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WARRI ITAKPE RAIL LINE ACROSS IKA LAND COMPLETED

Mar 26, 2019

The railway project which started over 30years ago, cutting across Delta, Edo and Kogi States has been completed. The rail track which runs through Ika land, measures 325km from Itakpe to Ajaokuta, including the siding line (siding to Ajaokuta Steel complex).

According to the Engineers who have their temporal office at Berger yard, Owa Oyibu, the work was resurrected in 2017 and the test running of the train began in November 2018 and offers free ride to passengers. THE INCREASING INSECURITY OF BANKS’ CUSTOMERS IN NIGERIA

Speaking with Ika Weekly Newspaper reporter, Engr. Sani Abduganiyu, the Coordinator of Warri Itakpe Train Service, said, “This project has been on for a very long time, over 30 years ago. It was initially meant to convey raw materials to Ajaokuta steel company and the finished product back for export. But the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari felt it necessary to convert it to convey passengers as well.

DSC01875 WARRI ITAKPE RAIL LINE ACROSS IKA LAND COMPLETED

“Between August and September 2018 the Hon Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi visited the site and confirmed the project ready for use, requesting we start test running the train. So on November 25, 2018, we did a trial run and the trial run is still on, free of charge.

“Our permanent stations are located at Ujevwu in Udu, Okpara, Abraka, Agbor, Igbanke, Ikehen, Uromi, Agenegbode, Itogbo, Ajaokuta, Itakpe. These eleven stations are already under construction, while the twelfth is on its way which is to be situated at either Eganyi or Adogo in Kogi state. Right now, we are making use of the temporal stations which are situated at Itakpe, Ajeokuta, Weppa, Ohen-Irrua, Agbor, Orovie, Agbarho, and Ojewu. We cover 316km which is about 5hours journey.”

According to him the train moves on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. His words, “the train takes off as early as 8am on Monday from Warri and gets to Itakpe by 1pm. We sleep over and leave the following day. On Tuesday when we are leaving Itakpe, we take off by 10am to give enough time for people that are coming from Lokoja to join us, and by 3:30pm we are back to Warri.

Then on Wednesday, we do maintenance work on the train to prepare it for Thursday. On Thursday, we move from Warri by 8am to Itaape and return back on Friday. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we do maintenance work.”

One of the reasons for keeping the rail busy while the construction of the permanent stations are on-going, he said, is to prevent the track from being vandalized, assuring that by June this year, a lot of the stations if not all, will be completed.

The train according to Engr. Abduganiyu, has the capacity to convey over 500 passengers at a time. “We have one first class and five economy class coaches. Each of the economy class can carry up to 88 passengers, while the first class carries about 56 passengers. This gives us approximately 500 passengers, which the train can convey at a time,” he said.

Engr. Zainab Kasim the project manager and Mr. Nanjul Wuyep, the Operation Manager noted that the rail line would create jobs for people, especially those whose communities are along the rail track.

According to Engr. Kasim, “we have been going round from one community to the other along the railway line to get the names of workers that will maintain the railway track. We are also recruiting office staff,” she said.

Speaking of the hospitality of the people of Owa kingdom where their temporary office is situated, Engr. Abduganiyu said, “The people of Owa kingdom have been very friendly and wonderful to us. They have been very helpful and they appreciate the work that is going on.”

Among those who visited the railway site and confirmed the track ready for use include; the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Mr. Ashafa,  MD Nigeria Railway Corporation, Engr. Okhiria Fidel, and the General Inspector of Railway, Engr. Yusuf. They all confirmed the railway ready for use, according to the Engineers.

BY WILLIAM USIFO

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