FG approves $3.02bn for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line reconstruction – Newstrends
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FG approves $3.02bn for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line reconstruction

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Rotimi Amaechi

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved $3.02bn for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line with new branch lines and trans-shipment facilities.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this to State House correspondents in Abuja at the end of the weekly meeting of the council presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister said, “The Federal Executive Council has approved the award of contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern narrow gauge railway, with new branch lines and trans-shipment facilities.

“The council also approved the construction of a new deep seaport in Bonny, under PPP and the construction of a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt.

“The railway line will be at the cost of $3,020,279,549. The industrial park, which is under PPP, at no cost to Federal Government, will cost $241,154,389.31. The Bonny deep seaport will cost $461,924,369, at no cost to the Federal Government.

“The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge railway will have new branch lines: from Port Harcourt to Bonny and from Port Harcourt to Owerri are new lines.

“There is another connecting to narrow gauge to standard gauge at Kafanchan. There is a branch line from Gombe or before Maiduguri to Damaturu and Gashau.”

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the council approved the establishment of the Nigeria Correctional Service shoe, garment, and leather processing factories in Aba, Abia State, as well as Janguza, Kano State.

He said, “The benefit, beside the employment of Nigerians, is the opportunity for training of the inmates of our correctional facilities in Janguza, Kano State and Aba in Abia State.

“The contract for full business skills compliance certificate is given to Messrs LG Investment Limited, a Nigerian company which is partnering with a Chinese company, Full Technology Incorporated from Beijing, China.”

Railway

NRC cancels first Abuja-Kaduna Thursday train after Wednesday derailment 

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NRC cancels first Abuja-Kaduna Thursday train after Wednesday derailment 

…says vandals responsible

Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has cancelled its first Abuja-Kaduna Thursday train (today) scheduled to move by 8am after it experienced a derailment on the route on Wednesday.

It announced this on Wednesday evening in a statement issued by its Deputy Director of the Public Relations Department, Yakub Mahmood, while giving an update on the derailment.

The Abuja-Kaduna train AK3 had reportedly derailed at the Asham Railway Station about 30 minutes after leaving Kubwa, Abuja.

Mahmood said, “For operational reasons, the first train from Kaduna (Rigasa) scheduled for 08.00 hours will be cancelled on Thursday 6th June, 2024 only, while all other train services will run as scheduled.

“NRC management deeply regrets the inconveniences that this technical hitch might have caused our esteemed passengers.”

The derailment on Wednesday, according to Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Bimbo Olawumi, occurred at 3:52pm, shortly after the passenger train departed the Kubwa station, Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Mahmood in his statement said, “The passengers on board were safely returned to Abuja (Idu).”

He added that the tickets of passengers who could not use the train would remain valid for a subsequent journey within two weeks.

The NRC spokesman said, “This minor hitch is attributed to the removal of track fastening clips by vandals.

“However, the NRC management remains resolute towards ensuring the safety of our valued passengers in the entire system.”

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Apprehension as passengers train derails in Kaduna

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JUST-IN: Abuja-Kaduna train terails, passengers stranded

A passenger train on Sunday derailed at Jere along the popular Abuja-Kaduna route, leaving the travellers stranded in the mountainous area.

The train was said to have left Kaduna at 8.05am heading for Abuja but developed fault about an hour later and stopped at Jere.

It was not immediately clear how many passengers were inside the train.

It was however learnt that more armed security personnel had been mobilised to the area in addition to those on the train to allay the fears of the passengers and their family members.

Senator Shehu Sani, in an alert raised on his verified X handle, stated, “A Kaduna morning train derails near Jere but engineers are attending to it.”

Workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation have been drafted to the spot to repair the train, with about three carriages off the tracks.

Security personnel, including soldiers and police officers, are also on the spoke to keep watch over the passengers and the train.

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Finally, Port Harcourt-Aba train service begins with four-day free ride

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Finally, Port Harcourt-Aba train service begins with four-day free ride

A four-day free train ride from Port Harcourt in Rivers State to Aba, Abia State will begin today, May 1, signifying commencement of rail service along the 62-kilometre route.
This is coming a month after the train operation on the rehabilitated narrow gauge track was initially meant to start.
Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, inaugurated the rail service in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Alkali said the project was part of the rehabilitation of 1,443km Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail line.

He said that the Port Harcourt to Aba section of the project was the initial part of the Eastern narrow-gauge railway, aiming to connect five geopolitical zones of the country.

He said, “The Federal Government is pleased to inaugurate the train service from Port Harcourt to Aba, a key priority area of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
“We are grateful to God for the completion of the Port Harcourt to Aba section, which will bring succour to the people.
“The Eastern narrow gauge covers five geo-political zones of the country, including South-South, South-East, North-Central, North- West, and North-East,” he said.
Aba to Enugu rail is next
Alkali said following the completion of the first segment and the start of commercial operations of the rail service, the Federal Government would soon commence the construction of the Aba to Enugu rail project, linking the two states together.
He added that his ministry was working with investors to ensure the conversion of the locomotive across the country from diesel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to reduce transportation costs further.
“Shortly, we will take a train ride from Port Harcourt to Aba, which means that from today, passenger train service has commenced.
“We will continue the project from Aba to Enugu and from Port Harcourt to both Onne and Port Harcourt seaports for freight services.
“The ministry is currently in discussion with an investor to convert our locomotive from diesel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to reduce transportation costs further,” he said.
The minister assured Nigerians that arrangements were being made with security agencies to ensure adequate security along the rail routes.
He also announced free train rides from Port Harcourt to Aba between May 1 to May 4.
“The train will depart from Port Harcourt to Aba at 8am daily, while it will leave Aba to Port Harcourt at 3pm daily.
“Full commercial operations will resume on May 7, 2024,” he said.

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