Transport Minister Declares 4-Day Free Train Ride On 62Km Port Harcourt-Aba Rail Line

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The Minister of Transportation, Senator Said Alkali has officially flagged off the 62km Port-Harcourt to Aba rail service, declaring a four-day free train ride from 1st May, 2024.

According to a statement issued late Tuesday night by Muhammad Tahir Zakari, for Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Alkali performed the flagging off in company with other stakeholders in the Ministry and people from the benefiting communities.

The Minister noted that transportation is among the eight key priority areas of President Bola Tinubu’s administration, hence his prioritization of the eastern rail corridor project upon assumption of office.

“We are here in Port-Harcourt to commission the train service for Port-Harcourt to Aba. I also want to thank the President and Commander-in-Chief, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his support and commitment to the Ministry of Transportation and his continuous desire to bring succour to the great people of this nation,” he said.

To encourage and drive the usage of the train service, the Minister declared a 4-day free train ride from May 1 to May 4, 2024, with commercial services expected to kick start on Tuesday, 7th May, 2024.

Alkali noted that the completion of this project is vital to the socio-economic progression of the country. This is even as he disclosed that the Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri rehabilitation and reconstruction rail project cuts across the five geo-political zones of South-South, South-East, North-Central, North East and North-West.

In cognizance of current economic realities, the Minister assured that the Ministry is currently assessing a proposition on the retrofitting from diesel-powered locomotives to Liquefied Natural Gas by an investor. He assured that bringing this to reality will facilitate the re-evaluation of current train tickets across the train service corridors.

Also speaking at the flag-off, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, during a media chat, disclosed that the locomotives and coaches used for the flag-off were refurbished ones.

He, however, assured that the contractor Messrs China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) was expected to deliver soon 50 narrow gauge locomotives and 100 narrow gauge coaches to be deployed along existing train corridors in the country.

Okhiria also assured the public of NRC’s commitment to offer better services, adding that containers could also be transported via this channel from Port-Harcourt to Aba.

The Minister along with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMT), Oloruntola Olufemi, Director, Rail Transport Services, FMT, Zirra Finbar, Director, Legal Services, FMT, Pius Oteh, Managing Director, NRC, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, together with traditional rulers, embarked on an assessment and a short ride on the commissioned train service from Port-Harcourt to Aba.

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