Kano — Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Adeseyi Sijuade, has said the corporation was ready to introduce an air conditioned trains next year.
Fielding questions from journalists over the weekend, at the commencement of the inter-city passengers service from Lagos to Kano, Sijuade commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the achievement, saying he always gave accelerated approvals to request from the corporation.
"By 2013 we plan to introduce the new modern air-conditioned coaches on the track and there would be no cause for alarm in terms of security as the corporation would ensure safety of lives and properties of customers," he said.
He revealed that the sum of N24.3 billion was spent to rehabilitate NRC track from Lagos to Kano.
"Interestingly, which is the rehabilitation of Lagos to Kano, which is the 488 kilometres from Lagos to Jebba was executed at about N12.1 billion. We also had that of 638 kilometres from Jebba to Kano executed by Costain West Africa for N12. 2 billion," he said.
According to him, "the good news I can tell you is that those projects were actually completed within the budget, no cost for variation or for adding sum of reviewing of anything they have done. We have just completed 30 hours journey from Lagos by rail down to Kano, passing all the major cities, state capitals between Lagos and Kano."
He, however, assured Nigerians that the railway was back on track, saying they had about two or three years of rehabilitation going on between CC and Costain, noting that it was a historic milestone in the development in the Nigeria Railway.
"This is very symbolic, symbolic in the sense that from now on we will see very significant migration passengers from roads to rail, we have quite a lot of customers already showing interest to patronise the rail system of transportation to move their goods from Apapa, flour mills cement companies, Total petroleum company amongst others," he stated.
Sijuwade further stated that the service would start from weekly service from Lagos to Kano, departing Iddo Terminal by 9 a.m. every Friday, and also going to leave Kano station at 9 a.m. every Monday.