Nigerian Railway: Port Harcourt - Aba Mass Transit Train Service Now Active


New train

An exclusive report gathered by Leadership Newspaper is that the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) began its mass transit train services from Port-Harcourt, the administrative capital of Rivers State to Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State on Wednesday December 16, 2015.

The flag off ceremony witnessed the presence of notable Nigerians who travelled from Port-Harcourt to Aba in the comfort of the mass transit train services of passenger capacity of 68. Some of the passengers who travelled with the train were Mr Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport, Minister of State Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Land & Transportation, Senator Olugbenga Ashafa and our own illustrious son Rt. Hon Ude Oko Chukwu (Deputy Governor of Abia State).

Other dignitaries in attendance include; the managing director of NRC, Engr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Sabiyu Zakari, the permanent secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Transport, Mrs. Stella Ebere Wigwe and the former commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari.


Information gathered from the NRC managing director, Engr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, the mass transit train services will run four trips daily from Monday to Saturday, adding that the train has 68-seater air-conditioned modern passengers’ coaches, together with standard class coaches.

He said: “For the comfort of passengers and operational efficiency, the newly introduced Aba-Port Harcourt train is scheduled to run four trips daily from Monday to Saturday. The train has 68-seater air-conditioned modern passengers’ coaches, together with standard class coaches.

“The first train departs Aba at 05:00am and stops at Aba Halt, Imo River, Kom-Kom, Elelenwo, Trans-Amadi, Diobu Halt, D-Line, and Diobu Market Halt stations, and arrives Port Harcourt at 07:15am. The return journey from Port Harcourt is at 08;08am with arrival at Aba at 10:15am same day. The second train departs Aba at 3:00pm and arrives Port Harcourt at 5:15pm while final departure from Port Harcourt is 6.00pm with arrival at Aba at 8:15pm.”

According to the managing director of Nigeria Railway Corporation, one of the major aim of introducing the Port-Harcourt – Aba mass transit train services is to facilitate movement and enhance business transaction within the Ariaria International Market in Aba and other markets in the Nigeria’s major oil producing State, Rivers State.

Sijuwade said, “However, this is our first time of establishing a mass transit train service between Aba and Port Harcourt. Why Aba-Port Harcourt mass transit train service? Movement relating to business transactions within the Ariaria International Market in Aba and other markets like Oil Mills, Mile One, School Road, and Diobu markets in Port Harcourt are done mostly by road. In both cities, booming shopping centres and new markets’ fabric materials, plastics and motor parts are not fully patronised due to bad roads between Aba and Port Harcourt.

“In addition, Port Harcourt is renowned for being the homestead of petroleum and gas industries and a commercial nerve centre of the South-South showcasing full scale inter-modal trades with the presence of an international airport, inland container depots, seaports, and petroleum product facility bases. The associated business activities undoubtedly require the mass movement of people by rail.
“Going by the economic potentials of Port Harcourt and Aba in commerce, tourism, and industrialisation, with this new train service; there will be proactive economic growth and virile positive change in the lives of the citizenry in the two benefitting states. This service will surely reduce congestion on Aba-Port Harcourt Express Road. Business activities will be enhanced as production capacity in all facets of the economy will operate at optimal levels.”

Flagging off the mass transit train service, the minister of Transportation, Amaechi, expressed the hope that the services will not only enhance commercial activities, but will foster integration among the people of Rivers and Abia states.

He said, “I am delighted to note that as part of the ongoing effort and commitment of the federal government to provide safe and affordable means of mass transportation in the country, the Nigeria Railway Cooperation has completed the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Aba rail line, being segment of the narrow gauge Eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, and the line is ready for commissioning and commencement of operations.

“This administration’s plan is to revive the railway sub-sector and achieve a Nigerian railway system that is modern, safe, and affordable, and could serve as a vehicle for the delivery of sustainable economic growth, social harmony, and political stability. The trains will run between Port Harcourt and Aba, with stops at key locations along this important corridor. Without doubt, the services will enhance significantly, commercial activities and foster integration among the people of Rivers and Abia states.”

Mr Rotimi Amaechi stated that the federal government will create seven additional rail corridors of standard gauge railways under the public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative, as part of its efforts to modernise and expand railway transportation in Nigeria.

He said, “I have the pleasure to inform you that the federal government, through the public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative, is planning the remodelling and the redevelopment of our major railway stations within the country. Under the rail modernisation programme, government will open new railway lines to achieve an efficient rail network.

“In furtherance to our commitment to implement this strategic plan of modernising and expanding the railway transport services in Nigeria, the Ministry of Transportation has carried out feasibility studies to create seven additional rail corridors of standard gauge railways under the public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative.”

Amaechi stated that the federal government will soon sponsor five bills for passage by the National Assembly in order to open the space for effective private sector participation in the transport sector, adding that the proposed bills include, the Nigerian Railway Authority Bill, the National Transport Commission Bill, Nigerian Port and Harbour Authority Bill, and the National Inland Waterways Authority Bill.

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