The Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, says the corporation will soon deploy a 150-kilometre-per hour locomotive on Abuja-Kaduna rail gauge to meet passengers’ demand.
Okhiria, who disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, said engineers were currently in China for the final factory acceptance test.
He said once the design specification was confirmed by the engineers, the corporation would start making arrangements for its shipment and subsequent deployment.
According to him, the second locomotive for the rail line is also expected to be on track in the next two weeks since the engineers have also gotten the parts.
He added that “very soon, we will get the 150km per hour locomotive being shipped, engineers have just gone for the final factory acceptance test.
“We received information that it has been done and for the second locomotive that is coming in the next two weeks, we will put them on track.
“We are proactive, some of my engineers are already in China and they are going to come back with the pack for the second locomotive next week,” he stated.
The NRC boss said that railway stations were always far from the heart of the cities to allow people to move closer to the station in order to help create and expand the city.
He noted that the measure was to avoid demolishing people’s houses and paying compensation, adding that the out of town station encouraged development of towns and cities.
According to him, it is advisable to locate train stations away from city centres, saying the old Kaduna station that is now in the city was originally outside the city.
“However, within the next two years, the station you called out of town would be a major centre of activities.
“It is always like that because we don’t want to demolish houses because we cannot pay money for compensation.”
Okhiria said Nigerians had accepted the railway system, especially the Abuja-Kaduna line, adding that there had been continuous increase in passengers traffic on daily basis.
He assured that more locomotives and coaches would be deployed to the rail line in the coming year for passenger service, noting that NRC was developing the freight angle.
A passenger, Hajiya Halima Saidu, a business woman based in Kaduna, who spoke to NAN commended the corporation for effective service on the Abuja-Kaduna line.
Saidu, who said she was travelling on the train for the first time, described the train movement as smooth and fast.
She called on the Federal Government to develop more of the kind of Abuja-Kaduna rail line in every state for easy movement of people.
According to her, if more railways are provided, the pressure on the roads will reduce and the number of road accidents will also reduce.
Mr Innocent Ajiji, the Deputy President, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, who also rode on the train, said it was smooth to ride on light rail unlike the narrow gauge train.
According to Ajiji, it is faster and it moves smoothly because it doesn’t make a lot of noise like the narrow gauge train.
“If Federal Government can change the system into standard gauge, I think we will have a better rail system,” he said.
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