Around Nigeria in 14 Days by Train with Jublian Ngaruwa

There are so many negative attributes to the Nigerian railway system, inspite of that, there is another that gives it hope. As against the old reviews, I think my trip is about to become really amazing. Embarking on a train trip across Nigeria is a dream and I am so glad it is coming through. On the 26th of September I decided to explore the Nigerian rail system, travel by train to 8 cities across Nigeria in 14 days and exploring each city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All thanks to Tripberry a travel company who believed in “traveling beyond your dreams within your reach” developed interest in the project and decided to support.

The major aim of the project is to create awareness of this means of transportation that has been abandoned, by Nigerians, travel enthusiasts and even the government in so many parts of the country and to encourage those in authority to foster the growth of the railway system not only to a few state but to many if not all.

On the 26th of September, I packed my bags, picked my basic necessities and off I headed to Iddo train-station Lagos to return in 14 days!

Starting from Lagos to Ibadan, then to Osogbo and boarding 1 KL (Kano Limited) at Osogbo train-station which was a terrible experience. First, there was a 26 hours wait before the arrival of the train. More terrible is the several breakdowns on the way to Kaduna, long story short we spent 5 days on the road.

After that experience I expected nothing better until I boarded TrainKA 2 (Kaduna – Abuja) which happened to be on day 10 of my trip across Nigeria by Train.

Facilitated under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, TrainKA 2 pickup station located at Rigasa Kaduna is a definition of perfection, the train comprises of 6 Coaches with a capacity of 320 people – first class with 56-seaters and second class 88-seaters.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a little information about TrainAK and KA. AK moves four times every day between 7am – 6pm.

First train 7am from Abuja, second train 2pm also from Abuja. Then in Kaduna 10.40am and 6.00pm, that is from Monday – Saturday. While on Sundays, it moves usually from 12.30pm from Abuja and then 4pm from Kaduna.

Train KA stops at the following locations starting from Rigasa to Kakau, then Dutse to Rijana to Gidan and then Jere, next is Asham, Kubwe and finally arrivals is the Abuja train terminus Idu.

While Train AK has the same stops but in reversal Idu – Kubwa – Asham – Jere – Gidam – Rijana – Dutse – Kakau – Rigasa.

They are so many reasons that as a Nigerian you should be proud of this train!

Now experience the train through my eyes. I arrived Kaduna train station at exactly 9.30pm the train departure scheduled for 10.40pm, ticket was been sold on arrival and at exactly 10.00pm and boarding began at 10.30pm I was in the train and the train was moving! Wow!! I almost didn’t believe it, there was nothing like African time, judging from my previous experience with Train KL (Kano Limited), I almost asked the person next to me “is this Nigeria?”

As the train progressed, I heard “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for boarding Train2KA, we will be dropping at the stations in five minutes, tighten your seat belt and enjoy your trip“. After my experience with 1 KL, I never believed there could be a better railway system.

Adding more to the punctuality, we arrived Abuja at exactly 12.30.

I remembered while in the train, the hostesses kept passing occasionally and attending to passengers diligently and politely. Never have I seen or experienced such professionalism in any train station in Nigeria.

As against the old reviews, I think my trip is about to become as amazing as I have imagined initially.

TrainAK, KA is much modernized, customer service – 100%, neatness – 100%, facilities – 100%. We boarded a second class coach and the second class coach here has the complete feature of the first class coach of 1 KL (Kano Limited) (Air conditioner, neatness, good space, great service). Fascinated is the word.

Why am I so surprised at TrainAK and KA? It is the completely opposite of 1KL Kano Limited, from my experience, tight security, punctuality, organized and fast. To break that down, why board KA or AKTrain route? If you don’t have a private car or maybe you are very lackadaisical about driving or maybe you need a cheaper means of transportation in luxury and comfort, this train is the best bet, be sure to arrive Abuja from Kaduna in 2 hours or even less.

The station is an ultramodern station with the most amazing over-head bridge ever seen in any train station. I personally document the over-head bridge of every train station and Abuja train over-head bridge happens to be the best, it is massive and modernized.

What does it cost to ride on this amazing train? For as low as N750, you can cruise in the second class coach with AC while with N1500, you can ride in the more comfortable first class coach.

My wishes? To have railway systems with the capacity of KA and AK and the stations extended to all other states. So this is a call to those in authority to finish the good work. For the main time, kudos on the job at Abuja and Rigasa (Kaduna) train station.

 

Documented by Jublian Ngaruwa; see more of her adventures via here Instagram page here – @jubtrip

Culled from Issue 18

 

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