The Abuja-Kaduna rail line is one of the first Standard Gauge Railway Modernisation Projects (SGRMP) undertaken in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. The standard gauge line will connect Nigeria’s federal capital Abuja with its commercial capital Kaduna, enabling faster movement of goods and people between the two cities.
The construction of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line started in February 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2014.
China Civil and Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), which is constructing the Lagos Rail Mass Transit System in Nigeria, is building the line for the Nigerian Federal Government.The project currently employs approximately 4,000 Nigerians and will create more than 5,000 operation and maintenance jobs upon completion.
Nigeria’s Standard Gauge Railway Modernisation Projects
The railway modernisation initiative in Nigeria aims at replacing the existing narrow gauge system with the wider standard gauge system, while allowing high-speed train operations on the railway network.The $8.3bn contract for the Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project awarded to CCECC in 2006 marked the beginning of the initiative.The project, however, couldn’t be implemented due to funding problems. It was later re-scoped into different stand-alone segments and the existing 1,124km narrow gauge Lagos-Kano line was rehabilitated.
Abuja-Kaduna is the first segment to be implemented as part of Lagos-Kano standard gauge project.The next segment to undergo standard-gauge upgradation is the 312km-long Lagos-Ibadan rail line, which is a double-track standard-gauge line scheduled for completion in 2016. A $1.53bn contract was awarded to CCECC in August 2012 to deliver the project within four years.The other standard gauge line projects in the pipeline in Nigeria include the Lagos-Benin City (300km), Benin-Abakiliki (500km), Benin Obudu Cattle Ranch (673km), Lagos-Abuja high speed (615km), Zaria-Birnin Koni (520km), and the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line (1,657km).The public-private partnership (PPP) strategy is being explored to develop these standard gauge lines.
Details of Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line
Abuja-Kaduna will be a 186km line with standard gauge railway tracks starting from Idu, located near the capital city Abuja, to Kaduna city in the north-western region of Nigeria. The line will have nine stations and will feature both passenger and cargo trains.The passenger trains on the line can operate at a speed of 200kmph to 250kmph. The travel time between Abuja and Kaduna can be reduced to one hour and each passenger train can carry up to 5,000 commuters.
The cargo trains, carrying 800t of goods, will take one and half hour to travel between the two cities.
Financing for Abuja-Kaduna Rail Project
The Abuja-Kaduna rail project is estimated to cost $874m. China’s EXIM bank is providing $500m as a concessionary loan for the project. The remaining is being provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Construction of Abuja-Kaduna line
The Abuja-Kaduna rail project was finalised in 2009. The contract for constructing the new line was awarded in December 2010. Track laying for the single standard gauge line was officially launched in July 2013.The rail line construction was 68%complete as of July 2013 with the earthwork and hydraulic structures for the project 92% and 87% complete respectively.The rail line involves the construction of 30 railway bridges including five box bridges. The bridges are being built using precast T-beams.By mid-2013, 187 out of the total 348 precast T-beams were produced and 52 of these were successfully installed. Each T-beam is 2.5m in height and 120t in weight.