The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Thursday approved a N1.1 billion for the design, manufacture and commissioning of 2 new diesel locomotive for the standard gauge Nigerian railway corporation line from Kaduna to Abuja.
“Government is fully committed to the revival of the Nigerian railway corporation. We are working assiduously to see the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge line,” said Senator Idris Umar, Minister of Transport.
Addressing state House correspondents at the end of the meeting on Wednesday, Umar said that the two locomotives to be manufactured are to be used for mass transport services on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line. The line is expected to be completed by December.
According to the Minister, the scope of work for the contract include: the design and manufacturing of 2 number diesel electric locomotives with a capacity of 2800 kilowatts for standard gauge tracks; training of 30 personnel for the Nigerian railway corporation on operation and maintenance of the locomotives; commissioning and test running in Nigeria, as well as one year maintenance and technical support with two resident technicians.
Umar said “This is the first batch of the rolling stock that we are acquiring. specifically the locomotives to be used for the transportation of passengers and indeed freight from Abuja to Kaduna and Vice Versa.” He added that the FG will place orders for more locomotives next year.
Although the government was working on ensuring the country’s rail system was modernised, work is also ongoing on the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge lines so as to have complementary services.
“In the long run when we achieve total development of the standard gauge, the narrow gauge will be dedicated mainly for freight,” said Umar. He however said as things are, work needs to continue to ensure both gauges are operational until when Nigeria “attains that level where we have in place the standard gauge rail tracks and then the rail system, we can now dedicate the standard gauge lines for freight”.