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Port Harcourt-Aba Train Services To Begin In March – FG

NRC To Increase Daily Train Trips

Federal government of Nigeria has train services on the Port Harcourt-Aba route will commence by the end of March.

Gatekeepers News reports that the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria disclosed this on Saturday after leading a delegation to test-run the reconstructed eastern narrow gauge rail line in Port Harcourt.

The rail line is a section of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railroad project initiated by ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The managing director expressed confidence that the contractor would complete the “tampering” of the railroad within two weeks, preceding the targeted three weeks for the train services to resume.

He said workers are currently putting the finishing touches on the tracks to ensure that full train operation could begin within the month.

Okhiria said, “I am impressed with what I saw today, especially being able to ride the locomotive and wagon on the tracks.

“Last time we visited, we could not use the train because the contractor said it was not proper to run on the train due to imbalance of the tracks.

“Mu’azu Sambo, minister of transportation has directed that the Port Harcourt route be connected to rail as well as initiate the linkage of Onne Port.

“We are pushing the contractors to make the track safe by deploying semi-automatic signalling of the machine points rather than manual operation.

“Despite resource challenges, the contractors are doing their best, and our goal is to achieve this within the next two weeks.

“With this, we aim to commence passenger train services hopefully within March and fully resume transporting people from Port Harcourt to Aba by the end of March.”

Okhiria said the project design team has started designing a rail track to connect the Port Harcourt-Aba route to the Onne sea port.

He said the NRC is collaborating with the port’s terminal manager and leading engineers to ensure a smooth project delivery.

Speaking on transport fares, Okhiria said due to the current high cost of diesel, commuters might have to pay higher fares than what was obtainable.

He said if NRC could not cover 100 percent of fuel cost, the corporation would aim to generate at least 50 percent from passengers to sustain operations.

He said, “Additionally, we will assess the conditions of the roads with intent to cover at least 50 per cent of the road costs.

“The government is working with relevant security agencies to ensure adequate security of the rain line, and the linkage of security devices from the trains to the control room.

“Communities should protect what the government is putting in place for us. We are striving to ensure that people who come on the train are safe.”

Okhiria warned traders against conducting business on the rail lines, emphasising that trains will no longer slow down for them to remove their goods before passing.

He said the train is scheduled to run on fixed times across all railroads in the country.

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