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NRC working on passenger train restart amid Covid-19 by Mike Ochonma

There health department of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) is presently working on a comprehensive corona virus safety protocol that would pave the way for the commencement of passenger train services across the country.

 Fidet Okhiria, managing director, Nigeria Railway Corporation told BusinessDay last Monday that, the safety protocols being worked on by the health department will may take two weeks.

Okhiria said that, though NRC may not be generating revenue on its passenger train services, but insisted that, the corporation is deeply concerned about the safety of commuters using the train service and will not compromise the health and safety of passengers for whatever reasons just for profit motive.

NRC in March this year notified the traveling public that, it would suspend passenger operations as a result of the increasing cases of coronavirus disease in the country.

NRC had in a statement signed by Yakub Mahmood, deputy-director, public relations, explained that its operations would end on Monday, March 23, 2020. He said the board and management of the corporation said the decision was taken in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which started in Wuhan, China, before spreading globally. The escalation of the disease forced many countries of the world to impose local and global restrictions on both land and air travels.

Meanwhile, the NRC says it has to work on passenger coaches to ensure social distancing if its Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS) must resume operation.

According to Jerry Oche, Lagos railway district manager, “We are working round the clock to see how we can maintain social distance in the coaches, if we must run and keep social distance. Nobody can tell when this Covid-19 will end; it has come to stay for some time and the government is already opening up the space gradually’’.

‘’Coaches of the mass transit trains service are to be worked upon to accommodate the possibility for social distancing, if we must resume and maintain social distancing,” he said.

According to him, the Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) trains are under repairs in case the need arises for the corporation to begin MTTS amidst Covid-19.

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