Work begins on Abuja-Lokoja rail next year – Amaechi – Newstrends
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Work begins on Abuja-Lokoja rail next year – Amaechi

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  • Govt negotiating loan for Lagos-Calabar rail project

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the Itakpe-Lokoja-Abuja railway project which will connect the new Warri port, will commence in 2021.

Amaechi, who stated this said at the 2021 budget defence in Abuja, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government remained committed to connecting different parts of the country with rail, to ease the burden of transportation.

The minister added that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern narrow gauge, the deep-sea port in Bonny and railway industrial park in Port Harcourt were also part of the project for next year.

“The reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern narrow gauge railway, construction of new branch lines and trans-shipment centres for future railway development connecting with this corridor is very important.

“This project is also integrated with a deep-sea port in Bonny and railway industrial park in Port Harcourt being developed through direct investment by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC partnering with Chinese financiers.”

Amaechi noted that the “construction of the central railway from Itakpe to Abuja, connecting a new Warri port, construction of a 378km single track standard gauge rail line traversing Kano-Katsina-Jibiya with a 20km extension to the commercial border town of Maradi in Niger Republic are projects proposed for 2021.”

According to him, the problem with the coastal rail lines like other projects is the paucity of funds, adding that the Ministry of Finance is negotiating a loan to fund the Kano-Maradi, Lagos-Calabar and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects.

Amaechi further said extra work on the Lagos-Ibadan corridor, amounting to $656m (funded by the Federal Government), had commenced.

According to him, the extra work included the construction of upgraded railway stations, signaling and telecommunication system, power supply scheme and construction of pedestrian and overpass bridges.

“This additional and extra work, amounting to $656m which is to be financed 100 per cent by the Federal Government has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for implementation.

“The project contractor, Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited, on the instruction of the ministry has commenced work and reached an advanced stage. Therefore, in order not to forestall the progress of implementation,  adequate fund needs to be provided in the 2021 budget proposal to facilitate the completion of the project,” he added.

Amaechi further said that for the implementation of Ibadan-Kano railway project, one of the conditions precedent to signing of the loan agreement, was to release an advance payment of $864m, saying government had so far made a part payment of $218.7m.

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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