TRANSPORT minister Rotimi Amaechi has revealed that 20 new coaches for the Abuja-Kaduna and the Lagos-Ibadan rail lines will arrive in the country over the next six weeks as part of the ongoing railway expansion programme.
Since assuming office in 2015, the current government of President Buhari has stepped up the completion of railway projects and already, the Abuja to Kaduna section of the railway network is functional. China’s Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), has been the main partner in the project, building railway lines and supplying carriages and engines for the venture.
Yesterday, Mr Amaechi arrived back from China where he went to review progress on the work and said he was pleased with how things are going so far. According to the minister he did a test run on the locomotives and motorised cars while in China and viewed the newly built trains when he was there.
Mr Amaechi said: “We went for two items, basically to get more locomotives and coaches, they’re all ready. It will take six weeks to get to Nigeria and maybe one week to clear them. For the Lagos trains, it will be easy; it will take a day or two to get it to the track.
“But for the trains coming to Abuja, it will take one week or two to get it here. To my surprise, the coaches we released two or three weeks ago to go to Kaduna arrived just within two days. So, we hope that when these trains arrive in Lagos seaport, we should be able to get them fast.
“We are expecting 20 coaches – 10 for Abuja-Kaduna and 10 for Lagos-Ibadan as a temporary measure. More will then arrive in the second batch as we complete Lagos-Ibadan.”
He said more trains were still being built for Nigeria and the next batch would be delivered as soon as they are ready. According to the minister, the Warri-Itakpe railway would be completed early next year.
“What is critical to the sustenance of our railway system is what we are doing in China. We are training our people, the Chinese won’t live here forever.
“They have to go, so our own engineers will take over and I met with some of those Nigerian engineers during my China trip. We hope that in the coming years, they will come back and then we can stop the Chinese maintenance contract in both Kaduna-Abuja and Lagos-Ibadan,” he added.