How to Book SGR and Pay with MPESA, Credit or Debit Card

Learn how to book SGR train tickets in Kenya through multiple methods. Discover the convenience of online booking and payment options with MPESA.

Jul 12, 2023 - 10:11
How to Book SGR and Pay with MPESA, Credit or Debit Card
How to Book SGR and Pay with MPESA, Credit or Debit Card

The SGR, also known as the Madaraka Express, has revolutionized travel in Kenya since its inception in mid-2017. Operated by Kenya Railways, the SGR offers two types of trains: the Intercity Train and the Inter-County Train. The Intercity Train provides express service between Nairobi Terminus and Mombasa Terminus, while the Inter-County Train stops at intermediate stations. If you're planning to travel on the SGR, booking your tickets in advance is advisable, as it has become a popular mode of transportation. This article will guide you through booking SGR tickets and paying with MPESA, credit, or debit card, ensuring a smooth and convenient travel experience.

Booking SGR Train Tickets

There are three main methods for booking SGR train tickets:

  • Visiting the respective train station
  • Using USSD (*639#) from a Safaricom phone number
  • Booking online through the Kenya Railways website

The online booking option allows for MPESA payment only. Let's explore each method in more detail.

READ ALSO: SGR Inter-County Train: Everything You Need To Know From Nairobi To Mombasa Trip

Method 1: Visiting the Train Station

One way to book SGR tickets is by visiting the nearest SGR terminal or substation in person. When you visit the station, ensure you have the official names of all passengers, dates of travel, and the required payment. You can pay for your ticket using cash, MPESA, or a debit/credit card. This option suits those who prefer face-to-face interactions and paying in person.

Method 2: Using USSD (*639#) from a Safaricom Phone Number

Another convenient option is to use the USSD code *639# from your Safaricom line. By following the prompts, you can easily book your SGR ticket. It's essential to have sufficient funds in your MPESA account to complete the payment. This method offers a quick and accessible way to book tickets without the need to visit a physical location.

Method 3: Online Booking through the Kenya Railways Website

The Kenya Railways website provides an online platform for booking SGR tickets. To access this service, visit Please note that online bookings currently accept MPESA payments only. Here's how you can book your SGR ticket online:

  1. Visit the SGR online booking portal mentioned above.
  2. Choose the type of train you prefer. There are two options: the Intercity Train or the Inter-County Train.
  3. The Intercity Train provides a non-stop journey between Nairobi and Mombasa.
  4. The Inter-County Train stops at various stations along the way.
  5. Select the point of embarkation (origin) and the destination. You can choose either Nairobi or Mombasa as the embarkation station for the Intercity Train. The Inter-County Train offers additional embarkation points such as Voi, Mtito Andei, Mariakani, Miaseny, Kibwezi, Emali, and Athi River.
  6. Enter your departure date. You can book tickets for today, tomorrow, or any other day of the week. Online bookings also allow for booking up to 30 days.
  7. A window will open displaying train details, including ticket prices for both first-class and economy class, the number of available seats, departure time, and expected arrival time.
  8. Select the number of passengers and the coach type according to your preferences. The total ticket price for the selected number of passengers will be displayed.
  9. Click on "Book Train" and proceed to enter passenger details. Provide all passengers' names, ID/passport numbers, and nationalities. Ensure that the details match the national identity card or passport information.
  10. Enter your mobile number and email address, then proceed to pay. The online booking portal offers instant payment options or the flexibility to pay later. A window with payment instructions will guide you through the process. Please note that you need a registered MPESA number to complete the payment and finalize your online booking.

Payment with a Debit or Credit Card

An alternative method is available if you prefer to pay for your SGR tickets using a debit or credit card instead of MPESA. To utilize this option, you must contact a booking service provider through their contact form, email, phone, or WhatsApp. Provide them with the details of your preferred route, date of travel, and time. Once the availability is confirmed, you will be asked to send the payment along with the passenger details. The booking service provider will then purchase the tickets on your behalf and send you the e-ticket details, along with a local phone number. You will need these details to print the tickets at the station before or on the day of travel. It's important to note that booking services charge an additional facilitation fee, usually around $10 per ticket, to cover transaction fees and their services.

