Thursday 11 October 2018

Photo Update From The Ongoing Lagos - Kano Standard Gauge Rail Work

The Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway is a planned standard gauge railway across Nigeria, from the Atlantic Ocean port of Lagos to Kano, near the Niger border. The railway will run parallel to the British-built Cape gauge line, which has a lower design capacity and is in a deteriorated condition.

The railway is being built in segments. Only the segment between Abuja and Kaduna has been completed so far, and services began officially in July 2016. The segment between Lagos and Ibadan is under construction.

Work has started in earnest at the Lagos-Ibadan (156.5 km double track); Phase II of the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge will easy and increase passenger movement and evacuation of goods from the seaports and industrial clusters in Lagos and Ibadan; thus boosting economic activities in the areas. The Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge rail construction started last year and so far the rate of the work has been impressive. 

See pictures from the site below.....

After Nigeria became independent from Great Britain, the colonial-era railways progressively fell into a state of disrepair. Passenger traffic on the Nigerian railways fell from 11 million in 1964 to 1.6 million in 2003. Freight traffic almost collapsed, falling from 3 million tonnes in 1964 to less than 100,000 tonnes in 2000. In early 2013, it took 31 hours for passenger trains to travel between Lagos and Kano, at an average speed of just 45 km/h.

Although projects have begun to rehabilitate the Cape gauge railways, economic growth in Nigeria has made a standard gauge line desirable. In 2006, the Nigerian government awarded an $8.3 billion contract to the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to construct a standard gauge railway from Lagos to Kano. Due to an inability to secure funding for the whole project, the Nigerian government decided to build the standard gauge line in segments and rehabilitate the narrow-gauge line in the meantime

China Civil Engineering Construction Corp is to complete the long-planned 1 435 mm gauge railway linking Lagos and Kano, under a U$6·68bn contract signed in Abuja on May 15.

During the signing ceremony, Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi said the line should be completed in two to three years, ‘depending on availability of funds’. The work will largely be funded by loans from Chinese banks, and the minister said the government would be able to fund the local share from its 2018 and 2019 budgets.

CCECC is currently building a 156 km standard gauge line from Lagos to Ibadan, paralleling NRC’s existing 1 067 mm gauge Western main line which connects the country’s commercial hub with Kano and the north. Work on this section was initiated by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in March 2017. The company had previously completed an isolated standard gauge line from Ido, near Abuja, to Kaduna, which was inaugurated by President Buhari in 2016, and was awarded another $1·69bn contract that year to extend the route from Kaduna to Kano.

According to the ministry, ‘the signing of the Ibadan – Kaduna contract agreement concludes all outstanding segments of the Lagos – Kano railway’. Like the existing railway, the route is expected to serve Oshogbo, Ilorin and Minna, and there will be a branch from Oshogbo to Ado-Ekiti. The line would also connect with the 650 km east-west Nigerian Coastal Railway linking Lagos and Calabar, which is being developed by CCECC’s parent China Railway Construction Corp under a US$12bn contract awarded in 2014.

Construction of the standard gauge lines is separate from the concession for a GE-led consortium including SinoHydro, Transnet of South Africa and APM Terminals to rehabilitate and operate NRC’s existing 3 505 km narrow gauge network. The consortium had been selected last year, and the concession agreement was finally signed by the government on April 27, following the approval of a US$1·23bn loan from China’s Eximbank to fund the modernisation work.

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