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32 dead, 66 wounded as two trains collide in Egypt

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Two trains collided on Friday in southern Egypt, causing three passenger cars to flip over, killing 32 people and leaving 66 injured.

The authorities confirmed the casualties as dozens of ambulance vehicles rushed to the scene of the crash, which took place in the southern province of Sohag, according to a statement by Egypt’s heath ministry.

Local media displayed videos from the scene showing flipped wagons with passengers trapped inside and surrounded by rubble. Some victims seemed unconscious, while others could be seen bleeding.

Bystanders carried bodies, laying them out on the ground near the site of the accident.

Egypt’s railway system has a history of badly maintained equipment and poor management.

Official figures showed that 1,793 train accidents took place in 2017 across the country.

In 2018, a passenger train derailed near the southern city of Aswan, injuring at least six people and prompting authorities to fire the chief of the country’s railways.

In the same year, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said the government lacked about 250 billion Egyptian pounds or $14.1 billion to overhaul the run-down rail system.

El-Sissi spoke a day after a passenger train collided with a cargo train, killing at least 12 people, including a child.

A year earlier, two passenger trains collided just outside the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 43 people.

In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.

Egypt’s deadliest train crash took place in 2002, when over 300 people were killed as fire erupted in speeding train travelling from Cairo to southern Egypt.

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Police arrest two suspected train vandals in Lagos

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The police in Lagos have arrested two men suspected to specialise in vandalising and stealing railway track.

They were said to have been arrested in the early hours of Monday January 30 while conveying in a private car some pieces of cut off rail track to an unknown destination.

Spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, disclosed the arrest of the two suspects on his Twitter handle.

He stated, ”At about 1am today, a patrol team from Ijora Badia Division intercepted a Mitsubishi Lancer car conveying vandalised railway tracks. The two occupants of the vehicle have been arrested. Investigation is ongoing.”

Some incidents of train derailment in parts of the country have been traced to sudden damage to rail track suspected to have been done by vandals.

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Updated: Abuja-Kaduna train services to resume Tuesday, says NRC

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The suspended Abuja-Kaduna fast train will resume operations tomorrow, Tuesday January 31, 2023, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said.

The train service was suspended by the NRC last week after a derailment recorded at the Kubwa Station on Friday January 27.

A statement announcing the recommencement of the train signed by the NRC Director of Operations, Niyi Alli, obtained on Monday, read, “The board and management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation is pleased to announce the recommencement of the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service which was suspended on Friday 27th January 2023 due to the derailment that occured at Kubwa Station on the same date.
“The service will resume on Tuesday 31st January 2023 with the following daily schedule; KA2 departs Rigasa at 0700; Ak1 departs Idu at 10.00; KA4 departs RIGASA at 13.00hrs; AK3 departs idu at 16.00.

“However on Wednesdays only KA2 will depart Rigasa at 0700 and and AK 4 will depart Idu at 16.00.
“The corporation once again regrets any inconvenience our esteemed passengers may have experienced as a result of the temporary suspension of the service.”

 

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After presidential ride, 750-volt dedicated power to delay Lagos rail operations

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The new Lagos electric-powered metro rail, the Blue Line, inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, cannot commence immediate commercial operations, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

The line, he said, would only become operational after the completion of a 750 Volt-ampere dedicated power supply source.

The train made a round trip between the Marina station and National Theatre, with residents watching in excitement.

 

The inaugural ride on the train was performed by the President in company with Governor Sanwo-Olu, his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, and other invited dignitaries.

The completed tracks, spanning 13 kilometres in the first phase, extend from Mile 2 to Marina, covering five stations.

Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) constructed the rail infrastructure, which will transport 250,000 passengers daily.

The governor said the iconic Marina station commissioned by the President was designed as Africa’s metro hub with a capacity to process 28,000 passengers per hour.

He said the development of the state rail infrastructure project was to increase mobility for commuters and raise productivity to energise the state economy.

A statement by Sanwo-Olu’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, stated that at the event, President Buhari supervised the signing of contract by Governor Sanwo-Olu for the commencement of the project’s second phase, which will cover 14-kilometre stretch from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.

Sanwo-Olu said the delivery of the Blue Line Rail was the culmination of the “timeless vision” of the Lagos State Government initiated by his predecessor and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom the governor described as “the architect of modern Lagos”.

Tinubu, the governor said, developed a comprehensive road map for the state’s economic prosperity through continuous implementation of the State’s Strategic Transportation Master Plan (STMP), which envisioned six metro lines.

Sanwo-Olu said the construction of the Blue Line could have been completed years before the APC took power at the centre in 2015, but noted the project was slowed down by hostile policies of the then Federal Government led by an opposition party.

He said: “Since 1999, Lagos has not enjoyed the kind of support it is receiving from the President Buhari administration since 2015.

“The socio-economic impact of various projects we have commissioned during the President’s two-day visit bears testimony to the support and collaboration we have enjoyed from the APC-led Federal Government. Mr. President, we are proud in Lagos to be associated with your national vision for infrastructural transformation.

“The Blue Line we are commissioning today is a product of timeless vision by Lagos State, which dates back to the administration of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu 20 years ago. One of his greatest legacies was the development of road map for the future of Lagos, which cleared the pathway for a modern, prosperous and competitive mega city. With the rail line, a journey of two hours will now take 15 minutes. This will improve quality of life for our citizens, while Lagos will grow to be one of the most resilient mega cities.”

Sanwo-Olu said the Blue Line would be operational after the completion of 750 Volt-ampere dedicated power supply source.

The governor said the iconic Marina station commissioned by the President was designed as Africa’s metro hub with a capacity to process 28,000 passengers per hour.

The governor said the development of the state rail infrastructure project was to increase mobility for commuters and raise productivity to energise the state economy.

He said the ongoing construction of the Red Line, which extends 37-kilometre from Agbado to Ebute Metta, would be completed before the end of May.

Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the courage of his predecessor, former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, who started the Blue Line project despite opposition from the then central government.

He said: “This rail infrastructure is for the benefit of our teeming citizens who daily endure the pain of traffic gridlock from their homes to workplaces. This is about bringing relief to your mobility challenges and ensuring Lagos works for you.

“We believe this will make your journey easier and better your lives. The Greater Lagos that we promised you is rising. You can see and feel it. This is a demonstration of purposeful government.”

Dr. Hamzat described the Blue Line as “the most audacious project” to be funded by a sub national in the history of the country, noting that the Sanwo-Olu administration took the steps to complete the project given its importance to solving transportation challenges in the state.

“The excitement about this rail project is justifiable, considering the fact that it will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear State on the same pedestal as others of its stature. People come first in all that we do, because they are the bedrock of our government,” the Deputy Governor said.

 

 

 

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