The two locomotives ordered by the Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC) to be used on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge train service has arrived Nigeria.
The two locomotives, our correspondent gathered arrived the Apapa Ports Lagos on Wednesday from China, the manufacturers.
Since the commissioning of the Abuja-Kaduna train service one year ago, the service has been operating on the construction locomotives, a situation that has made the service slow. With the new locomotives, designed to do 150km per hour, commuters will travel faster as they can get to Kaduna in about 1:30 minutes from Abuja.
Conforming the arrival of the locomotives, Mr. Pascal A Nnorli, the NRC Liaison Officer in Abuja, told our correspondent at the Idu train station as the Abuja-Kaduna train service clocked one year yesterday, he said the new locomotives could be deployed to use in a months’ time.
“The two locomotives arrived Nigeria today (yesterday). Hopefully in the next one month, we should put them to use. They arrived the Apapa ports, Lagos today (yesterday). We are hoping to move them to Abuja for operations. For the coaches, we are hoping to take delivery of the 10 coaches by October. Again, the Federal Executive Council has given us approval to get additional 7 coaches.”
Recall President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off the commercial operations of the train service on July 27th, 2016.
Mr. Pascal who said the Abuja Kaduna train service has carried over carried over 320,000 passengers in the one year of operations also said the NRC is still subsiding the operations by over N20 million monthly as the service is not financially profitable for now.
He also said the speed will improve with the new locomotives. “The locomotives we are still using now are construction locomotives, used to construct the line. So they have limited performance. They can’t do more than 100km per hour. But for safety reasons, we don’t do 100km/hr. We do 90 maximum. So until we put the new locomotives we have bought to use, we can’t do faster. But when the new locomotives are in use, we can do 130km, or 140km per hour even though it’s designed for 150km per hour. We can’t go for the maximum” he explained.
The CCECC as part of activities to mark the one year anniversary rewarded the 300,000th passenger with a gift item at the train station and other passengers.
Mr. Huang Wing Chum, the CCECC General Manager for Abuja said by the end of the year, freight services will commence on the service.
“Today we will be rewarding our esteemed passengers and especially one who will be the 300,000 number passenger carried by train. We sincerely appreciate your patronage over the last one year and urge you to continue to use the train service and by the end of this year, freight services are expected to commence” he said.