The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has assured that the over $1 billion Abuja-Kaduna train operations will commence by May 2016.
He also said the test run of the service would start at the end of March and stop in April. The test run will be free but after the flag-off in May, full commercial operations will apply on the route.
The Minister disclosed this yesterday in Abuja shortly after he inspected the railway facilities from the terminal station at Idu industrial layout to Garam village, Tafa, local government area of Niger State. The minister is expected to inspect the complete rail tracks from Kaduna to Abuja today.
The minister would also announced that the proposed 2016 budget estimates also makes provision for the commencement of Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar standard gauge tracks adding that some N60 billion has been earmarked for each of the routes in counterpart funding while the Chinese EXIM bank will provide the remaining financing.
He also said the compensation on properties to be demolished which was the major impediment that stalled the Abuja-Kaduna rail operations for about two years has been sorted out. The major property to be demolished now was a Catholic Hospital, The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul Hospital, Byazhin, Kubwa, Abuja.
The minister who also visited the hospital and interacted with its management, promised their compensation of N362 million will be paid before the end of March and the title to the land they have been relocated to would be ready in weeks as he was going to personally request of the Minister of FCT to grant the necessary approvals.