The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has declared free train service for all commuters across the country, which would last for two weeks.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, in Rigasa, Kaduna State by the Managing Director of the NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria.
The corporation took delivery of three 80-passenger capacity standard gauge coaches, one 56-passenger capacity executive coach and one Parcel/Guard van coach on March 2.
The train trial ride took off from the corporation’s Idu Station in Abuja at 8.27 a.m, traversed the NRC stations at Kuchibon, Asham, Jere, Gidan, Rijauna, Dutse, Kakau, and arrived in Rigasa in Kaduna at 12.42 p.m.
An individual standard coach which is 1,437 mm as against the 1,067 mm of the narrow gauge in width has a 57.2 tare weight with 150 km/h speed.
Okhiria speaking after inspecting the railway facilities put in place by the corporation, said the free train service would enable Nigerians know that the corporation was fully set for commercial services.
He advised Nigerians to de-congest the highways and urged them to embrace the use of train services for the transportation of goods and passengers.
On security, Okhiria said that both private security operatives and the Nigeria Police would be deployed by June 27 to support the various stations’ security arrangements.
He disclosed that adverts would be placed in national dailies for persons interested in branding the stations as well as both the interior and exterior of the coaches.
Online booking will be on the corporation’s website within the next one month, which will have self-service centres in the major centres where passengers can print tickets.
General Manager, Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, Abuja Regional Office, Mr Lv Feng, assured all commuters of safety and efficient service. Feng said the company has put in measures to guarantee passenger safety.
The revival of rail transportation in Nigeria has been described as important and key to the diversification and growth of the nation’s economy.