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National Assembly Joint Committee visit to NRC HQ, Bola Tinubu Railway Station in Lagos (Photos)

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NRC to cut Abuja-Kaduna trips for maintenance work

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation announced on Sunday that it would reduce the number of trips on the Abuja-Kaduna route from Oct.19 – Oct.21.

Its Managing Director, Fidet Okhiria, said in a statement that the reduction in the number of trips was to effect scheduled maintenance.

He stated that rather than the daily 10 trips, there would be four trips only on Oct. 19 and on October 20.

He added that on Thursday, October 21, there would be eight trips.

“Full train services will resume on Friday, Oct. 22,’’ Okhiria assured.

The NRC management apologised for inconveniences the reduction in the number of trips might cause to passengers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NRC introduced an additional Diesel Multiple Unit on the route recently which increased the number of train trips from eight to 10 per day.

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Lagos blue rail project gets CBN N60bn support (with photos)

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  • Train to run every three minutes at peak period – LAMATA

The Central Bank of Nigeria says it has offered N60bn support through three commercial banks for a railway project being executed by the Lagos State Government.

The funds are being released specifically for the Lagos Blue (rail) Line, running between Marina and Okokomaiko, which is one of the seven mass transit rail projects being developed by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).

Director of Development and Finance at the CBN, Mr Phillip Yusuf, disclosed this on Thursday during an inspection of the project at Marina, Lagos.

Already, he said N45bn had been disbursed, adding that the last tranche of the funds would be released soon.

According to him, this is one of the projects the apex bank and some deposit money banks are supporting under its N1 trillion DCR Intervention, which is part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic to businesses and projects affecting the people.

He named the banks involved as Access Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.

“The total amount that we have made available for this line is N60 billion. We have disbursed N45 billion; there is another tranche of N15 billion due.

“So, we can see the progress made with the disbursement that had been made so far. This is just one of the many projects under its DCR Intervention.”

Yusuf expressed satisfaction with work done and the solid structure being put in place by the contractor.

He said, “I am quite impressed with what I see on the ground. LAMATA had taken us around and we can see the solid structure that is being put in place in Marina.

“The quality of work is quite impressive and they have shown us all the work done so far. Luckily, I am an engineer; I can appreciate the amount of work being done.

“Most importantly, I see young Nigerians welding, fabricating and there are over 500 jobs on site. For me, that is a very good take away.”

The Managing Director, LAMATA, Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, said, “The vision of the state is to ensure that this project will be operational in the first quarter of 2022, as we are on track.

“One of the major things in every project is funding, and with the support we have from the CBN and three other banks – Sterling, Fidelity and Access, we will ensure we meet our goal and target.”
She said that LAMATA was at present constructing the first operational phase of the Blue Line, adding that five stations at Mile 2, Alaba, Iganmu, National Theatre and the Marina would be constructed within the axis.

She said that the Marina station would actually serve as the hub in Lagos State because both the Blue and Red lines would terminate at the place and the Green Line which would come from Lekki would also terminate at the Marina station.

Akinajo said that the Marina station would serve as an interchange because every form of transportation would be catered for there.

She called for the stakeholders’ collaboration on the project to enable the state government to achieve its aim, stressing that three sets of coaches would commence on the line in 2022.

She said that each of the coaches would carry not less than 1,000 passengers, adding that the signalling system in place would allow the movement of train every three minutes during peak hours.

The line is expected to run on the surface in the central reservation of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway between Igbo-Elerin Road (Okokomaiko) and Iganmu. It will then be elevated from Iganmu along the south side of the expressway passing the junction with Eric Moore Road, crossing just south of the National Theatre to Iddo, then south to Lagos Island with a terminal at Marina.

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Concession of railway services coming soon – NRC MD

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Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, has hinted about plans for the concession of train operations in the country as a way to speed up and sustain ongoing development of rail transport system.

He stated this just as he said the corporation would continue to run the system in ways that would make the repayment of loans taken easy.

Okhiria spoke on Wednesday when he appeared at a town hall meeting organised by Raypower FM under the theme: “Interrogating the Essence of Chinese loans in Nigeria”.

Recently, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the Federal Government had taken $2.5bn loan to complete the new 156km Lagos-Ibadan railway built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

Okhiria said at the Raypower forum that the corporation was considering concession and efficiently moving rail at an affordable price to quickly turn out the repayment.

“We are not ruling out even concession of the railways,” he said.

The NRC MD however did not give details on when and how the concession would be achieved.

A concession agreement, according to Investopedia, is a contract that gives a company the right to operate a specific business within a government’s jurisdiction or on another firm’s property, subject to particular terms. “Concession agreements often involve contracts between the nongovernmental owner of a facility and a concession owner, or concessionaire. The agreement grants the concessionaire exclusive rights to operate their business in the facility for a stated time and under specified conditions,” the authority adds.

A project consultant and partner at ALG, Joan Miquel Vilardell, contributing to an AfDB Transport Forum discussion, had said that the private sector participation had been positive in several railways worldwide, usually under concession.

But he noted that the initial concession model used in Africa and Latin America had not led to enough investment, especially in infrastructure.

 

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