Ahead of the start of commercial operations on the new Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line, the federal government has taken delivery of 20 new coaches, 10 of which would be deployed along the route.
A source at the Federal Ministry of Transportation revealed that the remaining 10 new coaches would be sent to the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line to ease the congestion being experienced on the route.
According to the source, the new coaches from China were delivered last week.
“The 20 coaches will be inspected on Monday (today) by the minister during another round of assessment of work on the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line,” the source said.
Government had extended the new rail line project to the Lagos port as part of measures to ease the congestion on the Apapa port roads.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is expected to inspect the Apapa port- Ebute-Metta line and ride on the train from Iddo to Abeokuta and Ibadan.
A seven-man delegation from the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Railway Corporation had recently returned to the country from China where they had reportedly inspected about 44 units of coaches and locomotives meant for the Nigerian train services.
There has been an upsurge in the number of passengers on the 186.5km Abuja-Kaduna train service following frequent cases of kidnapping along the Abuja-Kaduna road.
This increase as well as shortage of coaches has resulted in alleged ticket racketeering by some railway workers.
This prompted the government to place order for the importation of 30 coaches and 300 wagons, with some of them meant for the Lagos-Ibadan rail line expected to be inaugurated in April this year.