For three hours, hundreds of passengers on the Kaduna- Abuja (KA 2) train were trapped at Dutse following a technical fault.
The train, which left Rigasa train station in Kaduna at 6:40 am, developed a fault five minutes after takeoff.
After about 15 minutes, the trip was resumed, only for the train to break down again at the Kakau substation.
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Daily Trust reports that each of the 13 coaches of the train had 86 passengers on board. The two-hour journey lasted for about six hours (6:40am to 12:15 pm).
At 7:20 am, the train finally broke down at Dutse substation. The passengers were stranded until 10:12 am when another locomotive was brought.
Security personnel on board the train took strategic positions to protect the passengers. The fear of kidnapping has made many motorists abandon the Abuja-Kaduna Road for the train.
A passenger, An Assistant National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Midat Joseph, said the train developed fault around 7:am.
“I left my house as early as 5:am to join the 6:40am train but unfortunately I was trapped in the forest for three hours. This is not the first time I will be experiencing this mess,” he said.
He urged the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation to probe the recurring breakdown of the locomotives.
Another passenger said he had a similar experience on Saturday, saying they spent five hours to get to Kaduna from Abuja.
“This is unfortunate. On Saturday, we spent five hours from Abuja to Kaduna. We left Abuja at 6 pm, but we did not get to Kaduna until 11:pm,” he said.
A regular passenger of the Kaduna-Abuja train, who works with a multinational company, said in the last three weeks, the services of the train had deteriorated.
“We are lucky that the train developed a fault in Dutse where there is a GSM network, otherwise we would have been rendered incommunicado. If you observe when it broke down in Kakau, there was no network.
“It is necessary that in each of the train, there should be two locomotives or in each of the substation, there should be a locomotive for exigencies, he said.
An engineer with the NRC, who addressed the passengers, apologized, saying it was the locomotive that developed a mechanical fault.
Villagers make brisk business
Our correspondent reports that villagers made brisk business when they took soft drinks, sachet water and biscuits to the substation.
One of them, Victoria Ishaya, said some passengers bought crates of soft drinks and distributed them to their colleagues.
“If you’re in my shoes, how will you feel that your wares are being bought? I brought my drinks here and the passengers bought it all. This thing happens rarely,” she said.