Hundreds of passengers have been left stranded in the bush as a Kaduna – Abuja bound locomotive of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) broke down in Duste, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Monday.
The train which left the Rigasa Station at about 7am developed a mechanical fault few minutes later with reports saying that it took the NRC engineers three hours before they could fix the mechanical faults.
A passenger claimed that the train had initially stopped twice before it finally broke down in Dutse, Kaduna state some minutes past 7am.
The Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Midat Joseph, was reported as saying: “I left my house as early as 5:00am 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”.
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 6:00pm but we did not get to Kaduna until 11:00pm,” he lamented.
Quoting one of the engineers from the Rigasa station, Daily Trust was told that the Train Station in Idu in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has been contacted for another locomotive to be sent so that the passengers could be conveyed to their destination.
The engineer said, “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.”
It would be recalled that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had assured last year that locomotives on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route that have broken down up to two times will be returned to China.
“It is worrisome that these locomotives that are brand new are failing,” Amaechi said while inspecting NRC facilities in Lagos.
The Minister 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. Many passengers commuting between Abuja and Kaduna use the train because of the spate of insecurity, particularly kidnapping for ransom on that expressway.