Nige­ria’s new rail­way cel­e­brates 900 days of safety

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

ABUJA, Nige­ria — Pas­sen­gers stood on the plat­form wait­ing to board a train from Nige­ria’s cap­i­tal Abuja on Satur­day only to be wowed when they were in­formed that the train ser­vice had been safely op­er­at­ing for 900 days.

A male voice an­nounced from a pub­lic ad­dress sys­tem said that the train ser­vice had been in com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion for 900 days and with­out any ma­jor ac­ci­dent recorded since its in­cep­tion.

Many looked in amaze­ment, ex­press­ing sat­is­fac­tion at the safe op­er­a­tion of the Abuja-Kaduna train ser­vice, the first stan­dard gauge rail­way in Nige­ria and West Africa.

The train con­nects pas­sen­gers from Idu, an in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment area of Nige­ria’s cap­i­tal city of Abuja, to Ri­gasa Vil­lage of Igabi lo­cal area of the north­west­ern state of Kaduna.

The Abuja-Kaduna train ser­vice started com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion on July 27, 2016, fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of con­struc­tion by China Civil En­gi­neer­ing Con­struc­tion Cor­po­ra­tion.

With the Nige­rian Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion be­ing its main op­er­a­tor, lo­cal pas­sen­gers lauded the CCECC and NRC for work­ing to­gether to achieve max­i­mum safety with ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion.

Yakubu Garba, a reg­u­lar pas­sen­ger of the Abuja-Kaduna train ser­vice, de­scribed his ex­pe­ri­ence so far as “top-notch”.

“It is a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. The num­ber one ad­van­tage of the train is safety, be­cause of the se­cu­rity chal­lenges in Nige­ria,” Garba said.

He also en­cour­aged more Nige­ri­ans to use the train, es­pe­cially those work­ing in Abuja and re­sid­ing in any of the satel­lite towns along the route of the train to “buy into this idea”.

Garba said he has been more com­fort­able us­ing the train since he ob­served that due to the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try, armed po­lice­men are seen around the train sta­tions and in­side the train.

“It is a com­mend­able ef­fort. I wish it will go around the coun­try and we will be bet­ter for it,” he said while get­ting on board the train.

The Abuja-Kaduna rail line is one of the first Stan­dard Gauge Rail­way Mod­ern­iza­tion Projects un­der­taken in Nige­ria.

It is the first seg­ment of the Lagos-Kano stan­dard gauge project, which will link the com­mer­cial hub of Nige­ria and the hub of eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in the north­west re­gion of the coun­try.

The goal of the rail­way mod­ern­iza­tion ini­tia­tive in Nige­ria is to re­place the ex­ist­ing nar­row gauge sys­tem with the wider stan­dard gauge sys­tem while al­low­ing high­speed train op­er­a­tions on the rail­way net­work.

Last month, more than 80,000 pas­sen­gers got on board with the idea of train travel on the Abu­jaKaduna train ser­vice, more than dou­ble the num­ber of pas­sen­gers it pre­vi­ously recorded, the of­fi­cial said.

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