Nigeria launches China-built train line

LAGOS: Nigeria on Monday launched a Chinese-built railway line centering on the southwest business hub Lagos after many years of delay, officials said.
The two-hour link between Lagos and Ibadan is a gateway to other parts of the West African powerhouse but initially is providing just “skeletal” service, Nigeria Railway Corporation official Jerry Oche told AFP.
The standard gauge rail line, 156 kilometres (97 miles) long, was built by the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation at a cost of $1.6 billion.
“The project has been in the works for many years,” Oche told AFP. “Right now, the service is skeletal because we have to create awareness among Nigerians.”
Initially the train will run between the two cities just once a day on weekdays, he said.
Service will shoot up to 16 daily round trips after the formal commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari next month, Oche added.
The first class fare will be 6,000 naira ($16 dollars, 13 euros), business class 5,000 naira and economy 3,000 naira.
The fare structure has come in for criticism from ordinary people in Nigeria where most of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.
The train line is expected to reduce gridlock and insecurity on the road, boost commerce and property development and lower the cost of haulage.
Nigeria is beset with rising insecurity, including kidnappings, armed robberies and killings, prompting many travellers to turn to air and rail services.
Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi blamed the delay on the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the Chinese contractors to reduce their workforce to 3,000 from 10,000.
Other rail projects are at various stages of completion.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *