By Ifeyinwa Obi
The Nigerian Railway Corporation, (NRC), has said it planned to resume passengers Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS) in six cities spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country with newly arrived locomotive engines next month.
The Managing Director of the corporation, Engr Adeseyi Sijuwade, who disclosed this in Lagos,Â named cities in the six zones already approved by the National Assembly to include Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri, Jos, Enugu and Port Harcourt.
The NRC MD posited that intra-rail services might have to wait further, until washed out tracks were fully rehabilitated.
According to him: â€œThe brand new locomotive engines which are set to be deployed across the country to boost train operations, including the MTTS have unique characteristics which make them different from the previous ones.
The locos have the capacity to increase that MTTS operations and passenger carriage as each can pull 50 passenger coaches at once. This implies that with an average of 90 passengers per coach, it can conveniently move 4,500 passengers at onceâ€ explained the Managing Director.â€
â€œThe intra-city Mass Transit Train Services are crucial to the economic lives of city workers and traders. This is because it is cheaper and affordableâ€ remarked Sijuwade.
He appealedÂ to train commuters to be patient as they will soon begin to enjoy train services better than before. The figure can be imagined with several runs per day, per week and per monthâ€ he stated further.â€
Contributing, NRC Director (Mechanical) Engr. Fidet Okhiria, said the present locomotives were the Model C25 six-axle engines with 2,500 horsepower, andÂ designed specifically to accommodate Nigeria â€™s weight per axle and clearance characteristics.
He lauded Government for importing â€œself loading and testingâ€ locos, in the sense that they have the capacity to determine the quantity of goods and passengers they carry, as well as detecting any fault in its system with the help of its in-built black box.
It would be recalled that in 1997, the Federal Government imported about 50 locomotive engines from China (2101 Class) to assist the NRC and boost MTTS operations.
Meanwhile, over 20 locomotive engine drivers from the corporation have completed their training programme in South Africa which uses similar locomotive engines, even as another set of loco engineers were schedule to soon depart Nigeria for Brazil, to oversee the manufacturing and assembling of the remaining 20 locos in order to enhance their knowledge of the locos and services.