The Nigerian Railway Corporation has affirmed that the train services on Port Harcourt to Aba route will start operation by the end of March.

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The Port Harcourt-Aba rail project is part of the larger Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railroad project initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The Managing Director of NRC, Mr. Fidet Okhiria, made the resumption disclosure in Port Harcourt last week, after leading a delegation to test-run the reconstructed Eastern Narrow Guage Rail line.

He said workers were currently putting finishing touches on the tracks to ensure that full train operation could begin within the month. “I am impressed with what I saw today, especially being able to ride the locomotive and wagon on the tracks.

“Last time we visited, we could not use the train because the contractor said it was not proper to run on the train due to imbalance of the tracks.

“The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has directed that the Port Harcourt route be connected to rail as well as initiate the linkage of Onne Port,” he said.

Okhiria expressed confidence that the contractor would complete the ‘tampering’ of the railroad within two weeks, preceding the targeted three weeks for the train services to resume.

“We are pushing the contractor to make the track safe by deploying semi-automatic signalling of the machine points rather than manual operation.

“Despite resource challenges, the contractors are doing their best, and our goal is to achieve this within the next two weeks.

“With this, we aim to commence passenger train services hopefully within March and fully resume transporting people from Port Harcourt to Aba by the end of March,” he assured.

The managing director said the project design team had started designing a rail track to connect the Port Harcourt-Aba railroad line to the Onne sea port.

He stated that NRC had begun collaborating with the port’s terminal manager and leading engineers to ensure a smooth project delivery.

“The initial design has been done and handed over to us. We look at it, make corrections and seek approval. Once approved, work will commence,” he added.