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Port Harcourt-Aba Train Service To Begin Operation In March – NRC


Port Harcourt-Aba Train Service To Begin Operation In March – NRC

Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), has stated that train services from Port Harcourt to Aba will begin by the end of March.

Okhiria made this statement after leading a delegation to test the repaired Eastern Narrow Guage Rail line. He stated that workmen were presently putting final touches on the tracks to ensure that full train service could begin within a month.

The NRC MD said; “I am impressed with what I saw today, especially being able to ride the locomotive and wagon on the tracks.

“Last time we visited, we could not use the train because the contractor said it was not proper to run on the train due to imbalance of the tracks.

“The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has directed that the Port Harcourt route be connected to rail as well as initiate the linkage of Onne Port.”

Okhiria expressed confidence that the contractor would complete the ‘tampering’ of the railway within two weeks, ahead of the three-week target for train service to restart.

He added; “We are pushing the contractor to make the track safe by deploying semi-automatic signalling of the machine points rather than manual operation.

“Despite resource challenges, the contractors are doing their best, and our goal is to achieve this within the next two weeks. With this, we aim to commence passenger train services hopefully within March and fully resume transporting people from Port Harcourt to Aba by the end of March.”

He also stated that the project design team has begun working on a rail track to connect the Port Harcourt-Aba railway line to the Onne sea port.

According to him, the NRC has began working with the port’s terminal manager and top engineers to ensure a successful project delivery.

He said; “The initial design has been done and handed over to us. We look at it, make corrections and seek approval. Once approved, work will commence.”

Okhiria also stated that the present high cost of diesel has had an impact on transit rates, and commuters may have to pay greater fares than previously. He stated that if the NRC could not cover 100% of its fuel costs, it would strive to raise at least 50% from passengers in order to continue operating.

He said; “Additionally, we will assess the conditions of the roads with intent to cover at least 50 per cent of the road costs.

“The government is working with relevant security agencies to ensure adequate security of the rain line, and the linkage of security devices from the trains to the control room.

“Communities should protect what the government is putting in place for us. We are striving to ensure that people who come on the train are safe.”

A Gentle Reminder: Every obstacle is a stepping stone, every morning; a chance to go again, and those little steps take you closer to your dream.

Nnamdi Okoli

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