THE Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has said that the heavy downpour of June 11, 2017 has cut off the rail line that links the Northern and Southern part of Nigeria at Ndafun in Niger State. This is even as the corporation revealed that the repair works of the damaged rail section, which will take two weeks, will cost the corporation about N50 million weekly following the suspension of passenger and freight train services between Mokwa and Jebba.
This revelation was made by the Managing Director of the NRC, Fidet Okhiria, who explained that about 300 meters of rail tracks were damaged by the rain thus halting the North-South locomotive service. He also said that the rail damage could also have been caused by an avalanche of water released from Kanji Dam.
The managing director who made this known at a press briefing held at the corporation’s headquarters over the weekend explained further that apart from the washout of rail tracks on ground, it affected a railway bridge at Ndafor which links Mokwa and Jebba.
According to Okhiria, officials as well as materials such as lump stones, laterite and gabion crates have been mobilised to site, adding that a temporary bridge will be launched within the next two weeks to ensure that trains linking Mokwa and Jebba commence operations.
The NRC boss explained further that the lump stones will be used to fill the void before pouring laterite so as to reinforce the ground before laying the tracks. He however, assured customers that train services between Lagos and Jebba, as well as Kano to Mokwa will not be affected by the suspension; he pointed out that the temporary bridge will be put in place at Ndafor pending the construction of a permanent bridge in the nearest future.
He posited that washout is a natural occurrence that is peculiar to the raining season, noting that between the months of May and September which fall within the rainy season, experienced track men from the Civil Engineering Department are usually deployed to conduct regular inspection of tracks so as the identify faulty tracks and repair same to forestall any accident.
On the recent accident involving two Lagos mass transit trains at Ebute Metta Junction and Mushin railway stations, the managing director said that investigation into the causes of the two accidents has commenced and that staff found wanting will be disciplined in line with rules and regulations of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.