The Federal government plans to link all state capitals, seaports and dry ports by railway lines and the removal of Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC from exclusive to concurrent list by National Assembly will enhance rail development in the country.

Thid remark was made recently in Lagos by Engr. Fidet Okhiria, managing director of Nigerian Railway Corporation while speaking on activities of the corporation and future plans.

Okhiria said that management is ready to partner with the private sector and state governments willing to invest in construction of Inland dry ports and rail construction respectively.

The removal of the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by the corporation is expected to translate into private and state governments in the development of rail infrastructure.

According to him the purpose of establishing  Inland dry ports at Kano and Kaduna is meant to provide space for offloading of containerized goods from Lagos for onward transfer to their owners by road as well as return of empty containers to Lagos.

He noted that the Lagos to Kano freight and passenger train service is expected to commence operation in the first quarter of this year as soon as ongoing replacement of vandalized tracks is completed.

Okhiria stressed that most of the freight destined for Kaduna and Kano from Lagos will be offloaded at the Kaduna and Kano Inland dry ports as soon as freight train operations commence this quarter pending transfer of such consignments by road to their various destinations.

According to him the Port-Harcout to Aba narrow gauge corridor is expected to commence passenger train operation by January this year while work is still ongoing on the rehabilitation of tracks along the Umuahia -Enugu railway corridor with a view to commence operation this year.

He explained further that the aim of government is to ensure that the railway tracks are operational  (busy) so as to make it less attractive to vandals.

The NRC boss disclosed that the Nigerian Railway Police in collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corpsbrecently arrested and prosecited some people specialized in the vandalization of tracks.

He said that apart from arresting track vandals the corporation will also beam searchlight on the buyers or the companies that purchase stolen railway tracks.

Okhiria posited that the corporation will continue to collaborate with communities and traditional rulers along the railway corridor on the need to enlighten their subjects on the essence of protecting government properties in the best interest of the country.


Passengers lament as NRC refurbishes coaches in anticipation of competition

Ahead of the commencement of passenger train service with comfortable seats and air conditioned coaches by Lagos state government in march this year, Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC has started to refurbish some of its coaches in phases.

This is coming as passengers on board the narrow gauge coaches have lamented over the poor condition of the coaches some of which don’t have windows and good seats eventough the corporation is generating a lot of revenue.

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The Lagos district manager of the corporation Engr. Augustine Arsse in response to a question asked about plans by Lagos state to commence train operations with air conditioned coaches said that three coaches have already been refurbished at Loco workshop while another three is currently undergoing refurbishment at Iddo workshop.

He stated that when completed the refurbished coaches will be deployed to the existing coaches used in conveying passengers from Iddo to Ijoko/Kajola and back while another batch of three will be taken to the workshop.

Arase stated that the idea is that all the coaches used in conveying passengers on the narrow gauge railway line from Iddo to Ijoko/Kajola and back will be refurbished in phases within the shortest possible time.

He explained that the corporation will not in any way be competiting with Lagos State Metropolitan Transport Authority because the latter will be shuttling between Oyingbo and Agbado while the former is currently operating from Iddo to Ijoko/Kajola.

According to him, the choice will be there for passengers to make either to use the corporation’s narrow/standard gauge passenger train shuttle or the Lagos state standard gauge passenger train service.

Mr. Edu Oba said the present condition of coaches used in running the Lagos mass transit train service by the Nigerian Railway Corporation is nothing to right home about in snspit of the huge revenue generated by the corporation from the Iddo to Ijoko Kajola narrow gauge railway corridor.


Red Line

NRC to give Lagos track access for operation of  interstate rail transit

The Lagos state government has completed the Iddo to Ebute-Metta Junction axis of the standard gauge railway line which terminated at Ebute-Metta Junction.

Already the station terminal building at Oyingbo has since been completed while work is ongoing in the construction of a workshop at Otor for repair, maintenance, and fueling of Locomotive engines.

This followed an agreement between federal government through Federal Ministry of  Transportation and Lagos state government for the latter to link Ebute-Mette Junction where the original plan of Ibadan to Lagos standard gauge railway line terminated before the Apapa annex was added.

According to Managing Director of  Corporation Engr. Fidet Okhiria a steering committee on the red line project (Iddo to Agbado) comprising, LAMATA, NRC, FMOT, CCECC submitted a track framework as approved by NRC Board.

He stated thay based on recommendation of the committee, the stste government approved that It was instead of constructing two additional tracks side by side the existing standard and narrow gauge railway lines from Iddo to Agbado, the state government should construct standard gauge from Iddo linking the existing standard gauge line at Ebute-Metta Junction.

“Apart from saving cost of constructing two additional tracks from Iddo to Agbado the state governmenr also considered the cost of demolition of many buildings and payment of compensation before approving recommendation of the committee”, the NRC boss said

Okhiria pointed out that that corporation and the state government will work out modalities for “track access” based on s work plan before the Lagos Light rail (red line) project commences operation.

According to him, the Iddo to Agbado corridor was designed to accommodate 13 overpasses (overhead bridges) adding that the Lagos state government built 7 and the Federal Ministry of Transport built six.

Meanwhile the Lagos state government has completed and commissioned the Oyingbo and Yaba overpasses while that of Agbado has been completed and awaiting commissioning.