Lagos-Ibadan rail line ready before Christmas – NRC boss

Lagos Railway District Manager of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Jerry Oche, has said the Lagos-Ibadan railway line will be operational before the Yuletide.

Oche who spoke to our correspondent noted that the track was ready but for some of the station buildings being worked on by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The NRC boss noted that things were being fashioned to make sure that the track was ready before the year ran out.

He said, “They contractors have not handed over the line. The track is almost ready but the station buildings and communication is not yet ready.

“We cannot run passenger trains because the contractor is still working there. There is a serious discussion with them. So we can hopefully start before Christmas.”

Oche said a few things such as overpasses still needed to be put in the place before the rail starts operating as it should.

He said, “Don’t forget, there is not meant to be any level crossing in Lagos and if we are to run now, overpasses are not ready and underpasses are not ready.

“We must make an alternative arrangement of how to protect the line. Once we do that, we will hit the ground running.”

Regarding the suspension of rail services at the Apapa port, Oche said the two-month deadline from September had not yet elapsed.

He said, “The shutdown is for two months. It is supposed to be from September 15th to November 15th. This is November 11th. We still have four days. The contractor, CCECC, is still working on it.

“The rehabilitation of the narrow gauge is still ongoing and the construction of the standard gauge is ongoing. They are making appreciable progress but they have not advised us on when it will be ready.”

Oche expressed optimism that by the 15th, the narrow gauge should have resumed movement of containers from Apapa.

He said the mass transit train from Ijoko-Iddo had begun. According to him, the train moves by 6.30am from Ijoko and 5.30pm from Iddo.

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