Operations will commence on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line from the middle of September, says Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria.
Okhiria disclosed this on Saturday in Ibadan, Oyo State, during an inspection tour of the project.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, inspected the Lagos-Ibadan rail line during which they both took a train ride from Ebute-Metta in Lagos to Ibadan.
Okhiria said since the track-laying had been completed between Ebute-Metta and Ibadan with stations under construction, operations would start between Yaba in Lagos and Ibadan.
He said 16 trips would be conducted daily on the route, adding that the NRC will not wait until the entire project is completed before commencing operations.
“We will start by the middle of September from Yaba to Ibadan while the other construction finishing will continue. We already have 24 coaches and a set of DMUs (Diesel Multiple Units) made of eight coaches. With that, we intend to have 16 trips a day,” he said.
The rail tracks on the 156km modern rail line have been completed from EBJ to Ibadan, while the 10 major and minor stations are at various stages of completion.
The stations along the corridor include Apapa, Ebute-Metta Junction, Agege, Agbado, Kajola, Papalanto, Abeokuta, Olodo, Omi-Adio and Ibadan.
In his remarks, Amaechi called on the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) handling the project to speed up work.
He said the project should be completed in January to allow for its delivery to the Nigerian population.
“Before COVID-19, for every station we have between 150 to 200 workers but now we have 10 to 20 workers on the sites. We have told them now to increase the number of workers and manage COVID-19 very well. COVID-19 has come to stay but government has to run. We have to deliver our promises to the people because that is why we are elected. So, let us hope that by January next year, the project will be ready,” he said.