Across Nigeria by train: An adventurer’s review

by Jubilian Ngaruwa

 

26th September was the day I started my 14 days marathon of travelling across the country  by train.

In spite of the negative comments, discouraging reviews about the Nigerian Railway system which after my experience I could attest were right, the tremendous attempt of discouragement from friends close and distant.

I still insisted on carrying on with the trip, after all, we only get to live ones.

The idea was to explore the train system, from all aspects, the goods train, the passenger’s train, and face whatsoever demons come my way.

In the course of the trip, I discovered what could be regarded as bad in Nigerian train system could be REALLY BAD! Starting from the cancellation of the train movement from Lagos to Ilorin on Tuesday the 26th of September to the terrifying experience at the Osogbo train station alongside spending days including Nigerian anniversary in the thick forest of Niger state.

Every stop was horrific till the life changer – A trip from Rigasa, Kaduna – Idu, Abuja, I call that a ‘Miracle Train’  According to one of my lovelies on social media ‘it was worth all the sleepovers on the road to Kaduna’ read the story on this here.

The Nigerian railway corporation as at today October 14, 2017, has few stations in operation Train Kano Limited, Train LL (Lagos Limited) and the AK (Abuja, Kaduna) KA (Kaduna, Abuja). They are also different types of trains Passenger trains, good train (coupon wagon and closed wagon).

The passenger train which is the bone of contention as it moves from district to districts.  The Lagos Train Terminus located at Ido, a bus from the Lagos railway corporation located at Ebutemeta moves only on the following dates to different states Tuesdays 9am and Fridays departs Lagos 12PM to the following destinations

Ibadan

Illorin

Minna

Kaduna

Zaria

Kano

The Lagos KL moves on a standard guage with first class and second class coaches, 16 Coaches altogether and a capacity of 1,500 people! A lot right? No wonder the constant breakdown.

For intrastate movement, the Lagos train passes the following routes daily and time. 

Ijoko – Iddo 6.30am at the cost of    N750

Kajola – Iddo 6.30am at the cost of N750

 Iddo – Ijoko 5.30pm at         N750

 Apapa – Kajola 7.00pm at   N750

 Iddo – Idoko 1.00pm at        N300

 The Lagos train station has the following hotels for passengers who do not reside in Lagos to quickly find a place to rest.

Lakeem Suite                      N11,000

Federal Palace hotel          N50,000

Deke hotels                             N5,500

Derigg Palace                         N13000

Haile Salessies Suite            N7,500

Southern Sun Ikoyi              N45,000

Although not affordable for the class of people who board the Lagos train as at now, it is however advised to consider other far away hotels on the mainland.

Not commendable is the fact that Lagos Iddo station isn’t well maintained, they are many vagabonds and beggars roaming about, which makes the station unsafe even for passengers awaiting the arrival of a train.

The Abuja train to Kaduna and from Rigasa to Idu Abuja is very much modernized, organised and punctual with a capacity of 350 people first class and second class classy coaches, this train is the dream train. Read the review here.

 

Hotels around Idu train station Abuja.

Transcorp Hilton                   N97,750

Crown Princess hotel            N3,500

Rockview Hotel                     N26,450

Oriental Hotel                        N7,500

 

Idu train moves to the following routes: Idu, Kubwa, Asham, Jere, Gidan, Rijana , Dutse, Kakau, Rigasa.

ABUJA – KADUNA TRAIN SERVICE
TIMETABLE FOR MORNING TRIPS
MONDAY – SATURDAY
AK1 (ABUJA – KADUNA)
UP KA2 (KADUNA – ABUJA)
DOWN
STATION ARRIVAL DEPARTURE STATION ARRIVAL DEPARTURE
IDU – 07:00 RIGASA – 10:40
KUBWA 07:16 07:21 RIJANA 11:25 11:30
JERE 08:00 08:05 JERE 12:15 12:20
RIJANA 08:50 08:55 KUBWA 12:59 13:04
RIGASA 09:40 – IDU 13:20 –

ABUJA – KADUNA TRAIN SERVICE
TIME TABLE FOR AFTERNOON TRIPS
MONDAY – SATURDAY
AK3 (ABUJA – KADUNA)
UP KA4 (KADUNA – ABUJA)
DOWN
STATION ARRIVAL DEPARTURE STATION ARRIVAL DEPARTURE
IDU – 14:20 RIGASA – 18:00
KUBWA 14:36 14:41 RIJANA 18:45 18:50
JERE 15:20 15:25 JERE 19:35 19:40
RIJANA 16:10 16:15 KUBWA 20:19 20:24
RIGASA 17:00 – IDU 20:40 –

ABUJA – KADUNA TRAIN SERVICE
TIME TABLE FOR SUNDAY TRIPS

AK3 (ABUJA – KADUNA)
UP KA4 (KADUNA – ABUJA)
DOWN
STATION ARRIVAL DEPATURE STATION ARRIVAL DEPATURE
IDU – 12:30 RIGASA – 16:00
KUBWA 12:46 12:51 RIJANA 16:45 16:50
JERE 13:30 13:35 JERE 17:35 17:40
RIJANA 14:20 14:25 KUBWA 18:19 18:24
RIGASA 15:10 – IDU 18:40 –

Apart from exploring the railway corporation, I also went touring the cities, Ibadan zoo, osun Osogbo sacred grove, Erin Ijesha water fall, Eating local food and tasting the best of Palmwine in each city and it was an amazing experience!


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