The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has begun reactivating old narrow gauge networks with the Eastern line already at an advanced stage to resume operations.
The Director, Mechanical Services and Signal Communication of NRC, Mr Jerry Oche, made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday.
Oche said the Eastern line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri was one of the old narrow gauge lines currently receiving attention of the Federal Government, being undertaken by the NRC.
He said that with completion of the track laying, NRC had commenced the rehabilitation of coaches and locomotives ahead of the resumption of operation on the all-important route.
Oche said that personally, he had immediately swung into action to ensure that the vehicles for Aba Port-Harcourt Train Services were ready within a week.
He said he was assisted by the District Manager, Port-Harcourt ,Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, to inspect the vehicles for the services.
Jerry also ordered an immediate commencement of repairs to enable train passengers from the eastern part of the country to start enjoying train services.
“Vehicles undergoing immediate repairs are five SPs, one SPA, one DRC and two BVAs.
“Some of the vehicles in Enugu will be moved down to Aba to assist in receiving the anticipated overflow of passengers and goods, which is usually experienced on the route.
“Also, NRC Civil Engineers are working on the track, preparatory to the introduction of the Jos intra-city mass transit train in Jos, Plateau.”
The Deputy Director, Public Affairs of NRC, Malam Mahmood Yakub also disclosed that several coaches had been rehabilitated to resume the Lagos-Kano Express Passenger Train.
The coaches are currently at Zaria Carriage and Wagons workshop, preparatory to the commencement of the train service, one of the services suspended by the NRC.
“Also there are plans to introduce Kaduna intra city mass transit train.
“The Managing Director, NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, while inspecting the newly completed Port Harcourt-Aba track, had said:
“We are working in phases, they have laid the track up to Aba but we are so anxious to commence operation and that is why the minister has directed us to come and see, so that we can plan ahead to commence operation.
“So we took inspection from Port Harcourt to Aba. We have confirmed that the main track has been restored.
“As we speak, we can put locomotives and wagons on the track from Port Harcourt to Aba.
“We are working hard to ensure that very soon, the operations will start. Signaling and communication will also be restored soon.
“The NRC boss said the Lagos-Kano Express Train Service will resume in the first quarter of 2024, saying the NRC is working round the clock to restore the old narrow gauge tracks,” Yakub said.
The NRC spokesperson said the corporation had made significant progress in its ongoing drive to bring back the hitherto abandoned networks.
He said that Nigerians would begin to see train movement in those abandoned places.
“We are also adding more routes like the new intra-city train in Jos; the one in Kaduna, and several others.
“The Lagos-Kano which is 1,343 kilometers is coming back on stream and with the support of the minister, a lot of these train routes are coming back,” he said.