Madaraka Train Tickets Like A Boss.


I have been writing a lot about how to book various bus companies in the recent past. However today, I want to take a detour and show how to book the SGR train.

Please note that the abbreviation SGR stands for Standard Gauge Railway. In the recent past, a new railway line has been built to replace the old ‘Lunatic Express’ line.

Trains that run on the SGR line are called the Madaraka Express.

If you are a frequent traveler between Nairobi and Mombasa, you will appreciate that traveling by train is by far the safest way to travel.

So how to book the SGR train? You may be asking.

There several way you can do this. Here is a summary.

  1. Book online.
  2. Book via ussd.
  3. Call Kenya Railways.
  4. Get yourself to a station and get your ticket.
  5. Book via Mpesa.

How to book SRG train; A complete Guide.

1. Book Online

I always love doing things online because it saves you time and money. I have travelled several times between Nairobi and Mombasa using the SGR train. For this reason, I have firsthand experience how it feels like to be onboard.

If you wish to book your ticket online, please follow these simple steps.

Step I

Go to, if the link does not work, copy and paste it in your browser. This takes you to a page that looks this way.  

Madaraka Express

Step II

From the screenshot in step I, choose the type of train, either Inter County or Express.  Note that the Inter Country train makes several stopovers at designated train stations along the way. While the Express train does not stop until the final destination.

Step III

Select the origin terminus, which is either Nairobi or Mombasa for the Express Train. For the Intercounty train, you have several other origin terminus to select from.

Step IV

Select your final destination.

Step V

Choose your date of travel.

Once you have done this, all that you need to do now is hit the ‘Book Train Button’

Step VI

If you do this, you will be taken a page that looks this way.

How to book sgr

As you can see, you have two options to choose from. There are two coach types, either the First Class or the Second Class. Choose accordingly, what suits you.

You will also need to select the number of people traveling and select whether they are adults or children (between 3- 11 years).

As you do this, the total fare will be populated for you. Children under 3 years travel free. If you are happy and everything looks good, hit the ‘Book a Train’ Button.

Step VII

Once you hit the ‘Book a Train’ Button, you get to this page.

How to book sgr

Now, you need to enter your ‘Full Name’, ID or Passport and finally choose your nationality. Once done, enter your payment details, which include the M-Pesa Mobile Number and your email address.

At the bottom of the page, you have two options, either ‘Pay Now’ or ‘Pay Later’. Your booking is then complete when you pay the amount via Mpesa. An E-ticket should be sent to your email address.

This process should take you less than 10 minutes. That how to book SGR online in style.

2.How to book SGR via USSD

Phones have become a necessity and booking SGR Via USSD is another option you could use to book for your first ride.

To do so, follow the following steps.

  1. Go to your phone and enter the USSD Code * 639# and hit the call button.
  2. Select desired steps.
  3. Follow all the prompts and enter the information that is required. You notice that the process is similar to booking online only that you doing it via phone.
  4. Make payment and wait for Mpesa Confirmation.
  5. Get your Account Number from the confirmation message.
  6. Use the confirmation number and phone to print your ticket at the train station.

Here is a summary of how to do all this. Have a look.

How to book sgr
Book you ride via Mpesa.

3. Call Kenya Railways

Calling Kenya Railways is another option that you can explore. All you need to do is call and a representative of Kenya Railway will ask you a series of questions to help you get your ticket.

You will receive a prompt message requiring that you pay (see under paying via Mpesa below).

Here the Contacts you may want to use, but I would recommend calling.

Kenya Railways Contacts

Postal Address: P.O BOX 30121- 00100, GPO Nairobi Kenya.

Mobile number: 0728603580/0728603581/0708572574/0708571587


Email Contact:

Twitter Handle: @KenyaRailways

Facebook Page: Kenya Railways

For all Madaraka Express enquiries Call 0709388888

4. Go to the station

How to book sgr
Nairobi Terminus at Syokimau

If you like doing things the traditional way, you can get to the SGR stations and book. If you are in Mombasa, you need to go to Miritini Station and if you are in Nairobi, you have to go to Syokimau Station.

5. How to book SGR Via MPesa

This how to do it.

1. Initiate the process by calling the Madaraka express through 0709388888 within the official working hours.

2. Give out your details which includes but not limited to the type of coach, travel date, destination and phone number.

3. You will be notified the amount payable. In case you need to know the amount in advance, see the fare chart below.

4. You will be prompted with a short message on your phone containing your ID number, pay bill number and amount due.

5. Pay the due amount through the pay bill number provided above.

6. You will receive a message containing your ticket details after payment.  

Answers common questions about the SGR booking

Here are answers to common questions that I have been asked previously but which could be of help to you.  

Can book in advance?

The answer to this is yes, you can book in advance. All the five methods listed above allows you to book in advance.

However, this what you need to know need. As an individual, you can book a ticket 30 days in advance. If you are traveling as a group of 20 people or more, advance booking of 30 days or more is required.

How long does it take between Mombasa and Nairobi.

The rain takes 6 hours to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa. However, if you are on the Inter county train, this might take you more time.

The distance between Nairobi and Mombasa is 490KM. This means that the train travels at an average speed of 82km/h. However, the trains have a top speed of 120km/h.

What are the Charges?

The charges depend on the destination and the type of Coach you take.

Have a look.

Express Trains (Nairobi to Mombasa)

Class Adults Children (3-11Years) Children( Below 3 Years)
First Class 3000 3000 Free
Second Class 1000 1000Free

Inter County Trains

Nairobi To Class Adults Children (3-11Years) Children( Below 3 Years)
Athi River First 120 60 Free
Second 60 30 Free
Mtito Andei First 1490 750 Free
Second 490 250 Free
Voi First 2130 1070 Free
Second 700 350 Free
Emali First 790 400 Free
Second 260 130 Free
Kibwezi First 1210 610 Free
Second 400 200 Free
Miaseny First 2450 1230 Free
Second 900 450 Free
Mariakani First 2870 1440 Free
  Second 940 470 Free
Mombasa First 3000 1500 Free
  Second 1000 500 Free

Can I get a refund?

The answer is yes. In case something happens and you miss you train, you can request for a refund.

However, note that you can only get 80% of the price of the ticket. However to get a refund, you will need to notify the train attendants before the train leaves.  

If the train leaves due to you arriving late for whatever reason, you may not get a refund.

How does traveling on SGR feel like?

Traveling on the SGR is a wonderful experience. That said; do not expect anything out of the ordinary. However you will notice a bit of comfort compared to the old trains we were used to in the past.

What if I lose my ticket?

In case your ticket is lost or defaced, getting a ride may be difficult. Nevertheless, should that happen, you can contact Kenya Railways and see whether you will be assisted.


Booking the SGR is very easy. You have five ways to do this.

1.            Book online

2.            Book via USSD

3.            Call Kenya Railways.

4.            Get yourself to a station a get your ticket.

5.            Book via Mpesa

Within minutes, you will have your SGR ticket and begin a trip of your lifetime .

Maishah Marsden
Maishah Marsden
Maishah Marsden is the founder of ShopaXo (ShopInKenya.Com) and Maishah.Co.Ke . He is a top Kenyan blogger casually called by his peers as "Life'. If he is not writing your favorite articles, he is with his family. He loves sport and won't mind going on Safari anytime.

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