As President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to commission the completed Abuja-Kaduna rail project, the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi on Thursday, fixed boarding fare for passengers who intend to ply the route.
The Minister, who was accompanied by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun, former Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Oni, and other party chieftains in Abuja, stated that the project has been finalized and ready for commercial operation.
Amaechi said passengers who intend to board executive and economy seats would be charged N900 and N500 respectively.
On perimeter fencing, Amaechi disclosed that the contract has been awarded and work will soon commence at the terminals.
“When we get money, we will start fencing. The contract has been awarded and we are looking for money but we will soon get money and we hope to start fencing in the next two – three months.
“We are expecting new locomotives and when it comes, we will then make arrangement in next year budget to buy more coaches so that we can have one of the trains stopping in all the stations and the other doing Kaduna – Abuja,” the Minister said.
In his remark, Oyegun admitted the project was initiated by the past administration but far from completion.
He added that aside from other additional considerations, the project also gave attention to the disabled persons who may want to access the service.
“Within one year of the present minister, under direction of the president, he set every other thing in place that makes it a railway line. It is functional, ready to roll. It will start rolling commercially,” Oyegun said.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhira said the service will ease pressure on the roads, increase easy delivery of goods and services.
He expressed optimism that before 2017, the railway corridors will also witness fast development.
Okhira said: “This will project will also take a lot pressure off the roads, the roads will last longer and accidents will reduce. You cannot quantify all these in naira and kobo.
“Rail infrastructure brings development. In less than a year you will see industries and estates spring up along the rail corridor because there is means of transportation.
“Right now, we are moving three trains of fertilizers from Lagos to Kaduna for Flour Mills. We started moving for Lafarge from Gombe to Kafanchan and Kaduna. We are still talking with the petroleum suppliers to partner with us.
“Presently we have a few customers we move petroleum products for with our pressurized tanks. We also use some to move our diesel across our stations. We use over 15 trucks of diesel a month.
“On Abuja to Kaduna, we will have parcel wagons but not huge loads. We have 20 rail wagons and open wagons.”