By Ononye VC
The Lagos State government has acquired two new high-speed trains for its Red Line rail project, as part of efforts to improve traffic management and transportation.
Mr Gboyega Akosile, who is the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
He revealed that Governor Sanwo-Olu completed the acquisition deal of the two sets of 10 cars Talgo 330kmph trains on Tuesday at an event held inside the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer, Talgo Incorporated in the United States.
In this photo released by the Lagos State government on January 19, 2022, Governor Sanwo-Olu is seen addressing an audience in Milwaukee, United States.
According to him, the trains will be heading to Lagos for the Red Line – a 37km track rail project which will have 11 stations and will be the first operational metro system in West Africa, when completed.
“A train is not something you can just go on the shelf and pick up,” the governor was quoted as saying at the event. “We are very lucky to get brand new trains. We have seen our beautiful white and red trains. Coincidentally, the rail line is called Red Line and you can see they have given us the colour. We are just going to brand it and put up our seal there.”
“We hope that this (purchase of the trains) will be the beginning of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Providing source of livelihood for our citizens is all about providing jobs for our people and that is what we are doing. It is about ensuring that we can build our economy; people can move from one location to another, and businesses can grow.
“Part of what we have done in the last two and half years is to have what we call Integrated Urban Mass transportation system, where we will be using road infrastructure, waterway infrastructure, and rail infrastructure so that we can move over 20 million Lagosians within and around the city.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said his team was in Milwaukee to see things for themselves in respect of the purchase of the trains, adding that they have inspected the trains, seen their configuration, and were satisfied that they fit into the tracks of the Red Line in Lagos.
A photo released by the Lagos State government on January 19, 2022, shows Governor Sanwo-Olu walking alongside others in Milwaukee, United States.
He gave an assurance that the first phase of the Red Line would begin by the last quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, with a capacity of 500,000 passengers daily.
The acting Milwaukee Mayor, Cavalier Johnson, who received Governor Sanwo-Olu in the city, said “It is a little bittersweet.
“I am sending my congratulations to the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, but also a little disappointed that we missed out on the opportunity to have those train sets operating here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin.”
For the CEO and President of Talgo, USA, Antonio Perez, it is important that the trains are utilised and it does not make any good for them to be stored and kept without passengers riding them.
Governor Sanwo-Olu was accompanied by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde; his Special Adviser on Works, Aramide Adeyoye, and Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Abimbola Akinajo.