SUNDAY ONEN -There are so many negative attributes to the Nigerian railway system, in spite of that, there is another that gives it hope. As against the old reviews, I think my trip is about to become a great tourism experience.
The Nigerian railway corporation established first in 1898 by the British government as at today October 20th 2017 has few stations in operation and the most functional Passenger trains – Train Kano Limited (KL), Train LL (Lagos Limited) and the AK (Abuja, Kaduna) KA (Kaduna, Abuja).
Embarking on a train trip across Nigeria is a dream and I am so glad it is coming through. On the 26th of September I decided to explore the Nigerian rail system, travel by train to 8 cities across Nigeria in 14 days and exploring each cities. The major aim of the project is to create awareness of this means of transportation that has been abandoned, by Nigerians, travel enthusiasts and even the government in so many parts of the country and to encourage those in authority to Foster the growth of the railway system not only to a few state but to many if not all and also to encourage tour operators to package tours with rail in mind.
On the 26th of September, I packed my bags, picked my basic necessities and off I headed to Iddo train station Lagos to return in 14 days!
Starting from Lagos to Ibadan a 4 hours journey, then to Osogbo and boarding 1KL (Kano Limited) at Osogbo train station which was a terrible experience. First, a 26 hours wait before the arrival of the train.
More terrible is the several breakdown on the way to Kaduna, to cut a long story short we spent 5 days on the road for a supposedly 610 kilometers journey, shocking right?
After that experience I expected nothing better until I boarded Train KA 2 (Kaduna – Abuja) which happened to be on day 10 of my trip across Nigeria by Train. The Abuja Train station was Facilitated under the leadership of President Good luck Ebele Jonathan.
Train KA pickup station located at Rigasa Kaduna is a definition of perfection, The train comprises of 6 Coaches with a capacity of 320 people. First class with 56 seaters and second class 88 seaters.
Here is a little information about Train AK and KA. Ak moves 2 times every day between 7am – 6pm .First train 7am from Abuja Second Train 2pm also from Abuja. Then in Kaduna 10.40am and 6.00pm, that is from Monday – Saturday. Then on Sunday, it moves usually from 12.30pm from Abuja and then 4pm from Kaduna.
Train KA stops at the following locations starting from Rigasa to Kakau, then Dutse to Rijana to Gidan and then Jere, next is Asham, Kubwa and finally arrivals the Abuja train terminus Idu. While Train AK has the same stops but in reversal Idu – Kubwa – Asham – Jere – Gidam – Rijana – Dutse – Kakau – Rigasa.
They are so many reasons, that as a Nigerian you should be proud of this train!
I arrived Kaduna train station at exactly 9.30am the train departure scheduled for 10.40am, ticket was been sold on arrival and at exactly 10.00 boarding began and at 10.30 I was in the train and the train was moving! Wow!! I couldn’t believe it. Am I in Nigeria?? There was nothing as African time, judging from, my previous experience with Train KL (Kano Limited) I almost asked the person next to me “is this Nigeria?”
As the train progressed, I heard “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for boarding Train 2KA, we will be dropping at the stations in five minutes, tighten your seat belt and enjoy your trip” I was like wow!! After my experience with 1KL (Kano Limited, Lagoto Kano Rout) I never believed there could be a better train system.
Adding more to the punctuality, we arrived Abuja at exactly 12.30.
I remembered while in the train the hostesses passing occasionally and attending to passengers’ dilligently and politely. Never have I seen or experienced such professionalism In any train station in Nigeria.
As against the old reviews, I think my trip is about to become as amazing as I have imagined initially.
Train AK – KA is mordern, customer service I would rate as 100% neatness 100% facilities 100%. We boarded a second class coach and the second class coach here has the complete feature of the first class coach of 1KL (Kano Limited) (Air conditioner, neatness, good space, great service).
Fascinated is the word!
Why am I so surprised at Train AK and KA? It is the complete opposite of 1KL Kano Limited, from my experience, tight security, and punctuality, organized and fast. To break that down, why board KA or Ak train route? If you don’t have a private car or maybe you are very lackadaisical about driving or maybe you need a cheaper means of transportation in luxury and comfort, this train is the best bet, be sure to arrive Abuja from Kaduna in 2 hours or even less.
The station is an ultramodern with the most amazing overhead bridge ever seen in any train station in Nigeria. I personally document the overhead bridges of every train station and that of Abuja train happens to be the best, it is massive and impeccable.
What does it cost to ride on this amazing train? For as low as N1,050 you can cruise in the second class coach, with AC and with N1500 ride in the more comfortable first class coach.
My wishes? To have train stations with the capacity of KA and Ak and the stations extended to all other states.
So, this is a call to those in authority to finish the good work.
For the main time, kudos on the job at Abuja and Rigasa (Kaduna) train station