By Sunday Okobi
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday test-ran the newly acquired train on the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge project from Lagos to Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Amaechi said while inspecting and test running of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project that the standard gauge service would start by February 7, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo unveiling the ride by February 6.
According to him, “The vice president is expected to flag off the test running of standard gauge rail project on February 6 for passengers use.
“Arrangement was being put in place for passengers to enjoy free train for about two months between February and March.”
The minister added that some coaches would be brought from Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail for passengers’ use.
He noted that the development would be in addition to the two Coaches on ground Lagos-Abeokuta presently.
The minister said work was in progress on the various train stations within the numerous corridors.
Amaechi however, noted that he was satisfied with the job done at site, adding that efforts have been in place to expedite level of work between Agabado to Apapa axis of the project.
“The level of work being done would have been faster in Lagos but due to some challenges of right -of- way in the city,” he added.
The minister said that from February 7 passengers going to Abeokuta would enjoy free train ride from Agabado Lagos station to Abeokuta in Ogun
Accordingly, he stated that when the rail project is ready, it will further bring about economy development in the area and Nigeria at large.
Amaechi inspected among others the Bolade -Oshodi, Iju-Fagba, Ijoko rail tracks to assess the areas for quick laying of tracks.
The minister test-run the train from Kilometre 27 Agbado station Lagos axis to Abeokuta kilometre 79 on the standard gauge.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, had earlier said the the track laying of the project was moving towards Lagos State as 1.5 kilometres tracks laid everyday towards Lagos State corridor.
Okhiria disclosed this last Wednesday at Ijoko in Ogun, while inspecting the new ongoing project.
“They have done alot in laying of tracks between Abeokuta, Itori, Papalanto, Kajola, Ijoko towards Lagos corridor.
“Within seven days, the track laying will reach Iju towards Agege corridor of Lagos State.
“From here to Iju its 10 kilometres, and we are laying 1.5 kilometres on daily basis and by first week of February we will do a test run to Abeokuta from Lagos.
“All the formations have been put in place to expedite the tracks laying,” he said.
The Managing Director said that from kilometre 41, Kajola to kilometre 79 Abeokuta has been completed adding that the tracks was moving towards Lagos to begin the test run.