The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) recently revealed that plans are in the offing by the Federal Government to construct ten new standard gauge rail lines across the country.
According to the Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria, some new coaches had arrived the country, adding that the standard gauge rail lines would cover a travelling distance of over 3,421 kilometres when completed.
Okhira disclosed that the modern rail lines would link major town and cities in Nigeria as it would pass through Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Benin, Abuja, Kogi, Onitsha and Sokoto, among other states.
The 10 new standard gauge rail routes where feasibility reports have been carried are: The 300km Lagos-Sagamu-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Benin City East-West rail line; Lagos-Ibadan-Osogbo-Baro-Abuja high speed 615km line; Ajaokuta (Eganyin)-Obajana-Jakura-Baro-Siraj-Abuja rail; Additional line from Ajaokuta to Otukpo (533km); and the 520km Zaria-Kaura Namoda-Sokoto-Ileila-Birnin Koni in Niger Republic.
Others are the Benin-Agbor-Onitsha-Nnewi-Owerri-Aba rail with additional line from Onitsha-Enugu-Abakaliki, 500km; Eganyin (near Ajaokuta)-Lokoja-Abaji-Abuja, 280km; Benin-Sapele-Warri-Yenagoa-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar-Akampa-Ikom-Obudu Cattle Ranch coastal rail line, 673km; Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Enugu-Makurdi-Lafia-Kuru-Bauchi-Gombe-Biu-Maiduguri line; Ikom-Obudu-Ogoja-Katsina Ala-Wukari-Jalingo-Yola-Maiduguri line and Kano-Nguru-Gusau-Damaturu-Maiduguri-Gamborugala rail line.
He also gave the assurance about that the construction and rehabilitation of the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge line, saying that the inter-state rail project was nearing completion.
According to him, the groundbreaking for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge (double track) 2 x 180km rail line project which was awarded to the CCECC, was done earlier this year, adding that work had commenced on the site following the conclusion of its funding arrangement.
He made the disclosure that constraint of funds constitute a major challenge to the projects, adding that the government required more funds to complete the rehabilitation of the Western and Eastern lines. This would enable them to carry out addendum for sidings and loop lines on the Western line, procure and rehabilitate locomotives and rolling stock, as well as for the procurement of maintenance equipment.
He said some of the coaches they were expecting had arrived the country and would be commissioned for business operation as soon as possible