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Kaduna-Kano Train Poised To Return Despite Vandalism Concerns

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The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, has announced the imminent commencement of the Kaduna-Kano train service, slated for the first quarter of 2025.

During a visit to the Rigasa Train Station in Kaduna, Mr. Okhiria addressed the media, shedding light on both the progress of the project and the challenges faced along the way.

“The Kaduna-Kano train is coming up, the track has gotten to Makarfi Local Government Area from Kano, and we are hoping that by early next year, people will be able to enjoy our services from Abuja through Kaduna to Kano,” stated Mr. Okhiria.

However, he also highlighted concerns regarding recent incidents of vandalism along the railway corridor, impacting the corporation’s operations and infrastructure.

“When we started, the patronage was high but after the attack incident in March 2023, things stepped down,” he explained.

“We were running 10 trains then but after the incident and also because of the rising cost of diesel, we had to limit the number of times and we have also reduced our operations to daylight only.”

Mr. Okhiria further elaborated on the economic challenges faced by the corporation, particularly in relation to the skyrocketing prices of diesel, a vital component for running the trains.

“At the time we started, diesel was between N230 to N280 per litre, it now costs between N1,000 to N2,000 depending on the supplier and because rail is for the people, the government decided to maintain the price so that people can enjoy from what the government is providing,” he stated.

The announcement of the Kaduna-Kano train service launch date comes amidst efforts to improve transportation infrastructure and connectivity across Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation, Sen. Saidu Ahmed Alkali, on Monday,  inspected the Nigeria Railway Corporation’s locomotives at the Idu Workshop in Abuja to check the progress of retrofitting them to run on both LNG and diesel fuel.

A statement issued by the minister on Tuesday described the project as a first of its kind in Africa, adding that it has reached an advanced stage, with the engine set for a test run soon.

“The locomotive will use a mix of 30% diesel and 70% gas fuel, transitioning seamlessly from diesel to gas during operation. This innovation aims to cut maintenance costs by 60-70% and regulate carbon emissions, tackling local air pollution effectively,” he said.

The trial will kick off on the Abuja-Kaduna rail corridor, with a retrofitting workshop in Abuja facilitating the process starting in June 2024.

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