The very first train ride from Lagos to Ibadan was taken in the early 1900s by the British government ruling in today’s southern Nigeria at the time.
By 1964, the rail lines had transported 11,288,000 passengers and 2,960,000 tonnes of freight in a year, employing about 45,000 people, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
By 2003, these rail lines had fallen to its worst state since independence, leaving thousands jobless, and making roads suffer. The Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari administrations have since begun the resuscitation process for the rail lines, with an actual (free) commercial travel happening for the first time on the Lagos-Ibadan route in nearly 20 years.
TheCable took a trip on the new Lagos-Ibadan trains and shares some sights from the trip. Enjoy.
Tricycles hide the rail track at Iju, Lagos.
Behind the tricycles, you see the rail tracks at Iju, Lagos
The Train is operated by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Ltd (CCECC)
Here is what the current free tickets look like. It’s actually free — not like Police’s “bail is free”. First come, first served.
You can always count on journalists to come through.
This is how tickets are given and details are written down. Nothing electronic yet.
Ibadan by Cattle: Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, once said Abuja-Kaduna trains can’t go as fast as 150km/h because he doesn’t want to kill cattle. Ditto Lagos-Ibadan
The train station at Iju is as old as Nigeria itself — it was built by the British goverment.
There were four security agents on the train, including this AK-47 wielding police officer.
Soldiers of Safety: Very friendly officers on the train.
The interior: The chairs can be turned 180 degrees.
Nigerians wanted Odunlade Adekola, but all they could get were highlights of American 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film, Frozen.
Create your own happiness: Charging ports on one of the coached worked perfectly, the other coach didn’t work at all.
Mama no go carry last
Still operated by CCECC officials, and communication with Nigerians is done with the help of an interpreter.
Toilets are as clean as those who use them
Disappointed: Passenger arrives at Ologuneru to board a train to Lagos with some housewares, but he came a little too late. It was only 8am, but tickets were “sold out”.
To get a 9am train from Ibadan to Lagos, you must arrive before the sun rises fully.
The train station at Ologuneru, Ibadan, is just a makeshift one with aluminum sheets and a few metal rods
Stations are currently under construction from Kajola to Moniya
You may read the full reporter’s diary about the trip here.
All pictures by Mayowa Tijani for TheCable
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