During the commissioning the Abuja-kaduna railway for commercial operation and I thought to myself “here we go again Nigeria. Another white elephant project”. Boy was I wrong when I saw Bukky.B beautifully chronicle her first train ride experience in Nigeria on Twitter. It was so exciting that we definitely had to get in touch with her and she agreed to share her story. She is a lawyer, writer and sickle-cell advocate who’s passionate about adventure. Read and enjoy her experience as much as we did. Twitter: @Naijadaydreamer Instagram: @Naijadaydreamer Blog: www.naijadaydreamer.com
As an adventure and travel enthusiast, I’m excited to share my first train ride experience in Nigeria with you. I absolutely love trains and they have always been my favorite mode of transport. Every country I go to, I make it a point to take an overhead/ underground train or tram there. The views are always worth it. When I had heard that the trains had started full operations in Nigeria, I was really excited and I couldn’t wait for my first train ride. An opportunity arose when I visited Kaduna and I decided to go back to Abuja via rail. I had looked forward to taking the train from Kaduna to Abuja since it started running in June. It had run free for passengers to get people familiar with trains again and only started charging around the beginning of November.
The train takes off from Rigasa station in Kaduna which is not an easy place to reach.They will probably have to build other stops in Kaduna later on. It’s takes a good 30-40 minutes from town on a very busy and narrow road plus the 2hours 35 minutes travel time. This alone was very discouraging and I wanted to just go by road. Travel time from Kaduna to Abuja via road takes an average of 2hrs and I was upset I already spent 40 minutes getting to the train station. However, I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying my first train ride. I got to the station around 9.20am, being the early bird that I am. The train departs twice a day from Kaduna, first at 10.15am and at 6pm.The Abuja-Kaduna route is so popular and I dont think departing twice daily is enough. A regular ticket costs N600 for a single regular ride to Abuja and a 1st class costs N900. I must say that it felt good to buy a first class ticket for the first time in my life !
The train station was very new and clean when I got there but as more people came in close to the time the waiting room became quite packed and hot. People were sitting on the floor and leaving food and drink garbage everywhere which is quite disappointing but I wasn’t surprised.We boarded the train at 10.05am and took off at 10.15am right on time. The train was really clean and new. After being assigned our seats, they gave a free drink to everyone in first class (sweet perks!). The stops are Rijana and Jere in Kaduna and then Kubwa and the last stop is Idu in Abuja. We arrived in Kubwa, Abuja at 12.55 which is where I got off. For those going into Abuja town, Idu is the closest stop and you can get a taxi from the station.
The total journey time was about 2 hours and 35 minutes so it’s not the faster than going by car which I found surprising for such a new train. Unfortunately the train could not go any faster as they told me that cattle and children sometimes wandered unto the tracks. It was a very interesting experience and I would definitely encourage anyone to give it a try. It was cheap, comfortable and well-timed. My main concern is their ability to keep it up and improve standards. It’s being managed by the CCECC for now so fingers crossed we don’t let it depreciate.
*Have you guys ever gone on a train ride in Nigeria? What was your experience like? I recently visited the Old Railway Compound at Ebutte Metta, Lagos with some fellow travel bloggers and will be sharing my experience in my next post so watch our for that!