THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) rose from its weekly meeting Wednesday with the approval of N1.1billion for two standard gauge locomotives for the new standard gauge rail lines being constructed across the country.
In a joint briefing of the State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar and his Information counterpart, Labaran Maku, noted that the latest move was intended to boost the government’s transformation programme in the rail sector.
The contract was awarded in favour of Messrs CNR darling locomotives and Rolling stock limited, and CCECC Nig Ltd in the sum of N1.1 billion, with a delivery period of 10 months.
Umar said, the two locomotives are to be used for mass transport services on the Abuja, Kaduna standard gauge rail lines, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“The scope of work include: the design and manufacturing of two number diesel electric locomotives with a capacity of 2,800 kilowatts for standard gauge tracks, training of 30 personnel for the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC) on operation and maintenance of the locomotives, commissioning and test running in Nigeria, as well as one year maintenance and technical support with two resident technicians” he said.
He also noted that government was fully committed to the revival of the NRC and as such was working assiduously to see the completion of the Abuja , Kaduna standard gauge line. “This is the first batch of the rolling stock that we are acquiring, specifically the locomotives to be used for the transportation of passengers and indeed freight from Abuja to Kaduna and vice versa”.
Umar added that more of such locomotives would be ordered for in 2015 and beyond adding that government was also working to ensure the entrenchment of the modern railway system.
“We are also working to see to the completion of the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge lines so as to have complementary services.
“In the long run when we achieve total development of the standard gauge, the narrow gauge will be dedicated mainly for freight, but as it is we have to continue to work hand in hand for both gauges to be operational until such a time when Nigeria attains that level where we have in place the standard gauge rail tracks and then the rail system, we can now dedicate the standard gauge lines for freight that is for carriage of goods”, he said.