NRC Charged to Avoid Train Accidents at Level Crossings

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Sunday Okobi

Stakeholders in the railway transport subsector have called on the management of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) to erect level crossing barriers in all railway level crossings in order to regulate movement of traffic and avert the incessant deaths recorded at railway level crossings in the country.

The call is coming against the backdrop of the recent death of four passengers in a tricycle killed by an Ijoko to Iddo bound Lagos Mass Transit trai at Iju railway level crossing.

A regular commuter of the Lagos Mass Transit Train service, Mr John Obot, the employment of flagmen to regulate traffic at railway level crossings is not enough to avert the unnecessary deaths recorded at regular intervals at railway level crossings.

He urged management of the corporation to erect metal barriers that could be lowered to regulate traffic whenever a train is approaching.

Obot noted that when the Rail India Technical and Engineering Services (RITES) of India managed the corporation in late 70’s and early 80’s metal barriers were erected at both sides of the road to stop traffic whenever trains were approaching level crossings adding that during that period there were few cases of trains killing motorists at railway level crossings.

Also, the Managing Director, First Rit Nigeria Limited, a Transport and Logistics Company, Mr. Eric Umezurike, noted that the claim by officials of NRC that the communities, local and state governments where rail lines intersect with roads should be responsible for maintenance of such level crossings is not tenable because the corporation generates revenue from the passenger and goods train services it operates.

Lagos District Manager of the corporation, Jerry Oche, had earlier said that most of the metal barriers used to regulate traffic at railway level crossings were damaged by motorists out of restlessness and disobedience.

He noted that at most of the level crossings there are gate keepers that stop motorists whenever a train is approaching adding that in spite of that some motorists often ignore the stop sign which led to the death of a Policeman alongside a commercial motorcyclist and recently four people inside a tricycle at PWD and Iju railway level crossing respectively.

Oche averred that when approaching a railway level crossing motorists should endeavour to listen and watch before proceeding.

Another regular commuter of the Lagos Mass Transit Train service, Mr. Segun Esan, however posited that it better to use metal barriers to regulate traffic rather than allow people to die untimely.

While not supporting the attitude of some motorists who ignore traffic signs especially at railway level crossings, he however noted that it is better for the management of the corporation to install metal barriers that may be damaged at level crossing than to allow ignorant and reckless motorists to be killed by a moving
train.