The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri standard gauge rail line shall be ready for commercial use in 2019, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has mentioned.
Amaechi dropped the hint while addressing journalists at the Agbor Railway Station 7 shortly after inspecting the facility.
The minister, Rotimi Amaechi mentioned that the 34-year-old rail line was initially conceived to serve as a heavy duty carrier of raw materials to service Ajaokuta Steel Company, Aladja Steel Company and National Iron Ore Mining Company Itakpe.
“However contemplating the number of years it had been mendacity fallow with out being put to any use, the facility will now serve the twin function of ferrying passengers across the area in addition to its original objective of conveying raw materials to feed Ajaokuta, Aladja and Itakpe,” he acknowledged.
This, Amaechi said, was the rationale why some platforms and eight stations had been being constructed to extend to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, to cater for the needs of passengers.
The minister explained that the 302km rail line, the longest within the nation, would move 900 passengers every day when in use as from next year.
Eight out of the 12 stations from Itakpe to Warri have been constructed, whereas work is ongoing on the remaining 4 stations.
The minister mentioned that though the project was scheduled to be delivered in 2019, the contractor was being compelled to make it ready to be used by the end of this year.
He urged the contractor dealing with the stations to expedite action on the construction and to not lose sight of vital facilities such as eateries at the stations in order to fulfill the agreed deadline.
The Project Manager, Chiedu Nwazojie, acknowledged that the project would be delivered on schedule regardless of a pocket of challenges, together with some community folks stopping the contractor from working on some days.
He mentioned the trains, when totally operational, would do 100 kilometres per hour