The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, reiterates Federal Government’s efforts and commitment at transforming the country’s rail transport system.
He made the declaration at the inspection of newly-acquired executive coaches for the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge line at the Apapa Ports Terminal in Lagos.
Amaechi, represented by Mr Mohammed Babakobi, Director, Rails, Federal Ministry of Transportation, said government remained resolute in improving the rail transport system in the country.
He said that the new coaches are made with particular focus of the comfort of passengers; “they are very safe and have a designed speed of about 150km/h.” he added.
He said they will soon be moved to Abuja and installed on the rail tracks, where they are supposed to be servicing.
He also assured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s sustained efforts at acquiring more standard gauge coaches to meet demand.
Mr Fidet Okhiria, the Acting Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), who said that the coaches were designed to run at 150km/h, added that the corporation was on track to upgrade its operations.
He said one is for executive, three standard coaches and one baggage van that will carry loads belonging to passengers.
He added that all coaches are air-conditioned, fitted with vacuum toilets, CCTV cameras and TVs. “The legroom is quite accommodating and it is going to be comfortable to ride in them.” he said.
The Ag.MD said that the NRC had commenced the upgrade of its website, to ensure that passengers could purchase tickets online.
On maintenance, Okhiria noted that the coaches were accompanied with spares, saying “the manufacturer is going to be here in Nigeria for at least one year, to maintain them.
“By that time, our technicians and engineers will grab the nitty-gritty of the maintenance of the coaches.” He said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the maiden operation of the standard gauge coaches is expected to commence in May between Abuja and Kaduna.
The corporation’s narrow gauge coaches currently operate weekly from Lagos to Kano, Offa to Kano, Lagos to Ilorin, Port Harcourt to Kano, as well as the Lagos Mass Transit shuttle.