It was gathered that the government had placed orders for the fabrication of the coaches and the locomotives, which would start arriving in the country soon.
A locomotive is a railway engine used for pulling a train. A coach is a railway carriage used by passengers for seating in a train, while the wagon is a railway truck used for transporting goods or for other specified purpose.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated that the government was also working hard to meet the December 2018 or January 2019 completion deadline for the project, whose ground-breaking was performed last year by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was then the Acting President.
When asked when the coaches for the line would start arriving the country during an interview with journalists, the minister replied, “We’ve placed orders and they are fabricating them, and we hope they will arrive soon.”
On the number of locos and coaches being expected, Amaechi re-directed the enquiry to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, who stated that “we are expecting about 16 locomotives. For coaches, it is about 40 in number, and about 120 wagons.”
The minister further hinted that the government was planning to link Ibadan and Kaduna by rail once the ongoing work on the Lagos-Ibadan railway project was completed.
Nigeria had signed a contract with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for the construction of the Ibadan to Kaduna rail project, and the minister stated that the government was pushing hard to secure about $6.7bn loan for the project.
Ameachi said, “We’ve signed the contract but we’ve not got the loan. What is key is the loan, which is a bit difficult but we are pushing hard. If we get the loan, then they (CCECC) will start this year, because we are pushing hard. Honestly, it is one of the items I’m putting before the President for consideration.”
This is coming as the minister stated that the Federal Government had the intention of unbundling the NRC into about three companies.
Amaechi said, “We intend to break the NRC into three other companies and we are working on that. One of the companies will manage the tracks, another will operate, and then the third one will be saddled with the task of marketing.
“So, with this, you won’t have one company that is doing everything and is not able to operate. That is what is obtainable in many countries; it is so in South Africa; it is so in other areas and in Britain.”
On how soon to expect the unbundling, the minister said, “Well, there are those who are doing the paper work. When they finish their work, I will let you know, and then, I will go to the President, the cabinet and the National Assembly.”