FG opens Port Harcourt-Aba railway to passengers

Kenneth Ibinabo
Kenneth Ibinabo
Port Harcourt-Aba train

The Federal Government has resumed  operations on the Port-Harcourt-Aba railway following the completion of its rehabilitation, which forms part of the ongoing work on the 1443km Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri narrow gauge rail project.

The resumption of the Port Harcourt-Aba rail operations is part of the intensified drive by the Federal Government to facilitate trade, enhance mobility, accessibility, and ensure connectivity between the southern parts of the country and the North-Eastern part.

Inaugurating operations on the rehabilitated 62km rail  corridor on Tuesday, the Minister of Transportation, Sen. Said Alkali, said his ministry was in discussions with an investor on retrofitting locomotives from diesel to CNG to further bring down the cost of transportation.

Alkali, who took a train ride from Port Harcourt to Aba, said it signalled the commencement of passenger train services along the corridor.

He said the corridor would be linked to Enugu and connected to the Onne and Port Harcourt ports to stimulate commerce.

He said, “We give God the glory that we are here to commission the train service from Port Harcourt to Aba.

“And to thank the Commander-in-Chief, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for his support and commitment to the Ministry of Transportation out of his desire to bring succour to the people of this great country.

“The Eastern narrow gauge covers five geopolitical zones of the country. It covers South South, South East, North Central, North West and North East.

“So, it means a lot to the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I am happy that today one segment is being put to use, and this is the first presence of the Railway Corporation in the South-South.

“So, we are prepared, we are going to ride on the train from Port Harcourt to Aba, and from today on, the passenger train will commence.

“By the grace of God Almighty, from Aba, we are going to proceed to Enugu, and from Port Harcourt to Onne Port and Port Harcourt Port so that we will be able to put freight service in the haulage.

“The ministry is considering a lot of things, As we speak, we have engaged an investor on retrofitting our locomotive from diesel to CNG to further bring down the cost of transportation.”

The 144 km Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail rehabilitation project was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) on October 16, 2020, with a completion timeline of 36 months.

Tinubu’s administration continued with the project, which commenced in March 2022 and ensured that the Port Harcourt to Aba corridor was completed.

Alkali noted that the scope of the project covered the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge railway line, the construction of new modern stations, and the procurement of new modern rolling stock.

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