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The Federal Government announced that train services along the Port Harcourt to Aba corridor are set to begin by the end of March.

Train

This development was reported by the News Agency of Nigeria and marks a significant milestone in the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway project, a key initiative of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Mr. Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, shared this update in Port Harcourt following a delegation’s test run on the reconstructed Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway line. He noted that the final touches are being applied to ensure the railway’s readiness for full operations within the month.

Okhiria conveyed his satisfaction with the progress, highlighting the improvement since their last visit when a train run was deemed unsafe due to track imbalance. He also mentioned that the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has instructed the connection of the Port Harcourt route to the rail network, including plans to link the Onne Port.

The NRC head expressed optimism that the rail line’s ‘tampering’ phase would be concluded in two weeks, aiming for the resumption of train services within three weeks. Efforts are underway to enhance track safety through semi-automatic signaling systems, pushing against resource limitations to meet these targets.

Passenger services are anticipated to start by March, with full operations between Port Harcourt and Aba expected by month’s end. Additionally, efforts to design a rail track connecting the Port Harcourt-Aba line with the Onne seaport are progressing, involving collaboration with the port’s terminal manager and engineers to facilitate smooth project execution.

Okhiria touched on the subject of transport fares, indicating that the rise in diesel costs might necessitate higher charges for commuters. The NRC aims to recover at least 50% of fuel costs from passenger fares to maintain service sustainability and cover road maintenance partially.

He emphasized the government’s collaboration with security agencies to ensure the safety of the railway and its users, urging communities to safeguard the infrastructure.

Okhiria also warned traders against using the rail lines for business, stressing that trains would adhere to strict schedules without delays for obstructions.

This initiative represents a significant step towards enhancing Nigeria’s rail transport system, promising improved connectivity and economic benefits for the regions involved.

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By oyonews

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