Posted in travel

Halloween at Lunatic Express

I’ve seen darkness in three phases. The first, furious and famous one has been by KPLC when they play hide and seek with us Kenyans. Life follows suit when it decides to throw shade without asking for rehearsal. Then Science happens when it rewards us with Solar Eclipse. The darkness they didn’t warn me about was inside Buxton Tunnel, Lunatic’s Express rail route. Is this how Halloween looks like? Or those horror movies? I need to scream. Scream.

Tea. Chilled, serene, green carpeted horizons welcomes one to the donkey’s dung infested land baptised from the Maasai word ilmur which later came to be Limuru. The donkeys are still present but the dung faded. Bata. The shoe that made our parents work twice as hard to foot our feet with since high school was never the same without the brand. These plus the social injustices of ‘The Haves’ witnessed in colonial times makes Limuru, a town of the rich.

Nyahururu house at Koja was our boarding pass where number 115 drove us in after deducing Ksh 150.

Buxton Tunnel, the marvel of this highland boasts of history that has had its fair share of stories. Completed in 1949, our challenge of the day was to walk right in and finish. To get here we had to follow the rail route from Limuru town, 2km walk.

This oldest, longest, scary tunnel came to being as part of Lunatic Express (1901) rail route. Lunatic Express in itself was a mad project under the British government that had major shifts from George Whitehouse the engineer who was to link Mombasa port to Lake Victoria to Charles Elliot who managed the project. Railway workers lost their lives to the harsh conditions while expenses became too high making the project unfruitful leading to its halt.

However, this craziness did not put a stop to the construction of other rail routes that foresaw development in Limuru highlands bringing Buxton Tunnel into the limelight.

Criminal activities are very rampant here that police escort from Limuru railways station is a MUST. Human beings are not the only ones who are secured as our officers alerted us that the cargo trains that pass through the tunnel are also under heavy security. This feels like a movie, right? Where trains go inside tunnels and within minutes a ninja has assassinated someone or people are held hostage.

When I tell you Strava didn’t record my tunnel movement, believe you me GPS was altered or whatever the hell happened in there. Nothing moved. And that was not 2km long as history puts it. Felt like 950m! I need a recount. The marvel inside this tunnel with help of torches are the stone carvings to the chalk plastered walls with writings boasting of who is who. Caved in walls provide shelter when a train is en route.

As our feet maneuvered gently, silently, water dripping above us provided such a spooky mood. The plinking from either a leaky faucet or cracked ceiling made the rails more slippery. (More reason why I DEMAND a movie from here). Each calculated step made one long for the exit but not without creating our own photo studios with torches to capture the moments. Ssshhh but some pics seemed like a ghost was behind you.

Light at the end of the tunnel saw us part with our security and Ksh 100 fee as we proceeded to follow the rail out to La Ferme Organic farm where the aura of fresh produce calmed our nerves with a mix of yoga from an Explorers Yoga teacher.

Let’s Drift made this trip happen. Oops, a porcupine quill was collected as souvenir.

Ps: With the ongoing revivals of railway lines, I hope Buxton Tunnel comes to being as where passenger trains can pass through.