The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, has said that the corporation will begin six train trips daily on the Standard Gauge Train across the board in 2024.
Okhiria disclosed in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos State, on Monday.
He said that the train was meant to operate 24 hours, but the present situation in the country had reduced the turnaround time.
“We are going to increase the number of train trips to six on Lagos-Ibadan, Warri-Itakpe and Abuja-Kaduna, which means the trips will be three times to and three times fro, making six trips in a day.
“The trips will commence before the second quarter of 2024. Right now, they are running four trips — two up and two down across the board.
”What is limiting us is the night operations, and that is not the way train should operate. The train is meant to operate at all times. People may like to travel in the evening, but because of the security situation in the country, we limit ourselves to the daytime,” he said.
Okhiria added, “We intend to bring back passengers and freight trains from Port-Harcourt to Aba, Lagos to Kano and Kaduna because of the dry ports.”
He said the NRC had a vandalism issue in the Warri-Itakpe area in 2023, which was fixed two weeks after the incident took place.
The NRC boss said it would be difficult for the train tracks to be vandalised when occupied.
He said that the price of commodities would reduce drastically with the freight train operating across the country.
Okhiria said that the corporation would begin the Port-Harcourt-Aba, Lagos to Kano train service for both passengers and freight in the first quarter of 2024.
He also noted that the Dala Dry Port had been asking NRC to come up and bring cargo to them, while Funtua and Kaduna dry ports had also shown interest in freight haulage, adding that the railway would partner with all the dry ports in the country to reduce the time of doing business and increase government revenue.
He said that NRC had employed junior staff from levels four and six, and was awaiting government approval before placing them while commending the government’s efforts in connecting rail across the country and urging Nigerians to develop an interest in rail transportation.