By Chesa Chesa – Correspondent, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved Nigeria’s purchase of two modern diesel/electric locomotives for N1.1billion to be used on Nigeria Railway Corporation’s newly constructed standard gauge rail line between Abuja and Kaduna to be completed by the end of this year.
Minister of Transport, Umar Idris, who announced this at the end of the FEC meeting in Abuja chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan, said the contract was awarded to Messrs CNR Locomotives and Rolling Stock Limited, and CCECC Nig Ltd, with the delivery period of 10 months.
Idris said the two locomotives, with built-in power packs, are to be used for mass transport services on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line (1,435mm) which is expected.
The contract includes the design, manufacturing and commissioning of the locomotives with a capacity of 2,800 kilowatts for standard gauge tracks; training of 30 personnel of the Nigerian Railway Corporation on operation and maintenance of the locomotives; commissioning and test-running in Nigeria; as well as one-year maintenance and technical support with two resident technicians.
The Minister explained that efforts were being intensified to complete the Abuja-Kaduna line and that this was the first of such locomotive purchases as more would be procured when more standard gauge rail lines are commissioned across the country.
His words: “This is the first batch of the rolling stock that we are acquiring, specifically the locomotives to be used for the transportation of passengers and indeed freight from Abuja to Kaduna and vice-versa.
”We are going to place orders for many more in 2015 and beyond and its of importance to emphasise that while we are working assiduously to ensure the entrenchment of the modern railway system.
“We are also working to see to the completion of the rehabilitation of the narrow gauge lines so as to have complementary services. In the long run when we achieve total development of the standard gauge, the narrow gauge will be dedicated mainly for freight.
“But as it is, we have to continue to work hand-in-hand for both gauges to be operational until such a time when Nigeria attains that level where we have in place the standard gauge rail tracks for the whole rail system, we can then dedicate the standard gauge lines for freight too.”
Source : Independent