The Lagos State Government has signed a major agreement with an experienced international railway systems aggregator and rolling stocks manufacturer, Alstom SA of France on the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) project as part of efforts to rev up the multi-modal transport system in the State.
Following a comprehensive review of the rail project, which ought to have commenced passenger operation but had been hindered by unforeseen third party issues and other challenges, the State Government said the Marina to Mile 2 section of the project known as the Blue Line Rail, would now be ready for passenger operation by 2022.
The State Government had engaged consultants to carry out a technical review and due diligence on the implementation of the project, which substantially had focused on civil works, and reported back to government that operation of the first phase may only commence in 2022.
Alstom SA France, a foreign firm with over 100 years of railway experience covering 60 countries, was subsequently engaged to review the report of the consultants, while the firm in its report agreed that the first phase of the rail project could only become operational in 2022 based on proposed funding pattern.
Speaking at the signing of the agreement with Alstom SA, Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mr. Abiodun Dabiri, who signed on behalf of the State Government, said the partnership was the result of the commitment of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode towards the transformation of public transportation in the State.
He said a consortium of experts engaged by the State Government to undertake a technical due diligence on the LRMT Blue Line Project (Mile 2 – Marina) had developed a roadmap which was accepted by the State Government to bring the railway project to passenger operations.
The consortium, according to Dabiri, in a final report, outlined their findings and proposed a roadmap to complete the civil infrastructure works and the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) infrastructure that will be needed for the commencement of passenger operation.
According to him, “Based on the final report submitted, the consortium of Alstom Transport SA France has been engaged for the procurement, engineering, construction, installation of Operation & Maintenance (O&M) moveable infrastructure and commissioning of railway systems towards the commencement of passenger operations for LRMT Blue Line project from Marina to Mile 2.”
While highlighting the extent of works to be carried out by Alstom SA, Dabiri said for ease of implementation, the work plan had been divided into two phases, with phase one aimed at demonstrating the non-public operation of the existing rolling stock before end of second quarter of 2019.
“For this purpose, a track length of about 3.0 km from Iganmu Station to National Theatre will be electrified. This operation would be done with the rolling stocks already supplied for the Blue Line project.
“This phase would allow the completion of all the preliminary works that would lead to the financing of the main works in Phase two. Phase one will be fully financed by Lagos State Government through Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“Phase two, which is expected to be completed in 39 months, would entail the provision and installation of railway operations’ systems for the project from Marina to Mile 2 and the delivery of a passenger-ready Lagos Blue Rail Line by 2022,” he said.
Dabiri further said that the current efforts of Governor Ambode’s administration on the rail project was to bring to fruition the State Government’s commitment to deliver a multi-modal transport system and transform the State’s public transportation landscape with the view to moving it closer to the achievement of the first integrated and multi-modal transport system in Nigeria.
The LAMATA boss specifically appealed to businesses and Lagosians to trust the Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration to bring the Blue Rail Line to passenger operation by paying their taxes since the rail project is solely financed by the State Government through its IGR.
“We had highlighted earlier that what we are doing currently to bring the rail project to passenger operation would be funded through IGR. This is your project; it is designed to ease the movement of Lagosians, it is designed to improve and increase our competitiveness in the comity of smart cities, it is designed to improve our lifestyle and regenerate our environment. Let us support it,” Dabiri said.
Responding, Mr. Guy Jean-Pierre, a Director of Alstom SA, thanked the State Government for the confidence reposed in the firm and the opportunity given to partner with the State on the Blue Line Rail project.
He assured that Alstom would work to ensure the delivery of the Blue Line to passenger operation by bringing on board required expertise and experience in rail system management.