Plans are in top gear by the federal government to construct 10 new standard gauge rail lines across the country as the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria said some new coaches had arrived the country.
Nigeria’s first high speed rails system which connects federal capital city Abuja and northern commercial capital Kaduna begin commercial operations as President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurates operation on July 27.
The 186.5 km standard gauge track built by the China Railway Construction Corporation has double lines. The Abuja-Kaduna route has nine stations and the train can travel at up to 150km per hour.
Okhiria said that the standard gauge rail lines would cover a travelling distance of over 3,421 kilometres when completed
He did mention that the rail lines would pass through Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Benin, Abuja, Kogi, Onitsha and Sokoto, among other states
While he noted that the corporation had in its latest Rail Development Plan report that was obtained from the Federal Ministry of Transportation in Abuja on Sunday.
The 10 new standard gauge rail routes where feasibility studies were being carried out as follow: The 300km Lagos-Sagamu-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Benin City East-West rail line; Lagos-Ibadan-Osogbo-Baro-Abuja high speed 615km line; Ajaokuta (Eganyin)-Obajana-Jakura-Baro-Siraj-Abuja rail; Additional line from Ajaokuta to Otukpo (533km); and the 520km Zaria-Kaura Namoda-Sokoto-Ileila-Birnin Koni in Niger Republic.
Others are the Benin-Agbor-Onitsha-Nnewi-Owerri-Aba rail with additional line from Onitsha-Enugu-Abakaliki, 500km; Eganyin (near Ajaokuta)-Lokoja-Abaji-Abuja, 280km; Benin-Sapele-Warri-Yenagoa-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar-Akampa-Ikom-Obudu Cattle Ranch coastal rail line, 673km;
Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Makurdi-Lafia-Kuru-Bauchi-Gombe-Biu-Maiduguri line; Ikom-Obudu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Wukari-Jalingo-Yola-Maiduguri line and Kano-Nguru-Gusau-Damaturu-Maiduguri-Gamborugala rail line.
Okhiria stated that the construction and rehabilitation of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge line project was nearing completion
He recalled that the groundbreaking for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge (double track) 2 x 180km rail line project, awarded to the CCECC, was done earlier this year, adding that work had commenced on the site following the conclusion of its funding arrangement.
But for the paucity of funds which he noted, was a key challenge to the projects, the NRC MD added that the government required more funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Western and Eastern lines, carry out addendum for sidings and loop lines on the Western line, procure and rehabilitate locomotives and rolling stock, as well as for the procurement of maintenance equipment.
However, he said some of the coaches being expected had arrived the country and would be commissioned for business operation soon.