By Ezra Odogu
Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday visited the headquarters of China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation in Dalian, China to conclude transactional conversations with the top management of the company, on the purchase of rolling stock for the Blue and Red rail lines in the State.
Governor Sanwo-Olu during the meeting expressed his government’s commitment to reducing the traffic congestion in Lagos in line with the Traffic Management and Transportation, which is the first pillar of the THEMES+ developmental agenda.
The Governor charged the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, who delivered those of the Blue Line train to deliver additional rolling stock for the Red and Blue lines before the end of the year.
The company in their response to the Governor’s request assured that the additional rolling stock, which the Lagos State Government procured from China for the Blue and Red lines would be delivered in December.
They also expressed their commitment to continuous partnership and relationship with the Lagos State government in rail transportation.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who is currently in China with some top government officials on a working visit, said Lagos will ensure the deployment of modern technology in infrastructural development.
He said: “We are at the Dalian train manufacturing plant. They are manufacturers of the existing Blue Line trains. We have also come here to order new rolling stock for both the Red Line and additional rolling stock for the Blue Line.
“It is a very impressive facility. They have been in this business for over 100 years. And they are indeed one of the foremost and known train coaches manufacturers in the world. As you can see, these are all finished products that have been done for other cities. And I am sure, like you have seen the red ones, the ones for Lagos too, will be on this track very soon.
“We are indeed excited that we are also bringing the technology back to us in Lagos. They have agreed with us, and given the number of rolling stock we are procuring, there is a need for us to have a joint maintenance conversation. And we have seen that indeed, when we collaborate like this, we are not just doing procurement, we are actually doing knowledge and skill transfer. Lagos still expects a whole lot more.
“A train is not something you just buy off the shelf. We were not as lucky as when we were in Milwaukee, which was produced for a particular city, but we had to just pay the premium and take it off. It usually takes between two to three years for you to finish the manufacturing because each one of them has its specifications, the platform and the load that you require.
“They have done the Blue line before. So, in less than a year, we are going to still have a tough discussion with them. Before the end of the year, we are expecting that some of the rolling stock will start coming in. And the final bid should come in early next year. We are ready for them. This is the best we can get in terms of delivery time.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that President Bola Tinubu will flag off the Red Line in last week of February based on expectations from the President.
He said: “We are ready for the flag off of the Red Line. We are waiting for Mr. President. The President is still promising us this month February for us to formally flag it off. We have started doing a lot of testing.
“We have some rolling stocks already. We have started doing some bit of testing and if the President is able to check his calendar and give us last week in February, we are waiting for him. And thereafter, we would probably cross the ‘t’ and dot the ‘i’ to ensure that we have enough safety to begin to carry passengers.”