Abuja - The Abuja-Kaduna inter-state railway project would be completed before the end of the month, the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, said.
Government is implementing the key project in conjunction with the Chinese Company (CCECC).
Umar said the 187,5 km inter-state rail project was now “85 percent complete.”
"It would be delivered by the end of the year. The feasibility studies for survey work and other sample exercises awarded at undisclosed sums have been completed, while six others which were either recently awarded or previously signed are currently undergoing execution," he said at a Ministerial briefing in Abuja.
He said routes with complete feasibility studies include those that were stalled by the problem of insurgency in the North – East.
The standard gauge line will connect Nigeria's federal capital Abuja with its commercial capital Kaduna, enabling faster movement of goods and people between the two cities.
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Meanwhile, Umar said an estimated 5 million commuters from across the country have utilised the rail transport system from last year to date.
He added that the number of passengers conveyed by rail has increased from 4 155 988 in 2012 to 4 328 789 in 2013.
Umar attributed the high rate of patronage to increased stabilisation of the tracks following rehabilitation of the western line, pointing out that more cauches and wagons had been procured to cushion the growing demands for rail transportation in the country.
“This is a result of increased stabilisation of the tracks after completion of the rehabilitation of the western line. The targets set for delivery of freight and passenger services have substantially been met as more coaches and wagons are required to meet the high demands for rail services,” said the minister in Abuja.
Years of neglect of both the rolling stock and the right-of-way have seriously reduced the capacity and utility of the rail system. A project to restore Nigeria's railways has been underway since 2009, while the construction of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line started in 2011.
- CAJ News