The Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated train operation on the Port Harcourt-Aba rail line for use by members of the public with four days free ride.

The Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, inaugurated services on the 62-kilometre Port Harcourt-Aba corridor at the railway station in Port Harcourt.

Alkali said the ceremony was part of the intensified drive by the Federal Government to facilitate trade, enhance mobility, and accessibility and ensure connectivity between the southern parts of the country and the North-East.

He said the rehabilitation project was awarded by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to Messrs China Civil Engineering and Construction Company with a completion timeline of 36 months.

Alkali stated, “Due to several technical and contractual issues, the project commenced in March 2022.

“It is worthy to note that the scope of the project covers the rehabilitation of the existing narrow gauge railway line, construction of new modern stations, and procurement of new modern rolling stock.

“This railway line will also link the ports of Onne, Bonny, and Port-Harcourt to facilitate the evacuation of goods and sundry freight through the Eastern corridor.

“The Federal Government in the contractual agreement is to provide 15 per cent of direct construction cost inclusive of land acquisition and Value Added Tax, while a bank loan through direct construction cost is to cover 85 per cent of the project.”


He said the commencement of operations along the section would boost economic activities between the South-South and South-East regions of the country.

“With the completion of the rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt to Aba rail corridor, the ministry will continue to vigorously drive Messrs CCECC towards the speedy completion and delivery of the 181 kilometres Aba-Enugu stretch.

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“The commencement of operations on this stretch of the project aligns with Priority 5 of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Presidential Priority Areas which identifies Enhanced Infrastructure and Transportation as Enablers of Growth to the economy.”

The minister and his entourage, as well as some members of the public, boarded the train for a ride to Aba, Abia State.

Our correspondent who was at the event reports that there will be four four-day free train ride between Port-Harcourt and Aba. The free ride is scheduled to hold from May 1 to May 4.

Also, the train will be departing Port-Harcourt every day by 8am for Aba and will be departing Aba every day for Port-Harcourt by 3pm, while full commercial operations will resume on May 7, 2024.