By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Following a comprehensive review of the Lagos rail project which ought to have commenced passenger operation but was hindered by unforeseen third party issues and other challenges, the Lagos State Government has said that the Lagos Rail Mass Transit, LRMT, Blue Line Rail project from Marina to Mile 2 section would be ready for passenger operation by 2022.
Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, Mr. Abiodun Dabiri, who revealed this during signing of an agreement on behalf of Lagos State Government with a foreign firm, Alstom SA of France at the weekend, added that the move was part of efforts to bring the mass transit project to passenger operation in 2022. “It will bring a new lease of life to the project”.
Dabiri explained that the state government had engaged consultants to carry out a technical review and due diligence on the implementation of the project, which substantially had focussed on civil works who reported back to government that operation of the first phase could only commence in 2022.
He explained that following the report, Alstom SA France, which is experienced international railway systems aggregator and rolling stocks manufacturer, with over 100 years of railway experience covering 60 countries, was engaged to review the report of the consultants.
Dabiri added that Alstom SA agreed with the submission of the consultants that the first phase of the rail project could only become operational in 2022 based on proposed funding pattern.
The agreement was the result of the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode towards the transformation of public transportation in the state.
He said that a consortium of experts engaged by the state government to undertake a technical due diligence on the LRMT Blue Line Project, Mile 2–Marina section, developed a roadmap which was accepted by the state government to bring the railway project to passenger operations.
The consortium, according to Dabiri, in it’s final report, outlined their findings and proposed a road map to complete the civil infrastructure works and the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) infrastructure that would be needed for the commencement of passenger operation.
He stated that based on the final report submitted, “The consortium of Alstom Transport SA France has been engaged for the procurement, engineering, construction, installation of operation and maintenance (O&M) moveable infrastructure and commissioning of railway systems towards the commencement of passenger operations for LRMT Blue Line project from Marina to Mile 2”.
While highlighting the extent of works to be carried out by the firm, Dabiri disclosed that for ease of implementation, the work plan had been divided into two phases.
Phase one, he said, was aimed at demonstrating the non-public operation of the existing rolling stock before end of second quarter of 2019.
“For this purpose, a track length of about 3.0 km from Iganmu station to National Theatre will be electrified. This operation would be done with the rolling stocks already supplied for the Blue Line project. This phase would allow the completion of all the preliminary works that would lead to the financing of the main works in Phase two. Phase one will be fully financed by Lagos State Government through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Phase two, which is expected to be completed in 39 months would entail the provision and installation of railway operations’ systems for the project from Marina to Mile 2 and the delivery of a passenger Lagos Blue Rail Line by 2022″, Dabiri noted.
He explained that the efforts of Governor Ambode’s administration on the rail project was to bring to fruition the state government’s commitment to deliver a multi-modal transport system for the state and transform the state’s public transportation landscape and move it closer to the achievement of the first integrated and multi-modal transport system in Nigeria.
“On completion, the rail project would reduce congestion and pressure on the roads which will lessen maintenance cost and increase the life span of road network, promote modal shift as private car owners and public bus commuters will move towards the use of rail as a safer, more convenient option. It will also enhance quality of life and reduce pollution on many road transport corridors,” he said.
Dabiri therefore, appealed to businesses and residents to trust Ambode’s administration to bring the Blue Rail Line to passenger operation by paying their taxes since the rail project is solely finance by the state government through its internally generated revenue.
“We had highlighted earlier that what we are doing currently to bring the rail project to passenger operation would be funded through IGR. This is your project; it is designed to ease the movement of Lagosians, it is designed to improve and increase our competitiveness in the comity of smart cities, it is designed to improve our lifestyle and regenerate our environment. Let us support it,” Dabiri stated.
Guy Jean-Pierre, a Director of the firm thanked the state government for the confidence reposed in the firm and the opportunity given to partner with the state on the Blue Line Rail project.
He assured that the firm would work to ensure the delivery of the Blue Line to passenger operation by bringing on board required expertise and experience in rail system management.