Vibrant rail system, is key to optimal economic growth- Gusau

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…As Britain set to phase out diesel engine trains by 2040***

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Director of Administration and Human Resources, Dr Aminu Gusau, has highlighted that a vibrant and efficient rail system will lead to the nation’s optimal economic growth and development.

He made the remark in an interview shortly after monitoring the ongoing training of newly recruited workers at NRC Training School, Zaria, Kaduna State.

“It is inarguably clear that you cannot achieve maximum economic development in any country without understanding and realising the importance of a vibrant and efficient rail system”, Gusau stated, describing as a noteworthy revolution, the ongoing development in the rail sector.

“This is what the present administration understands and that’s why the minister and the federal government are working hard to transform the sector.

“And to be very honest with you, in my capacity as the Director of Administration and Human Resources, what is happening in the rail sector can neither be quantified nor can it be over-emphasised.

“The federal government is actually doing a lot to realise the dream, I must therefore appreciate the Minister of Transport, Chief Rotimi Amaechi for his active role in that direction,” he said.

He said what is currently happening in the rail sector toady is a revolution in the entire system, adding that that was why they want to make sure that newly recruited workers were not sent out with empty brain.

“You can only do something you understand, you can’t do something you don’t know and that’s why we are giving them the best training you can think of.

“This will enable them become better professionals to be able to achieve that quest for the federal government towards realising a vibrant and efficient rail system in Nigeria,” Gusau said.

On standard gauge rail system, the director said the project was going on very fast, assuring that very soon Itakpe-Warri would take-off by June/July.

“This is basically what the minister has been working very well for, we already have Abuja-Kaduna functioning and government is working on Kano-Kaduna.

“Very soon, Itkpe-Warri will start working and by first quarter of next year, Lagos-Ibadan will be operational by the grace of Almighty Allah.

“Government is planning to make sure that there is solid connectivity between all major cities in the country and this is just the beginning.

“There is no doubt, revolution had started in the rail sector and the way it is going, we are really hopeful that by God’s grace we will really achieve the objective,” he said.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Jo Johnson on Monday announced ambitious plans for a green revolution on Britain’s rail network by phasing out polluting diesel engine trains.

In a keynote speech at the British Museum, Johnson, who is also minister for London, set 2040 as the ambitious goal for the end of diesel trains.

“If that seems like an ambitious goal, I make no apology for that.

“We’re committed to ending sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

“Why can’t the railway aspire to a similar objective?’’ he said.

Johnson said the average speed of vehicles in the center of London was now only 12.8 km/ph during the day and if it carried on declining, before long it would reach the walking pace of a horse.

“Meanwhile, polluting rail emissions have increased by 33 per cent since 1990,’’ he said.

He said that he wanted to see batteried-powered trains between the electric sections of the network.

He added that maybe in the future they could see those batteries and diesel engines replaced with hydrogen units.

Johnson said he wanted to see hydrogen train trials on Britain’s railway network as soon as possible.

“Hydrogen offers an affordable, and potentially much cleaner, alternative to diesel, so the next generation of trains is just around the corner,’’ he added.

In a strong message, Johnson said to the rail industry to speed their journey towards a zero-carbon railway.

“The government is investing record amounts in public R&D to improve our knowledge base.

“So today I am calling on the railway to provide a vision for how it will de-carbonise and I expect the industry to report back by the autumn,’’ Johnson said.