The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that the Abuja-Kaduna train service would resume on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.
Ameachi disclosed this during the test run of newly acquired coaches to be used on the corridor.
The minister may have bowed to pressure to resume train services as incidences of insecurity pervade in Kaduna State.
“We are being pressured to resume train services before Sallah celebration.
“Also, upon the resumption of the train service, hourly train operations will commence on the corridor.” the minister confirmed.
Our correspondent had exclusively reported that hourly train service will commence when the trains come alive again after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Train operations were shut down in March 2020 as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Recall that the Nigerian Railways Corporate (NRC) had recently acquired ten rolling stock on the corridor.
Double price of tickets
The minister also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the doubling of tickets cost on the Abuja-Kaduna rail service.
Mr Amaechi said the tickets should have been more expensive but the president intervened.
He said, “President Buhari approved the reviewed fares as follows: economy N3000, business class N6000.
“We even proposed higher fare but the president approved that we should leave it at that price.”
Asked if the fare wasn’t prohibitive, he said: “Most people using the train can afford to pay the fare and most people are of the opinion that it’s nothing compared to the risk of kidnappers on the road.”
On when the Ibadan-Kano rail project will resume, he said; “We are still waiting for money.”
On the commercial activities on Itakpe to Warri, he said “the axis is more lucrative than the Abuja-Kaduna because by the time the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project starts, they will use the facility to convey the pipes from Warri seaport to Itakpe but in terms of passenger burden, we have moved from 300 passengers per day to 4500 passengers per day.
“So, in terms of passenger volume, the Abuja-Kaduna railway is higher.”
On the Lagos railway completion date, Ameachi said “We need about 1000 workers to work on Ebutte Metta station and we are only working with ten.”
“We had targeted May and they were working towards May but unfortunately, COVID-19 came.
“So, we told them to complete the small stations,” he noted.