The N382.5billion ($1.53billion) Lagos-Ibadan double track railway line modernisation project has suffered a setback.
The 180kilometres project which was scheduled for completion in 2016 is far from finishing point since 2012, despite the amount released for the project.
The contract, which was awarded to Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company Nigeria Limited, is expected to be funded with $1billion of the China Export and Import Bank loan with the Federal Government footing the balance of $500million.
Investigation revealed that no serious job had been done ever since the Federal Government approved money for the project.
Already, the existing rail lines are not viable to accommodate the new locomotive engines which have the capacity of 150 kilometres per hour speed to use the tracks.
A source at the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) noted that the trains could hardly make 70 kilometres per hour on the existing tracks.
The source noted: “The contract was awarded to the company in August 2012 to deliver the project within four years. Assuming that the project has been completed, the locomotive engine on ground has the capacity to pull 40 feet container goods at once if the tracks are good. The existing one could only pull 12 forty feet containers at once.
“No good communication network, train which derailed stayed for weeks in the bush before being rescued.
“There were appropriations of N13billion for Lagos-Ibadan railway standard guage projects in the budgets of 2012, 2013 and 2014 but only the railway management can tell us why the project has not started. But where is the money.”
Meanwhile, the Minister Of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said the Lagos-Ibadan segment of Lagos-Kano rail and the Port Harcourt –Calabar lines will be ready in 2018,
It was learnt that the rail lines will move thousands of passengers across the affected cities as part of efforts to reduce the current pressure on road infrastructure with consequential accidents and loss of lives.