NIGERIA: Nigerian Railway Corp launched full commercial services on the 157 km Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge line on June 15, President Muhammadu Buhari having attended an inauguration ceremony on June 10.
The President said the government’s aim is to revitalise the railway system and establish rail as the mode of choice for both passengers and freight.
‘This vital line establishes an end-to-end logistic supply chain in railway transport within its short corridor’, he said, with freight able to be transported directly from the quayside at the port of Apapa in Lagos to an inland container depot in Ibadan for onward distribution.
An initial agreement for construction of the line was reached with China Civil Engineering Construction Corp in 2006, and was followed by a further agreement in 2012 with Export-Import Bank of China providing US$1·6bn in soft loans to finance the project.
A groundbreaking ceremony in March 2017 marked the official start of work by CCECC. CRRC Qishuyan has supplied locomotives for the 1 435 mm gauge double-track line, which is suitable for 150 km/h operation.
The opening had been planned for April 2020, but commissioning was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. A partial service began on December 7 2020, with the 8·7 km branch to the port at Apapa then being completed in January.
The line forms part of a US$6·7bn project to complete a 1 435 mm gauge route between Lagos and Kaduna in the north, which has been linked to the capital Abuja by a 187 km standard gauge line since 2016.