By G9ija

Commercial passenger and cargo activity will begin on the Lagos Ibadan standard gauge rail line by October, the Chairman Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr Ibrahim Alhassan, said on Thursday.

Alhassan spoke when he led 24-members of the newly constituted board of directors on tour of the project.

He disclosed with one of the tracks already at Kilometre 154, what remains are the two branch lines, one, into the works yard and other that will connect the Ibadan dry port. These, he said would be completed by July ending.

He disclosed that the federal government has ordered 30 engines, 63 coaches and 200 wagons, as well as a conference coach and a super sleeper with a spa and other facility.

Also ordered, according to him, are two miesel multiple unit (DMU) of 30 coaches all of which would be delivered before December.

Alhassan, who seized the opportunity to unveil the conference coach, inside which they board held an inaugural meeting, said the corporation invested so much on the rail system and would be happy to see firms holding their board meetings or conferences on the train’s conference coach.

The tour team had travelled from Lagos -Abeokuta by road, before making the rest of the journey by rail.

The chairman said the journey was an eye opener to all the newly constituted board, most of who are experiencing the railway for the first time.

”This trip has been a richly rewarding trip for most members of the board and the feedback we got from so many of them indicated that they were not only happy but are in a better position to appreciate the federal government,” he said.

NRC Managing Director Mr Fidet Okhiria said everything is already in top gear to ensure a smooth take-off of commercial operation on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard rail line.

He said studies by the corporation has indicated that the route will be over subscribed, adding that when completed, passengers would be able to move between Lagos-Ibadan in one hour.

He said the train speed has been calibrated to be within 150 km per hour.

”Commercial operation will begin on this road by October and we want to assure Nigerians that they can board the train from Agege in Lagos and land at Ibadan within one hour,” Okhiria said.

He said the national line took off from Apapa through Ebute Metta, as a result of expected collaboration with the Lagos State Government’s Red line rail project which is to begin from Iddo, using the same NRC corridor.