As part of the test running of newly-completed Warri to Itakpe rail line, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) would commence the Warri to Itakpe train service today.
The train is scheduled to originate from Ujevwu, in Warri by 10:00am and terminate at Itakpe in Kogi State few kilometers to Lokoja by 15:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays and return trip from Itakpe to Warri on Tuesdays and Fridays by 10:00am.
The train would be free of charge for the next four weeks as it is on test running stage.
According to the managing director, NRC , Fidet Okhiria, “We invite the general public to patronise the service and enjoy the dividend of democracy. The up train will leave Warri on Monday and Thursday and the return trip will be Tuesday and Friday.
“Departure time from both end is 10am for now. But we hope to change departure time from Warri to 8am soon to enable people going to Abuja to arrive before late.”
Meanwhile, Okhiria also revealed that over 1000 workers would be employed for the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail corridor by the federal government.
He noted that “we are going to engage close to over 1000 to maintain about 320 km track, both junior and senior .
“New employees can ’t just be sent there. They must be trained and in order for them to be trained, we will be moving people from the existing staff, but we have to replace them. So we have to fill up those position before the new people will be trained and certify to be part of the train operations.”
While giving details of the rail line, Okhiria explained that “ It is about 320 km and about 12 stations and we have to engage people that will maintain the tracks , people that will work in the stations and sell tickets. Also, technicians that will examine the train.
“The 12 stations for the train service are still under construction, adding that temporary stations would be used pending completion.”
He however, said that the stations would be completed by the first quarter of 2019, noting that some of the houses at the railway village were renovated recently for workers.
Okhiria said that a lot has been achieved especially in the rail system under the current administration , with the purchase of more rolling stock and wagons .