When I was a youth corper (I was the adventuroustype), I had occasion to travel from my station in Sagamu, Ogun State to the North for a software development project I was undertaking. I had never travelled by rail before and this time I decided to go by rail – mostly for the fun and adventure. As part of the preliminary arrangements, I traveled to Abeokuta the State Capital and found my where to the main train terminal to get all necessary information that I needed for my rail trip then I returned to my station the same day.
On the day of my trip, packed my bag and set out looking forward to the fun. I got to the terminal at about 11am early enough to familiarize more with the environment before boarding at 12noon. I was in my youth corper gear for necessary esprit de corps on the way.
At 2pm, 4pm, 5:30pm, the train did not come. It finally arrived at about 6pm. To me, it was part of the adventure. After all the loading, reloading and boarding, we departed at about 8pm. The journey proceeded well until about 12 midnight. The train was on top speed through a forest/village close to Ibadan. Suddenly there was a big bang. Our train had hit a trailer fully loaded with drinks crossing the railway. Presumably for fright, the trailer driver, on seeing an upcoming train on top speed, left the trailer on the rail and fled. Our train cleared the trailer into the bush and passed on. It was only able to come to a halt after about 1km.
There was not very much injury as the train did not derail except for some cuts from flying pieces of broken window glasses. The train engine was damaged and could not continue the journey. We stayed in the train till daybreak. Another train engine was eventually brought to couple and our journey resumed at about 3pm. I arrived at my destination the third day. Great adventure, don’t you think? Well, that used to be the experience of rail journey.
In the few years of President Goodluck Jonathan, there has been a lot of transformation in rail transportation. Rail now is becoming the popular mode of transportation. Warri to Ajaokuta is completed and ready for use; Lagos – Kano route now runs daily train services; Abuja Light rail is to be commissioned in August, 2014; Port Harcourt – Maiduguri train service is starting end of January, 2014. It’s a great time to travel by rail. Check out this Lagos to Minna fares:
2nd Class: N1,280; 1st Class: N1,910; Executive (A/C sleeper): N3,300.
Let the Transformation Continue.