NRC Set to Resume Train Services on Abandoned Routes, Focusing on Eastern Line

NRC Set to Resume Train Services on Abandoned Routes, Focusing on Eastern Line

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has initiated the reactivation of old narrow gauge networks, with a primary focus on the Eastern line, which extends from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. This route has been identified as crucial by the Federal Government, and preparations are at an advanced stage to resume operations.

Jerry Oche, the Director of Mechanical Services and Signal Communication at NRC, provided insights into these developments in a statement issued on Tuesday in Lagos. The rehabilitation of coaches and locomotives is underway in preparation for the resumption of operations on the significant Eastern line.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari had emphasized the strategic importance of the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri railway in reviving economic activities along the Eastern corridor. He highlighted the impact of insurgent activities in the region and expressed confidence that the railway project would stimulate industry and trade.

Oche mentioned that immediate action has been taken to ensure the readiness of vehicles for Aba Port-Harcourt train services within a week. He received assistance from the District Manager, Port-Harcourt, Mohammed Ibrahim, in inspecting the vehicles for the services.

The NRC has issued an immediate order to commence repairs, aiming to enable train passengers from the eastern part of the country to start enjoying train services. Oche stated, “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.”

Additionally, NRC Civil Engineers are working on the track in preparation for the introduction of the Jos intra-city mass transit train in Jos, Plateau.

Malam Mahmood Yakub, the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of NRC, revealed that several coaches had been rehabilitated to resume the Lagos-Kano Express passenger train. The coaches are currently at Zaria Carriage and Wagons workshop, getting ready for the resumption of the train service, which was suspended by the NRC.

Yakub stated, “The Managing Director, NRC, 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.'”

“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,” added Yakub. The NRC boss, Fidet Okhiria, confirmed that the Lagos-Kano Express Train Service would resume in the first quarter of 2024, as the NRC is actively working to restore the old narrow gauge tracks.

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