Ticket Categories and Fare Prices

The SGR offers two ticket categories: First Class and Economy Class. The fare prices for both categories are as follows:


  • Adults: Kshs 3,000
  • Children (between 3-11 years): Kshs 1,500
  • Children below 3 years: Free


  • Adults: Kshs 1,000
  • Children (between 3-11 years): Kshs 500
  • Children below 3 years: Free

Please note that when booking SGR tickets through the Kenya Railways website, the only accepted means of payment at check-out is MPESA. If you don't have access to MPESA, you can contact a booking service provider to book and pay for your tickets using PayPal or a debit/credit card.

READ ALSO: New SGR Timetable, Contacts, and Online Booking


Booking SGR tickets and paying with MPESA, credit, or debit cards has become convenient and accessible. Whether you visit the train station in person, use the USSD code *639# from your Safaricom phone number, or book online through the Kenya Railways website, you can secure your SGR tickets in advance and enjoy a seamless travel experience. Remember to have the necessary passenger details and payment ready when booking, and ensure that the information provided matches the identification documents. Whether you're traveling in First Class or Economy Class, the SGR offers comfortable and reliable train services between Nairobi and Mombasa. Book your tickets today and embark on a memorable journey with the SGR.


1. How do I book an SGR ticket online?

To book an SGR ticket online, visit the Kenya Railways website and follow the step-by-step instructions provided. Ensure you have a registered MPESA number for payment.

2. What payment options can I use for my online SGR ticket?

The Kenya Railways website currently accepts MPESA as the only payment option for online SGR ticket bookings.

3. What do I need to book an SGR ticket online?

You need a valid MPESA account, passenger details (names, ID/passport numbers, nationalities), a mobile number, and an email address to book an SGR ticket online.

4. How much does an SGR ticket cost?

The fare prices for SGR tickets vary based on the ticket category and passenger age. Here are the current fare prices:

  • Adults: Kshs 3,000
  • Children (between 3-11 years): Kshs 1,500
  • Children below 3 years: Free
  • Adults: Kshs 1,000
  • Children (between 3-11 years): Kshs 500
  • Children below 3 years: Free

Please note that these prices are subject to change, and it's always advisable to check the latest fares when booking your SGR tickets.

5. Can I cancel my SGR ticket?

Yes, it is possible to cancel your SGR ticket. Individual bookings can be canceled up to 48 hours before the travel date, while group bookings can be canceled up to 72 hours before the travel date. However, please note that cancelations and refunds will incur a fee of 30 percent of the ticket amount.

6. How do I get a refund for my SGR ticket?

You need to follow the cancelation process to obtain a refund for your SGR ticket. You can contact the SGR booking service provider or the Kenya Railways customer service to initiate the cancelation and refund process. Please remember that cancelation fees will be deducted from the refund amount.

7. What happens if I miss my trip?

If you miss your scheduled SGR trip, the ticket becomes invalid for that particular journey. However, you may still be able to use the ticket for another trip on the same route, subject to availability. It's essential to contact the SGR booking service provider or Kenya Railways customer service to inquire about the options available to you in such a situation.

8. Can I get a free SGR ticket?

While SGR tickets are not typically offered for free, specific promotions, discounts, or special offers may be available at specific times. It's recommended to check the official Kenya Railways website or contact the booking service provider to stay updated on any promotional opportunities or discounted fares.

9. Can I book an SGR ticket in advance?

Yes, you can book SGR tickets in advance. The online booking platform allows for booking for up to 30 days. This allows you to secure your tickets early, especially during peak travel seasons when availability may be limited.

10. How to buy an SGR ticket?

To purchase an SGR ticket, you can choose one of the methods mentioned earlier: visiting the train station, using USSD (*639#), or booking online through the Kenya Railways website. Each method has its steps, but they all require providing passenger details and making the necessary payment to secure your ticket.

Following these steps and utilizing the various methods available, you can easily book your SGR tickets and pay using MPESA, credit, or debit card. Whether traveling for business or leisure, the SGR offers a comfortable and efficient way to travel between Nairobi and Mombasa. Book your tickets in advance, pack your bags, and prepare for an enjoyable Madaraka Express journey.

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Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.