Construction of the double-track line began in 2017. The line runs from the Port of Lagos, the country’s biggest population centre and economic hub, to Ibadan, the regional capital of Oyo.

A trial service on October 14, conducted with passengers onboard, achieved an end-to-end journey time of 2h 40min. However, journey times are expected to be cut to two hours following the inauguration of full services on the line.

Tracklaying was completed on March 28 and delivery of rolling stock from CRRC Tangshan was completed in May with a view to opening the line at the end of that month, but this was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The line is intended to reduce traffic on the heavily congested Lagos - Ibadan highway, which is currently the main link between the two cities.

NR will initially offer a daily return passenger service on the line, which will depart Ibadan at 08.00, and Lagos at 16.00, with tickets on sale for between Naira 3000 ($US 7.56) and Naira 6000.

Services will be operated using part of a fleet of 21 locomotives supplied by CRRC Quishuyan under a 2019 contract awarded by the line’s project manager, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). Delivery of the new fleet was completed on July 10.

The line will also employ a fleet of 60 class 25T passenger coaches, manufactured by CRRC Tangshan under a contract awarded in April 2019.

The project was funded primarily through a Naira 408bn loan approved by the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) in January, alongside counterpart funding worth Naira 72bn provided by the Nigerian government.

The line is part of a planned $US 11.1bn, 2733km Lagos - Kano standard-gauge north-south railway. The first 186.5km section of the project, between Abuja and Kaduna, opened in July 2016. CCECC is constructing the line under a $US 8.3bn contract awarded in 2006.

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