By FRANCIS SUBERU
Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, yesterday said it will deploy five additional air-conditioned coaches to the Eastern Corridor of the corporation’s network to enhance its activities along the route. The railway service had on Saturday January 17 taken delivery of the five 68-seater coaches. The coaches were designed and manufactured in China specifically for the corporation’s narrow gauge railway system by CSR Nanjing Puzhen Company and Kintech Nigeria Ltd. Briefing journalists while test running and inspecting the coaches at the railway compound, Ebute Meta, Lagos, the Managing Director of NRC, Engr. Adeseyi Sijuade, said the coaches will commence operation soon after the commissioning.
Sijuade said, aside the five coaches, the corporation had recently taken delivery of two 16-seater rail buses and 18 five-seater motorised trolleys for monitoring and maintenance of the rail network. It will be recalled that the corporation had commissioned six 68-seater air-conditioned coaches in April 2014, totaling 11 such coaches in its fleet. According to Sijuade, the newly acquired air-conditioned coaches after being satisfactorily tested in the corporation’s Lagos workshops would be deployed for commissioning at Markurdi Railway Station on January 22. This would serve to formally flag-off the Markurdi to Port Harcourt Intercity Passenger Service.
Sijuade said: “The coaches will be deployed over the next two weeks on an extension of the train service from Markurdi – Gombe passing through Lafia, Kafanchan, Kuru, Jos, Bauchi and with a spur line from Kafanchan to Kaduna. “Remember that the Enugu to Port Harcourt Intercity Service was flagged off by Vice president Namadi Sambo in December 2014.” Stressing Federal Government’s commitment to resuscitating NRC, Sijuade noted that while the two new rail buses will be deployed for inspection of certain parts of the rail network, the other 18 motorised trolleys will be allocated to railway maintenance engineers to facilitate regular inspection and maintenance of the tracks. Elaborating on the importance of the motorised trolleys, Assistant Director Austine Ogbuayan said with the motorised trolleys on track, maintenance team could easily inspect the tracks to ensure they are in good order before any train passes and can easily repair the damaged tracks. He said: “In the past, we were using palm trolleys which normally take more time to arrive the affected areas but we have moved far from that now.