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NRC begins test service on Itapke-Warri rail line

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has commenced free four weeks test train service on the Warri Itakpe Train Service.

The Coordinator Warri Itakpe Train Service, Engr. Abdulganiyu Sanni told our correspondent on the telephone that the test service would last till Christmas Eve after which fares might begin to apply

Engr. Sanni said the train was scheduled to originate from Ujevwu in Warri and terminate in Itakpe in Kogi State few kilometers to Lokoja on Mondays and Thursdays and return trip from Itakpe to Warri on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 A.M each day.

On when the line will be commissioned, Sanni said that would be decided by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. He, however, hinted that it might be after Christmas and that the service would run nonstop to the commissioning day and would continue afterward

A staff of China Civil and Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) who spoke to our correspondent said none of the stations would be ready before April 2019.

“By April or May, one or two stations will be ready based on the level of construction now,” he said.

The 323km Itakpe-Warri rail project was originally billed to be completed in March 2019, based on the contract terms between the Ministry of Transportation and CCECC. However, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, revised the delivery date to August 2018, at a meeting with the contractor, though unofficially. That did not happen and it is not immediately certain when the project will be commissioned.

The contract for the rehabilitation of a section of the dilapidated rail track, construction of access roads, plus drainage and building of the 12 rail stations on the Itapke-Warri line was awarded to CCECC at an initial cost of $122.6m. But that amount may change as the project has already witnessed expanded scope of work around the station’s architecture not originally captured in the contract.

Credit: Daily Trust

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