Nigeria: Inside the cosy, fabulous Lagos-Ibadan rail line
London, Dec. 11, 2019 (AltAfrica)- The new Lagos-Ibadan rail line has eventually commenced its free train ride service on Monday Dec, 2nd , 2019 but with low patronage as only few passengers boarded the train in two separate trips.
The train, which took off from Ibadan on Monday by 4pm had about three passengers on board while the return trip had three persons on board
But ten days after the commencement of the free train exercise, things have gradually improved as the services begin to attract and record more passengers
Strangely, passengers have had good things to say about their experiences on the free train rides. One of them is an Arsenal fan, a man with controversial name-Ezeaka Chidozie Ishola Buharideen who described his experience to his twitter followers as fabulous
“Stepping into the coach, I’m hit by a wave of cold air from the air conditioning system, one of the major highlights virtually everyone on the coach spoke about, calling and advising friends who would later board the train to come with cardigans and blankets
“The coaches seem quite new, clean and world-class. I have taken trains in the US, UK, France, and in some Asian airports, I can say that the interior of the coach looks and feels as good or better than any of those nations”
Another lucky passenger, businessman Femi Ibiyemi, commended the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC for introducing the air-conditioned coaches.
Describing the coaches as comfortable and comparable with the ones available in the advanced countries, he prayed that their quality would not be diminished by the time the Lagos-Ibadan railway line became fully operational.
Ibiyemi who spoke to a leading Nigerian newspaper, Punch urged the management of the NRC to ensure that the coaches are well maintained and not handled like locomotive trains.
He said, “I was lucky to have travelled in one of the coaches to Ibadan on Wednesday. The journey was smooth and the coach was clean, fully air-conditioned and quite comfortable.
“This is the kind of service that obtains in the advanced countries. I want to commend the Federal Government for reviving the railway, which had almost gone moribund.”
Another Nigerian, Mrs Helen Alagoa, who also enjoyed a free ride to Ibadan, hoped that government would make travelling by rail affordable to commuters when the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway line begins fully commercial operations.
A top official of the NRC, who did not want to be quoted officially, said the corporation had yet to take delivery of all the coaches that would run on the Lagos-Ibadan route and others.
He said that only two coaches had been plying the Lagos-Ibadan route and they could only admit 48 passengers, including two soldiers, two policemen and two Man ‘O’ War personnel.
Appealing to those, who have not been lucky enough to enjoy a free ride, to be patient with the management of the corporation, he said, “The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, recently travelled to China to purchase some of the railway coaches that will be deployed on this route.
“The coaches will soon arrive at our shores. More of these coaches will be deployed on this route.”
The official explained that apart from the executive coaches, some coaches will be designated as economy class.
According to him, each of the executive coaches will have 24 seats, air conditioning facilities and a well-appointed interior, including super clean toilets and conference sections that could accomodate 30 persons. It is believed that business executives could hold meetings and other social and official engagements on board for a fee.
He added that caterers could be brought on board as there are kitchen areas for that purpose
Additional report from Punch