FG gives reasons for constructing narrow gauge on Eastern rail

The Federal Government on Sunday explained why it was constructing a narrow gauge railway on the Eastern rail line as opposed to the clamour for a standard gauge line.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, gave the explanation in a statement issued by his media aide, Taiye Edeni.

He said the standard gauge line was going to cost about $11bn to $14bn to construct, whereas it would cost $3bn to construct a narrow gauge, as he noted that getting funds was also tough this period.

The minister was quoted as saying, “The standard gauge line is between $11bn to $14bn to construct on the Eastern flag. The standard gauge as designed in Nigeria is 150km in terms of speed, operational speed is 120km.

“What is the difference between 120km and 100km? The narrow gauge is about $3.2bn dollars at 100km per hour.”

He added, “The narrow gauge is cheaper at $3bn against the $11bn to $14bn standard gauge. And why we did not get the approval for the narrow gauge on time was because the President insisted on the standard gauge from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

“My argument was, if I can achieve the same length of rail with $3bn why not take that first until when we get money, we can now go for the standard gauge.?

Similarly, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhria, said the narrow gauge line was not outdated or less efficient and insisted that there should not be a comparison between both lines.

Pix: Eastern rail line