The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on Sunday said it sympathised with train commuters going through pains and difficulties due to the shutdown of daily operations of train services on the existing narrow gauge from Ijoko in Ogun to Ebute Meta-Apapa in Lagos.
Recall that the NRC suspended the daily operations of train services in the axis on Sept. 30.
The suspension became necessary to fast track the completion of the new standard gauge, which required shifting of the existing narrow gauge and relaying it to accommodate standard gauge rail line.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, had on Sept. 23, announced November as deadline for the trial services on the about-to-be- completed Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line.
The Lagos District Manager of NRC, Mr Jerry Oche, told NAN that the corporation was not unconcerned about the difficulties many commuters were going through since the shutdown, urging them to be patient.
Oche, who said that the shutdown would last till middle of November, disclosed that NRC management was working with the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to deliver the project as projected.
“Words cannot express how I feel about what the commuters are going through. Don’t forget, I always say that it is not much about how much we make, but the services we render to the majority of people.
“We bring succour and alleviate the suffering of thousands of Lagos residents. Now that we have shut down, I know a lot of people are having difficulties.
“But we are, however, working with the Chinese contractor to see that the project is fixed within the set time. We should achieve what we wanted to achieve within the set time,’’ Oche said.
He said that the district was also using the period of the shutdown to look inward and fix a lot of things, including the state of coaches and others.
“We want to see what improvement we can bring in by the time we are resuming. I really want to appeal to our passengers, without them for me, we are not complete.
“Whether we are moving hundred tonnes of goods or not, it does not matter; I am already missing the interactions we have on daily basis,’’ he said.
The NRC boss, who noted that MTTS services remained the hope of many of the less privileged commuters, said that the new track, when completed, would also lower the accident rate.
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