The Federal Government is set to inaugurate the completed Abuja-Kaduna rail project and has fixed the boarding fees for passengers who intend to use the facility.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was accompanied on the final test run of the project by the National Chairman, All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; a former Governor of Ekiti State, Olusegun Oni; as well as other party chieftains in Abuja, stated that the rail line had been completed and was ready for use.
Amaechi said President Muhammadu Buhari would inaugurate the project this month, adding that passengers who desired the executive and economy seats would be charged N900 and N500, respectively.
On perimeter fencing, the minister said the contract had been awarded and work would soon commence at the terminals, adding that eight more coaches would be purchased to supplement the ones that were available.
He said, “When we get money, we will start fencing. The contract has been awarded and we are looking for money, but we will soon get money and we hope to start fencing in the next two to three months.
“We are expecting new locomotives and when they come, we will then make arrangement in next year’s budget to buy more coaches so that we can have one of the trains stopping in all the stations and the other doing Kaduna-Abuja.”
In his remark, Odigie-Oyegun said though the project was initiated by the past administration, it could not see it to completion.
Aside other considerations, the APC chairman noted that the project also gave attention to disabled persons who might want to access the rail service.
The Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhira, said the rail service would ease pressure on the roads, as well as increase easy delivery of goods and services.
He said, “Right now, we are moving three trains of fertilisers from Lagos to Kaduna for Flour Mills. We started moving for Lafarge from Gombe to Kafanchan and Kaduna. We are still talking with the petroleum suppliers to work with us.
“Presently, we have a few customers we move petroleum products for with our pressurised tanks. We also use some to move our diesel across our stations. On the Abuja to Kaduna route, we will have parcel wagons but not huge loads. We have 20 rail wagons and open wagons; our marketing people are already marketing them.”