A jolly ride on Lagos Blue Line transit | Newsdaily
SIR: “Seeing is believing”, as the wise ones who truly know their onions state, came to full effect for yours truly on March 8, 2023. That was when I honoured an invitation by the high-flying, Ayo Omotoso-led Association of Travels and Tourism Writers of Nigeria (ATTWON) to travel by rail, via the Blue Line from Marina to Mile 2 and back.
With the knowledge of the increasing need by Lagosians to travel by rail and water to ease the pressure of the ever-busy roads becoming an imperative, I gave a nod of approval. What an awesome and memorable experience it turned out to be!
The invitation was therefore, an opportunity to critically assess the import of the Blue Line rail project, which came into effect and was celebrated in December 2022. The Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Blue Line is a 27-kilometre railroad. In addition, it happens to be one of the six rail lines and one monorail, recommended for Lagos in the state’s Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP). The salutary aim of course, is to cater to the ever-increasing public transport demand of the good people of Lagos, up till 2032.
Of interest, is that the Marina to Mile 2 rail, which I savoured, happens to be the first phase of the massive project, which was completed in December 2022. The entire Blue Line is a 27-km railroad with 11 stations, but with five stations built so far. Structurally, it is located in the middle of the 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway from Okokomaiko to Iganmu. That is, before ascending on a rail bridge from Iganmu to Marina.
The second phase from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko will have stations at FESTAC Town, Alakija, Trade Fair, Volkswagen, LASU and of course, Okokomaiko. To achieve the lagoon level crossing for the rail tracks, they are elevated from Iganmu to Marina.
While over 400, 000 passengers are to be moved daily when the project is fully completed, the first phase has the capacity to move more than 200,000 passengers on daily basis and at a speed of 80 km/hr, with the trains projected to arrive at every station between 3-5 minutes. There is however, a headway of about 20 minutes. Six train sets, comprising of four cars each are to be deployed with three already up and running.
On the critical issue of safety, the entire rail tracks have been securely fenced to deter any form of intrusion, or even crossing of the tracks by pedestrians. And at regular intervals the Blue Line corridors are equipped with well-defined and well-built pedestrian bridges.
As Governor Sanwo-Olu rightly noted, during the commissioning of the first phase back in December 2022, it marks the milestone in development of LRMT. It is a strong testimony of the government’s commitment to building on the legacies of past administrations, with special reference to that of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
• Ayo OyozeBaje.