Exciting news in rail infrastructure development! The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) proudly announces the successful completion of laying tracks on the Port Harcourt to Aba section of the eastern narrow gauge railway.
John Zhao, an official from CCECC, shared the achievement on X, stating, “New year, new progress! The track laying from Port Harcourt to Aba on the Nigeria Eastern Narrow-Gauge Railway project has been completed by #CCECC.”
This significant milestone was officially reported on the CCECC’s website on December 29, 2023. Fidet Okhiria, Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), had previously anticipated that the track laying on the Port Harcourt to Aba rail section would be finished in 15 days.
The journey toward revamping Nigeria’s rail network began in March 2021 when former President Muhammed Buhari flagged off the $3.2 billion Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge railway reconstruction project. According to Rotimi Amaechi, the former Minister of Transportation, this rail line will connect numerous states, including Rivers, Abia, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, and Borno.
In April 2023, the federal government officially commenced the reconstruction of the eastern rail line, with a focus on the Port Harcourt-Enugu section as the initial target. However, the progress faced challenges, and in September 2023, the federal government expressed concerns about the slow pace of reconstruction.
It’s important to note that opinions on the reconstruction of the eastern rail line, particularly as a narrow gauge, have been varied. Some stakeholders have advocated for a standard gauge, sparking debates within the community. Nevertheless, this completion of track laying represents a significant step forward in enhancing rail connectivity in the region.