Sijuwade said that although the commencement of the Lagos-Kano train service had been postponed twice, “it would surely be restored this July”.
“The railway engineers have just returned from the final inspection of the tracks; our contractors are now working on the minor adjustments recommended by the engineers,” he said.
“We are going to begin trial runs very soon, and most likely, full restoration of train services between Lagos and Kano before the end of this month, July 2012.”
Sijuwade noted that the recent heavy rainfall in parts of the country, especially the South-West, damaged some of the facilities on the Lagos-Kano rail track, adding that repair works on the affected lines had been carried out.
The NRC boss also promised that the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri train service would be ready soon, as its rehabilitation had reached an advanced stage.
According to Sijuwade, the new standard rail gauge line between Kaduna and Abuja is 35 percent complete and should be delivered within the next two years, if adequate funds are provided.
“Fortunately, the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) is adequately funding the three railway projects; Kaduna-Abuja, Lagos-Kano, and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail lines,” he said.
“Although, only the Kaduna-Abuja new rail line is of the standard gauge among them, we are only waiting to complete the rehabilitation of existing lines before going full blast to having standard gauge on all routes.
“And by the time the standard gauge track will be fully in place, the current narrow gauge lines will be used for cargo trains alone because they cannot carry the speed of modern passenger locomotives.”
According to Sijuwade, the laying of the standard railway lines will be done in phases and will start with the Lagos-Ibadan route and extend gradually, just as it was in 1898 when the NRC began building rail lines.