"We have a 25-year strategic vision for the development of the Nigerian railway," said Nigeria's transport minister Mr Idris Umar at a ceremony on December 1 to mark the completion of track laying. "It is our intention that every state in the country will be connected to rail."

The $US 850m project has been implemented by China Railway Construction Corporation, and is the second line of Nigeria's new standard-gauge network to be built. The line has nine stations, a design speed of 150km/h, and connects with the existing 1067mm-gauge network at Kaduna.