Authorities at the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) are to adopt proactive measures across the country to prevent cases of rail tracks impairments that may obstruct its operational efficiency.
Niyi Alli, Director of Operations, Nigerian Railway Corporation, who spoke on behalf of Fidet Okhira, Managing Director, while briefing newsmen at the corporate headquarters in Lagos said that, moving forward, adequate measures will be put in place to avoid the unfortunate incident that paralyzed the Lagos-Kano train movement which led to loss of revenue.
The NRC official stated that the railway authorities are working had to ensure regular patrol of the tracks, adding even if a disaster like that happens, collision or train being involved will not be possible and the direct impact will not be severe.
He disclosed that the resumption of services followed a thorough over haul of the distressed portion of the rail line, adding that, it is the intention of NRC to sustain its services to the traveling public while at the same time building capacity.
He regretted the protracted delay in fixing the failed portion of the rail tracks as quickly as expected, attributing the cause to the continuous rain that delayed the repairs which impacted on scheduled train services.
In his words, ‘’ We have put in place, what we call wet season control that look out for wash out areas from time to time’’. So these are the steps that we are taking and obviously we are looking at other wash out areas or potential wash out areas where there may be a risk of any rain falling and impacting on our tracks. We are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that those things are minimized in our train service’’.
Reacting on the neglect of the normal inspection of railway lines where periodic checks are carried out as a precautionary measure and the amount of revenue lost to the six of non-operation of train services, Niyi disclosed that obviously, there was a financial impact as a result of suspension of operations within the six weeks period.
The director of operations regretted that, the incident is unfortunate in terms of revenue loss and profit lost within that period, stressing that at the same time, operating cost within that period was reduced because of no train movement.
‘’But that is not the ideal situation and not where we want to operate. There were a number of reasons why there was delays that delayed fixing the troubled areas, and one of it was the continuous rain even when the repair works was on-going.
We adopted what is called wet season patrol during which period, we try to ensure that, if there is impact as a result of rainfall, we will strive to ensure that, the impact is minimized by preventing trains from entering into that portion until the problem is fixed.
On revenue lost as a result of halt in train services, he said that NRC is stilling collating the figures, we know how much we projected to earn and the numbers are not very encouraging to have lost what we lost.
On how the incident affected NRC revenue generation, Niyi Alli revealed that the closure of parts of the access road leading into Apapa port over the ongoing road repairs provided the NRC the opportunity to convey containerised out of the sea port to Ebute Metta Junction (EBJ) for onward delivery to the owners.
‘’Even though we did not the usual trips from Lagos to Kano as a result of the rail collapse, the loss was covered by the few number of trips NRC made conveying goods from Apapa port to EBJ’’. He noted.