The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Transport Secretary, Comrade Kayode Opeifa has assured FCT residents that the FCT Administration is on course in its commitment to deliver on the FCT Light Rail project. The Transport Secretary gave this indication while speaking to newsmen against the backdrop of taking delivery of three coaches meant for the trial operations of the railway services.
Comrade Opeifa commended the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello for the passion and energy he invested in driving the project to the tremendous success story we are witnessing.
The ultra-modern coaches, with a total capacity of 390 passengers, he disclosed, arrived at the same time with the Kaduna rolling stocks at the end of last year. Comrade Opeifa noted that FCTA could not commence trial runs because of the preliminary logistics needed before the exercise.
According to him, all hands are on deck for the operations to commence early. There would be two phases in all, he revealed. These involve test-runs by the technical team which would come before the test-run by passengers. These, he emphasised, are required before the arrival of the regular passenger coaches needed for the formal commencement of full operations. But while these are being awaited, the test-run coaches would be rolling with passengers.
He explained, “These are all technical requirements in rail transportation projects and are in compliance with international due diligence and professional standards.” Opeifa disclosed that the rail services, on full operation, would convey between 120,000 and 200000 passengers daily in the 20 coaches planned in the loop. He however stressed that the coaches would not be introduced at once but progressively ramped up to reach the maximum number.
Meanwhile the 12 stations traversing the rail-line corridor are complete including the Abuja Metro Station behind the Abuja World Trade Centre also known as the Central Railway Station. The facilities, especially the Metro Station are all ultra-modern edifices with provisions for modern shopping precincts and eateries. Also completed are the rolling stock depot and maintenance base at Idu, fitted with modern railway coaches repair facilities.
Comrade Kayode also reiterated that work on Phase 2 of the Abuja Light Rail Project which begins at Gwagwa and ends in Area 1 will be ramped up this year. This, he said is because the first phase of the project is as good as “a done deal.”
The rail lines, he revealed would pass from Gwagwa across Jabi, Gwarimpa, Utako, Wuse Hospital and Garki before ending at the Area 1 Park, located behind the former FCT NYSC Secretariat. Above all, unlike the present rolling stocks which run on diesel, the Phase 2 rolling stock would run on Electric Motor Units (EMUs). This would make it the most modern in West Africa. He pointed out that the project would bring about a major relief to the transportation needs and economic potentials of the City.