By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
In line with his administration’s commitment to Traffic Management and Transportation, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has acquired two sets of new 10-cars Talgo 330kmph trains for Lagos Red Line rail project.
Governor Sanwo-Olu completed the acquisition deal of the trains at a public event inside the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo Incorporated in the United States, on Tuesday.
The trains will be heading to Lagos, Nigeria for the Red Line, a 37 km track rail project started by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The red line will have 11 stations and when completed, it will be the first operational metro system in West Africa.
Speaking at the event, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was accompanied by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye and Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Engr. Abimbola Akinajo, said Lagos State Government is excited to complete the purchase of the two brand new trains.
He said they were 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 are satisfied that they fit into the tracks of the Red line in Lagos.
“A train is not something you can just go on the shelf and pick up. 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,” he said.
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.”
Also speaking the CEO and President, Talgo USA Antonio Perez, said “For us, it is important that our trains are utilised. It doesn’t make any good for the trains that we built to be stored and kept without passengers riding them.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu accompanied by the Lagos State delegation during the visit inspected the interior design of the newly acquired Talgo 330kmph intra-city metropolitan trains.
Since the commencement of his administration on May 29, 2019, Governor Sanwo-Olu has maintained his administration’s commitment to bringing the Red Line project to fruition during the lifetime of his government.
The Governor has specifically promised Lagosians that first phase of the Red Line will begin by the last quarter of 2022 or first quarter of 2023, with a capacity of 500,000 passengers daily.