For the umpteenth time, hundreds of passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train service were again stranded in the bush after the train developed a fault minutes after leaving Rigasa station in Kaduna state.
A passenger claimed that the train had initially stopped twice before it finally broke down in Dutse, Kaduna state around 7am.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Fidelis Okhiria who confirmed the incident to the Guardian said the train broke down as a result of engine failure but said a relief engine has taken over.
The MD in a text said “Engine failure, but a relief engine has taking over.”
The Minister of Transportation engine Rotimi Amaechi last year had assured that locomotives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route that have broken down up to two times will be returned to China.
He said, “It is worrisome that these locomotives that are brand new are failing,” Amaechi said during an inspection in Lagos.
He explained that the locomotives have a warranty that covers them for over four years, adding that the government was considering returning them to China.
However, passengers have continued to lament the rigours of travelling on the route as breakdowns of the locomotive leave them stranded for hours.
A passenger lamented “I left my house as early as 5:am to join the 6:40 am train but unfortunately I have been trapped here in this forest. This is not the first time I will be experiencing this mess,” he said.
Another passenger said he had a similar experience on Saturday, saying they spent five hours to get to Abuja.
“This is unfortunate. On Saturday, we spent five hours from Abuja to Kaduna. We left Abuja at 6:pm but we did not get to Kaduna until 11:pm,” he said.
An NRC engineer, who addressed the passengers, told them that it would take them two hours to fix the train.
“We are very sorry, the locomotive is faulty. We have contacted the Idu Train Station for another locomotive. It would take them two hours to be here,” he said.