The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday took delivery of two double-end-drivers’-cabin standard gauge locomotive engines from the Peoples Republic of China. The minister, who was represented by the Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria, said that 10 more locomotives were expected to arrive the country by September.
Okhiria was on hand to take delivery of the two locomotives, which were discharged at the ENL Terminal of the Lagos Port Complex (LPC). The Managing Director said that the two locomotives were part of 20 locomotive engines expected to arrive the country for the commencement of standard gauge rail operations in Nigeria. “This two locomotives are specifically designed for passenger train movement.
“The locomotives have inbuilt power supply and this is unprecedented. “It is designed for 150km per hour rail services and it is a double-end drivers’ cabin. “What this means is that on both ends of the locomotive, there is a driver’s cabin. What we used to have is a locomotive with only one driver’s cabin on one side,’’ he said. According to him: “10 locomotives that we ordered in April, the company manufacturing them has asked that we come for a factory acceptance test.’’ Okhiria said that hopefully, the 10 coaches would arrive the country by September.
“With these two new additions, we intend to increase our return trips because the new locomotives would be running at a speed of 130km per hour, as against the 90km per hour we are currently doing. “The locomotives will be put to use for the Nigerian standard gauge rail project, although for now, we are only doing the Kaduna-Abuja standard gauge rail,’’ Okhiria added. Amaechi had said on Monday, July 10, in Lagos that the Federal Government would ensure the completion of the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail service by Dec. 2018. Amaechi gave the assurance while inspecting the ongoing rail projects at the Ijoko community area of Ogun State. The minister said that the Federal Government was making all efforts to ensure the completion of the project on schedule.