The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Adeseyi Sijuwade,says Nigeria’s first high speed train moving from Abuja to Kaduna will commence operation in March this year,
Sijuwade, said the corporation would take delivery of modern coaches that could run on the standard gauge track next month to facilitate the take-off of the train service.
The Managing Director stated this in Lagos at the inauguration of refurbished coaches and wagons, some of which were deployed for the weekly Lagos-Kano train on Friday to meet the increasing number of passengers.
“Next month, we’ll be taking delivery of modern coaches to run on the standard gauge line, specifically for the Abuja-Kaduna line, so that that service can commence immediately. We’re looking at February/March for the service to commence.”he said.
Sijuwade said, “I am pleased to announce the completion of refurbishment of three air-conditioned sleeper coaches and eight 90-seater standard class coaches for the comfort and safety of our customers. These coaches, having been coupled, are now on our Lagos-Kano intercity passenger train with adequate police security, restaurants and first aid facilities for the comfort of our passengers.’
The Federal Government had earlier approved N1.1bn for the purchase of two modern diesel/electric locomotives to run on the new rail line.
The NRC MD said a total of 250 coaches and 130 wagons were refurbished at the corporation’s workshops in Lagos in the last three years.
He added that the programme was designed to keep the system running due to paucity of funds. But he stressed that new rolling stock would be purchased to replace obsolete ones as soon as money was available.
’The 186.5km standard gauge track was built by the China Railway Construction Corporation with double lines over a period of three years at a cost of $850m. Designed with nine stations, the track offer trains the travel speed of 150km per hour.