There are indications that the Federal Government plans to deploy more coaches and locomotives in the Abuja-Kaduna fast rail to decongest the trains along the route.
The plan also coincides with the promise by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to ensure the completion of the ongoing construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway project in May this year.
The spokesperson for the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr Yakub Mahmoud, gave the hint about the new rolling stock on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line.
He said the train service, currently running eight trips daily except Wednesday (four each from Kaduna and Abuja), might be increased to hourly once sufficient coaches and locos were deployed in the route.
He said, “The ultimate plan is to run a train every hour along the Abuja-Kaduna line by the time the NRC is able to deploy more coaches and locos there.
“Currently, the coaches and other rolling stock are being assembled in China and would be delivered to the NRC as soon as they are ready.”
Mahmoud also stated that some NRC engineers would be travelling to China for about six-month training on how to carry out effective maintenance on the locomotives and others.
Meanwhile, Amaechi has asked the contractor handling the 156km Lagos-Ibadan railway project, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, to complete the civil work by April to ensure the delivery of the whole project in May.
He said if civil work was completed before the rainy season, the laying of tracks could progress unhindered.
The minister spoke during a routine inspection of the project with officials of the ministry and the NRC in Ibadan.
He said the tempo of work on the project had been slow because of the general elections because the contractor, in line with their company’s policy, had to demobilize its workers on the site during the election period.
“We are pushing now that they must complete the civil work before the rains and they (CCECC managers) have promised that by the time we come on 28th of March, they would have gone far with the civil work,” Amaechi said.
Meanwhile concern traders plying the port Harcourt Aba route have decried the incessant breakdown of the coach. One of the regular passenger of the aba/ PHC route who is also trader, ANNAYO EZE laments the hardship they encounter since the frequent break down of the locomotive plying the Aba/PHC route at least four times daily which recently reduced to twice daily and for a long time not moving again.
He wondered why it’s taking the federal government so long to address the issue. Another regular passenger of the train IFEOMA UKAEGBU in her anger tone wondered why the FG is paying so much attention to the Kaduna/Abuja rail why neglecting the south South, she said’’ this rail is the only thing I see that the feral government has done for us here, but to fix it is so difficult, I know that my Igbo brother are not helping matters as regards the usages of the train by constantly over loading it with goods, but I don’t blame them because they are doing it in connivance with the staff of the rail line who she alledge is subverting the true fortunes of the Nigeria Railways Corporation by not remitting the accurate revenue to the NRC management.