Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s commitment to traffic management and mass transportation in Lagos State got a push yesterday.
The governor sealed a pact for the acquisition of two sets of 10-car speed trains for the Lagos Red Line rail project. The trains run at 330km/ph.
The pact was concluded at a public event inside the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo Incorporated in the United States (U.S.).
Sanwo-Olu was accompanied by Transportation Commissioner Dr. Frederic Oladeinde; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Aramide Adeyoye and Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Abimbola Akinajo,
A statement by Sanwo-Olu’s Chief Press Secretary Gboyega Akosile said the trains would be heading to Lagos for the operation of the 37 km track rail project initiated by the state government.
The red line will have 11 stations and when completed, it will be the first operational metro system in West Africa.
Speaking at the event, the governor said his government was excited to conclude acquisition of the two new trains.
According to him, he and his team were in Milwaukee to assess the trains, adding that they have seen their configuration and certified that they fit into the tracks of the Red line in Lagos.
The statement reads: “A train is not something you can just go on the shelf and pick up. We are very lucky to get brand new trains. We have seen our beautiful white and red trains. Coincidentally, the rail line is called Red Line and you can see they have given us the colour. We are just going to brand it and put up our seal there.
“We hope that this (purchase of the trains) will be the beginning of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Providing source of livelihood for our citizens is all about providing jobs for our people and that is what we are doing. It is about ensuring that we can build our economy; people can move from one location to another and businesses can grow.
“Part of what we have done in the last two and half years is to have what we call Integrated Urban Mass transportation system, where we will be using road infrastructure, waterway infrastructure and rail infrastructure so that we can move over 20 million Lagosians within and around the city.”
Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, who received the Lagos entourage said: “It is a little bittersweet. I am sending my congratulations to the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, but also a little disappointed that we missed out on the opportunity to have those train sets operating here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/President, Talgo USA Antonio Perez, said: “For us, it is important that our trains are utilised. It doesn’t make any good for the trains that we built to be stored and kept without passengers riding them.”
Since the commencement of his administration on May 29, 2019, Governor Sanwo-Olu has maintained his administration’s commitment to bringing the Red Line project to fruition during the lifetime of his government.
The governor promised Lagosians that the first phase of the Red Line will begin operational by the last quarter of 2022 or first quarter of 2023, with a capacity of 500,000 passengers daily.