Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, said on Wednesday that the Federal Government has started receiving expression of interests from private firms within and outside the country that wish to partner with it on the operation of a speed train project from Abuja to Lagos.
Umar who said the speed trains would cover the journey in a maximum period of three hours, also disclosed that the Abuja-Kaduna rail project would commence full operation next month.
He stated this in Abuja at the Public presentation of a book, “Showcasing Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Monumental Strides: A Third Party Perspective” written by the Director-General of Citizens Network For Peace and Development in Nigeria, Mr. Dressmann Preye.
Umar explained that the federal government had carried out a number of feasibility studies with the aim of constructing more standard gauge lines across the country and had successfully completed studies in seven new corridors including the Abuja-Lagos high speed train.
He said, “The consultants who carried out the feasibility studies have submitted their reports. Part of the report contains the involvement of the private sector to drive the project. This is because we want to develop these lines under public, private partnership arrangements.
“We have already, received a lot of expression of interests even ahead of advertisement for the purpose from various companies in the country and indeed, in other countries of the World.
“The idea is that, if we have this in place, the trains can move from Abuja to Lagos, and from Lagos to Abuja in a maximum of three hours. We are intending to compete favourably with the other transportation system in carrying passengers from Abuja to Lagos.
“When fully actualised, a train will leave Abuja to Lagos and Lagos to Abuja, every hour. The feasibility studies had been completed, it is not a question of story. The trains will start running within the next three years, say by 2018.”
The minister explained that, the federal government had completed the rehabilitation of the Western rail lines under its revivalist strategy in the rail transport sector.
He also added that the Jonathan administration was working towards the completion of the eastern line.