For the launch of this Lagos light railway line to have a meaningful impact it needs to be backed up with a comprehensive rail masterplan

Ayo Akinfe

[1] As part of our clean energy strategy we need to move millions of people from road to rail, so to achieve this a railway network needs to be constructed across the country over the next 20 years linking all 36 states, employing no less than 10m people

[2] We need an industrial concern like Innoson Motors to float a Railway Equipment Manufacturing Company of Nigeria. This will take care of the manufacturing of carriages, tracks, signal boxes, locomotives, equipment, etc

[3] Lagos to Abuja will be linked by a Maglev bullet train running at a speed of about 500km per hour, enabling the journey to be made in under two hours. With time, this service will be extended to other major routes like Lagos-Kano, Lagos-Port Harcourt, Kano-Port Harcourt, Abuja-Calabar, etc

[4] High speed trains running at no less than 300km will connect all 36 state capitals to a national network

[5] Standard gauge regular rail services running at speeds of between 60km and 100km per hour will link state capitals with other towns and cities in the states. Nigeria's railway network is currently made up of 3,505 km of track. By 2035, we must increase this by 10-fold to 30,000km. We will also phase out the antiquated narrow gauge tracks by then

[6] The federal government will hold a 20% stake in the national railway service, inviting private sector partners to enter into joint ventures

[7] Currently, 90% of journeys in Nigeria are carried out by road. By 2035, this must be reduced to 40% by moving passengers on to trains

[8] All major industrial concerns being launched, like refineries, ports, mega churches, stadia, shopping malls, etc, will be compelled to add a railway link to their site

[9] Every urban centre with a population in excess of 2m people will be compelled by law to establish a light railway network at the very least

[10] A national travel card scheme will be launched, which will enable users to travel on state and federal coaches, buses, trains and marine transport. Also, all freight operators who move their goods on to rail and waterways will get a 20% discount over the next 10 years