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Train services on Port Harcourt-Aba route to commence by end of March – FG 

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train services

The Federal Government announced on Saturday that the train services on the Port Harcourt to Aba route are expected to begin by the end of March.  

The announcement was made by Mr Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), during his visit to Port Harcourt for a test run of the recently reconstructed Eastern Narrow Gauge Rail line.  

Okhiria highlighted that workers are in the final stages of preparing the tracks, aiming to ensure the readiness for comprehensive train operations within the coming month.  

He shared his optimism about the contractor finishing the track ‘tampering’ process within the next two weeks, which is in anticipation of restarting train services within the projected three-week period. 

  • “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 assured. 

Additionally, Okhiria mentioned that the project’s design team has initiated the process of designing a railway track that would link the Port Harcourt-Aba railroad line with the Onne seaport.  

He elaborated that the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has started to work in collaboration with the terminal manager of the port and top engineers to guarantee the seamless execution of the project. 

  • “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,” he further explained. 

More insight 

  • Okhiria touched upon the topic of transport fares, noting that the steep rise in diesel costs might necessitate an increase in fares for commuters compared to previous rates.  
  • He explained that if the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) is unable to cover the full cost of fuel, it would aim to recover at least 50% of these costs from passenger fares to maintain operational sustainability.  
  • Furthermore, he added that the condition of the roads would be evaluated to cover at least 50% of those costs as well. 
  • He also highlighted the government’s efforts in collaboration with relevant security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the railway lines. This includes the integration of security devices on the trains with the control room to enhance monitoring.  
  • Additionally, Okhiria issued a warning to traders accustomed to operating along the rail lines, stating that trains would no longer decelerate to allow the removal of goods before passing.  
  • He stressed that the trains would adhere to a strict schedule, operating at fixed times across the country’s rail network, to improve the efficiency and reliability of the service. 

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